Durbin Questions Yates and Clapper about Trump's Connection to Russia

WASHINGTON – During a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) questioned former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about Russia’s cyber act of war against the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Durbin asked Yates about the extent of the Trump Administration’s knowledge of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s communications with Russia, noting that Flynn continued to serve in the role for eighteen days after Yates briefed White House Counsel about his contact with the Russians.

“General Flynn continued to serve as the National Security Advisor for 18 days after you briefed the White House about the counterintelligence risk that he posed.  During those 18 days, General Flynn continued to hire key senior staff on the National Security Council, announced new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe along with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago and participated in discussions about responding to a North Korean missile launch, and spoke repeatedly to the press about his communications with Russian Ambassador Kislyak,” said Senator Durbin. 

Yates outlined her concerns to Senator Durbin, saying, “It was a whole lot more than one White House official lying to another. First of all, it was the Vice President of the United States. And then the Vice President had gone out and provided that information to the American people, who had then been misled, and the Russians knew all of this, making Mike Flynn compromised.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks to the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks to the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks to the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee is available here for TV Stations. 

During today’s hearing, Durbin said he was troubled that full-time staff had not been assigned to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and once again called for an independent commission to examine possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.  

In March, the Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held its first hearing on the Russian connection with testimony from expert witnesses on Russia’s efforts to undermine Western democracies through cyberattacks like the one experienced in the 2016 presidential election.