Just when you thought it was over – after Trump ‘Tomahawks’ Putin’s pal Assad, and Tillerson trounces Lavrov – and the media had stopped the constant “Russia did it” narrative, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (which seems like as big an oxymoron as can occur) has called numerous current (and former) officials to testify once again on Russia’s “active measures during the 2016 election.”
As The Hill reports, the Yates hearing would be scheduled after the Comey and Rogers appearance, slated for May 2. Former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have also been invited to testify with Yates. The timing of the two hearings has been a point of fierce partisan contention on the panel and has been one of many fights that has threatened to explode the committee’s investigation. The open panel, featuring Yates, had previously been scheduled in March, but was canceled by committee chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
The Washington Post reported at the time that the White House sought to block her from testifying, a charge that Press Secretary Sean Spicer has denied.
Nunes said that the hearing had been nixed to make room for a closed-door briefing with Comey and Rogers — but Democrats argued that Nunes was attempting to prevent a testimony expected to be damaging to the president.
The week before, Comey in an open setting had revealed the existence of the FBI’s investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Reports have suggested that Yates, who was fired by Trump for refusing to defend in court his original travel ban, was expected to provide testimony that would conflict with comments from White House staff.
It was she who alerted the White House that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had misled Vice President Pence about the content of his calls to the Russian ambassador. The public revelation of those calls led to his resignation in February.
This circus is far from over.