Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and acting Attorney General Sally Yates ventured back onto the Hill to answer questions relating to Michael Flynn and any possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence that might have influenced the 2016 election. As some of you remember, Ms. Yates was fired by the Trump White House for refusing to defend the president’s initial executive order on immigration, which involved a travel moratorium on several predominately Muslim countries. It’s been erroneously called a Muslim ban. Yet, after an afternoon’s worth of testimony one thing is clear: there is still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Kremlin did run an interference campaign centering on propaganda peddled by state-funded news outlets and social media trolls, but that played no pivotal role in the election. There wasn’t a hack either. No vote tallies were altered during the 2016 election.
When asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) whether there is evidence of collusion and if Trump’s business ties to Russia were a cause for concern within the intelligence community, Clapper denied both. Concerning the business ties, Clapper said there was not a single interest that was cause for concern to the point where it would be included in the intelligence community’s assessment. He also said that any further questions concerning this inquiry couldn’t be answered fully due to the possibility that it might hinder the investigation, but he was adamant that it was not of sufficient concern to be added into the report.
Concerning evidence of collusion, Clapper reiterated his stance that there is none based on the intelligence report filed by the FBI, NSA, and CIA (via WaPo):
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina: Without objection. General Clapper, on March 5, 2017, you said the following to a question. Here's the question.
Does intelligence exist that can definitely answer the following question, whether there were improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials? You said we did not include any evidence in our report.
And I say our, that's the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything — that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.
Chuck Todd then asked, I understand that, but does it exist? You say no, not to my knowledge. Is that still accurate?
JAMES CLAPPER: It is.
GRAHAM: Ms. Yates, do you have any evidence — are you aware of any evidence that would suggest that in the 2016 campaign anybody in the Trump campaign colluded — colluded with the Russian government intelligence services in improper fashion?
SALLY YATES: And Senator, my answer to that question would require me to reveal classified information. And so, I — I can't answer that.
Yet, the former acting AG also said that her refusal to answer the question thoroughly shouldn’t be taken as a “yes.”
“I believe that that's the same answer that Director Comey gave to this committee when he was asked this question as well. And he made clear, and I'd like to make clear, that just because I say I can't answer it, you should not draw from that an assumption that that means that the answer is yes,” she added.
So, we’re back to where we started. No evidence, but a lot of Democratic hysteria and peddling of tin foil hat theories about the matter. Senate Democrats admit that they may not find solid evidence of collusion. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that there is no definitive proof of collusion. Now, some other Democratic colleagues may say otherwise, but the intelligence community is quite clear that they haven’t found any solid cause to suggest Trump officials colluded with Russian intelligence to sink Hillary Clinton. Oh, and the dossier that was irresponsibly published by Buzzfeed, most of which is unverified, was mentioned in the hearing yesterday. Clapper said a lot of it cannot be confirmed.
GRAHAM: Did you find that to be a credible report?
CLAPPER: Well, we didn't make a judgment on that. And that's — that's one reason why we did not include it in the body of our intelligence community assessment.
GRAHAM: You didn't find it credible enough to be included?
CLAPPER: We couldn't corroborate the sourcing, particularly the second -- third-order sources.
What we do know is that Russian officials talked to other Russians, but we don’t know what they talked about, according to CNN. Gee—I’m stunned. I got to sit down for this one (sarc.). Donald Trump won fair and square. Clinton lost because she was a terrible candidate. Yet, keep molding those tin foil hats, Democrats.