President Donald Trump attempted to discredit two former Obama administration officials who testified in a Congressional hearing Monday about his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Testimony from former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed many publicly known aspects of Flynn’s short tenure in the Trump administration and the Russia investigation broadly, but did not reveal classified information or elements that are still under investigation.
After the hearing, Trump tweeted: “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.”
Initially, Clapper testified that before he retired from his post on January 20, he knew of no evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia during the 2016 election. Clapper later added: “The evidence, if there was any, didn’t reach the evidentiary bar in terms of the level of confidence that we were striving for in that intelligence community assessment.”
Trump then turned his attention to Yates, who was unable to answer some of the committee’s questions on Monday since they pertained to classified information: “Sally Yates made the fake media extremely unhappy today — she said nothing but old news,” Trump said.
Then the president threw another jab: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” Trump also added that the “biggest story” is on “surveillance,” seeming to suggest that so-called “unmasking” — the process of revealing a US citizen’s identity in the course of routine intelligence gathering on foreign individuals — was illegal.
Multiple US intelligence agencies are evaluating Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 US election in favour of Trump. A bipartisan inquiry is also well underway in the House and Senate. Trump has taken pains to diminish the investigations in the minds of citizens, often by insulting US intelligence officials and lawmakers on social media and in public.
Watch Sally Yates’ and James Clapper’s full testimony below:
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