There has been quite a lot happening in the political world in the recent weeks, and the firing of James Comey comes at a rather peculiar moment during the Senate’s investigation into any potential Russian interference with the most recent presidential election. Sally Yates appeared before that panel on Monday, May 8th, and many of those on the left said that her performance was spectacular. The former Acting Attorney General was also fired by President Trump in the same way the Comey recently lost his position as head of the FBI.
The striking part of the narrative isn’t that Yates performed well in front of the panel, but that conservatives have largely ignored or undervalued the responses that Yates gave during her deposition. Rush Limbaugh, one of the most vocal conservative political pundits, claimed that he was bored during the hearing, and the Yates was nothing more than a hack from the left. He went on to say the hearing was a ‘big bomb’, and that Yates had no real substance. Brit Hume of Fox News was just as dismissive, claiming that nothing new was revealed. He posited that the only takeaway from the hearing was that Michael Flynn was untrustworthy as National Security Advisor, which he claimed was already obvious and irrelevant since Flynn has been fired. Others claimed that the testimony given by Yates and James Clapper was not harmful to Trump or his administration at all. Clapper is the former Director of National Intelligence.
Some publications actually claimed that Yates had helped Trump with her testimony, specifically when she expressed confidence in Rod Rosenstein, Trump’s appointee and the second in command behind Jeff Sessions. Those publications even went so far as to claim that her supposed vote of confidence in the appointee would negate the justification for a more thorough investigation headed by an outside special prosecutor. Those who actually witnessed Yates’ testimony with any air of comprehension understand that those suggestions are completely baseless, and that the claims coming from conservatives are merely their attempt to downplay the hearing since Yates was so articulate and well-prepared.
Breitbart News, the previous home and brainchild of Steven Bannon, the Chief Strategist for the Trump White House, praised the exchange between Yates and Ted Cruz, claiming that Cruz completely proved his point in a decisive manner. The publication claimed that the left only believes Yates won the day because she had the proper talking points and responses, and that the hearing didn’t actually produce any new evidence that points toward Russian involvement in the election. It further claimed that the Democrats were merely desperate for some form of vindication, and that they were in denial about the outcome of the hearing because they didn’t have any other option. Such claims are ridiculous, of course, since Yates completely refuted every one of the claims made by conservative questioners regarding what they believed to be the extent of any potential involvement from the Russians.
The fact that the Republicans would be so dismissive about the hearing points to how much they feel it could actually damage their position. It is astonishing that these supposed patriots would wholly ignore even the idea that the Russians might have had undue influence over the previous election, because acknowledging that would mean they could potentially lose their orange-skinned leader. It is much easier for the conservatives to take the tact of denial themselves since that gives them both plausible deniability and the ability to attack the Democrats for something completely unrealistic. One can only hope the investigation into the Russian involvement in the election reveals the actual truth of the matter soon.