US Senate Panel Taking New Look at Russian Meddling in
May 8, 2017
A U.S. Senate panel is taking a new look Monday into the extent
of Russian meddling in last year's presidential election, even
as President Donald Trump continues to dismiss Moscow's
The Senate Intelligence Committee is hearing testimony from
Sally Yates, who was briefly acting attorney general, the
country's top law enforcement official, in the early days of the
Trump administration before the new president fired her.
She had been a key Justice Department official under former
president Barack Obama and is expected to answer questions about
warnings she gave the incoming administration about discussions
that Michael Flynn, the retired Army general Trump had named as
his national security adviser, was having with Russia's
ambassador to Washington.
Flynn served only 24 days in the key White House post before
Trump fired him after U.S. intercepts of Flynn’s conversations
with Sergey Kislyak showed that Flynn had lied to Vice President
Mike Pence and others about his contacts with the Russian
diplomat. Yates feared that as a result of his denial of the
contacts, Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail.
In addition, James Clapper, Obama's director of national
intelligence, is expected to testify. He was instrumental in the
U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia sought to
boost Trump's chances of winning by hacking into the computer of
the campaign chief for his opponent, former U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton.
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks subsequently released thousands
of emails in the weeks before the election that showed
embarrassing behind-the-scenes Democratic operations aimed at
helping Clinton win her party's presidential nomination.
last week partly blamed her upset loss to Trump on the daily
release of the emails just before the November election.
Trump, not wanting to give credence to any election happenstance
that might undermine the legitimacy of his victory, continues to
downplay the congressional investigations of Russian meddling
and a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
country's top law enforcement agency, into whether Trump
campaign aides colluded with Russian interests to help him win.
He again last week rejected the official view that Russia hacked
into the computer of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, saying
that it "could have been China, could have been a lot of
In a Twitter comment, Trump said, "The phony Trump/Russia story
was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing