WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are vowing to haul James Comey and James Clapper again earlier than Congress to ask which one dedicated perjury about briefing then-President Barack Obama on Michael Flynn’s calls with Russia’s ambassador.
Comey, the fired former FBI director, stated in newly launched congressional testimony that Clapper, the previous US intelligence chief, briefed Obama. Clapper testified, nonetheless, that he didn’t.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) informed The Submit, “You don’t have to be a senior at metropolis school to notice one in all them is mendacity. I believe we ought to name them each again in and ask them: Which one in all you guys is mendacity to Congress?”
“Should you or I lie to Congress, it’s supposed to be a felony,” Kennedy stated.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) informed The Submit he plans to maintain hearings a few Jan. 5, 2017, assembly in the Oval Workplace the place Obama startled then-Deputy Lawyer Basic Sally Yates, who ran day-to-day operations on the Justice Division, by informing her about two December 2016 calls between Flynn, a marketing campaign adviser and transition aide to incoming President Trump, and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“We’ll have hearings in regards to the Jan. 5 assembly,” Graham informed The Submit. Comey and Clapper “positively” can be invited, he stated.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SC) famous the Judiciary Committee’s function to The Submit, saying that “these guys can’t appear to shoot straight. Clearly there have been quite a lot of misstatements and all the things else that want to be researched and additional investigated.”
Reps for Comey and Clapper — who’re among the many high officers who tried to “unmask” Flynn’s identification in the course of the Russia probe, in accordance to a report by performing Director of Nationwide Intelligence Richard Grenell — didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The FBI beneath Comey routinely bypassed Justice Division leaders, together with in saying a call not to criminally cost Hillary Clinton for mishandling labeled info.
Some Republicans say Obama might have had disproportionate affect in the Flynn case. The FBI moved to shut an investigation into Flynn a day earlier than the Oval Workplace assembly. Then-FBI official Peter Strzok salvaged the probe with a concept about Flynn violating the never-used Logan Act of 1799. Strzok later carried out an interview with Flynn the place he allegedly lied.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) informed The Submit that “my guess is there’s going to be much more info popping out that’s even stronger tying Obama to all the choices round Flynn.” Clapper, who admittedly provided Congress false testimony in 2013 about home surveillance, “ought to have been prosecuted earlier than and I believe he’ll go down in historical past as an enormous fats liar,” Paul stated.
Flynn pleaded responsible to mendacity to the FBI in late 2017 and agreed to cooperate in an investigation into whether or not the Trump marketing campaign colluded with Russia. Particular counsel Robert Mueller subsequently discovered no proof of Trump-Russia collusion.
In pleading responsible, Flynn averted expenses for work as an unregistered lobbyist for Turkey. Final week, the Justice Division moved to drop its case in opposition to Flynn, discovering the investigation was improperly carried out. A decide should nonetheless log off on that movement.
How precisely Obama realized in regards to the Flynn calls is unresolved.
Comey informed Congress in March 2017, “I briefed it to the Director of Nationwide Intelligence” after which, “Within the first week of January, [Clapper] briefed the President and the Vice President after which President Obama’s senior crew about what we discovered and what we had seen to assist them perceive why the Russians have been reacting the best way they did.”
In a 2019 e book, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe backed Comey’s model, The Federalist reported. McCabe wrote: “I shared it with Comey; Comey shared it with the director of nationwide intelligence, James Clapper; and Clapper verbally briefed it to President Obama.”
However in July 2017, Clapper privately informed the Home Intelligence Committee “no” in response to whether or not he “ever” briefed Obama “on the cellphone name, the Flynn-Kislyak cellphone calls?”
Since leaving workplace, Comey, Clapper and McCabe every have been sharp critics of Trump, and Republicans are savoring the potential for finger-pointing on perjury.
Clapper’s former common counsel on the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence, Robert Litt, informed The Submit, nonetheless, that “Clapper doesn’t lie. It’s not in his character. I labored with the person for six years.”
Litt stated, “I don’t get the sense from [The Federalist’s article] that both Comey or McCabe has private information that Clapper did it.”
Litt stated it’s possible one other official briefed Obama, similar to Susan Rice, Flynn’s predecessor as White Home nationwide safety adviser.
Republicans in the Home, in the meantime, don’t have energy to summon witnesses and pinned their hopes on an investigation of the FBI’s Russia probe being run by US Lawyer for Connecticut John Durham.
“It can be crucial for John Durham’s crew to get to the underside of this discrepancy between Clapper and Comey’s accounts to Congress. Considered one of them wasn’t telling the reality and, final I checked, mendacity to Congress was a federal crime,” stated Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).
“If any justice stays in the federal system, Comey and Clapper would be the starting of many indictments to come, and never only for perjury,” stated Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
Home Intelligence Committee member Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) stated, “We’re conscious of the discrepancies in the tales, and it’s removed from the one problem in the transcripts.”
“The Division of Justice ought to open and aggressively proceed with a prison investigation,” added Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). “It isn’t simply perjury. It’s the total politicization of the intelligence businesses to undermine, and finally substitute, the constitutionally elected authorities of the USA.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) informed The Submit, “You simply know that they have been mendacity, it’s fairly easy. Pay attention, when folks violate the legislation, there ought to be penalties. However I’m extra of the tune that simply get these items all out, it’s going to do much more good than prosecution.”