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Ex-officials James Clapper and Sally Yates to testify at May 8 Senate hearing amid Russia probe

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Two former U.S. officials, intelligence director James Clapper and deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, will testify next month in a Senate investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday.

Four congressional committees are investigating the issue after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of the Democratic political groups to try to sway the election toward Republican Donald Trump. Moscow has denied any such meddling.

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Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and Yates, the former deputy attorney general, will testify on May 8 before the subcommittee on crime and terrorism, Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley said in a statement.

More witnesses may be added, the statement said.

The two officials from the administration of former President Barack Obama, along with former CIA Director James Brennan, had been scheduled to testify before the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee in March, but that public hearing was canceled by the panel’s chairman, Republican Devin Nunes.

Nunes, a Trump ally and transition adviser, recused himself from the Russia investigation on April 6 after receiving information at the White House about intelligence agency surveillance of foreign nationals that swept up some information about members of Trump’s transition team.

His decision to hold a news conference about the information and discuss it with Trump before disclosing it to Democrats raised questions about whether he could lead a credible investigation.

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The House committee on Friday invited Yates, Clapper and Brennan to appear at a public hearing to be scheduled after May 2, when it said FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, would appear behind closed doors.

Democrats have called for an independent commission to investigate the alleged election-related activities as well as any Russia ties to the Trump campaign.

The Judiciary subcommittee’s chairman, Republican Lindsay Graham, said he wanted to ask Clapper and Yates whether they knew about a court order allowing the FBI to surveil the communications of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016.

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The Washington Post reported this month that such a warrant had been issued. Clapper said in a March television interview he was not aware of any wiretapping of Trump or advisers.

“I want to get to the botom of this,” Graham said on Fox News.

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(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Colbert names Trump’s siege on DC the ‘Tinyman Square’ incident

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It wasn't quite Tiananmen Square, where a still-unknown number of Chinese protesters were murdered by the government in 1989, but it was the closest thing President Donald Trump managed to score this week.

After watching the footage of the military tear gas, beat and shoot at protesters so Trump could march from the presidential bunker to St. John's Church for the cameras.

"It was like Tiananmen Square," Colbert deemed. "Except, in Trump's case, Tinyman Square."

Trump claimed on "The Fox & Friends" that no one was tear-gassed, so it's unclear what was stinging people's eyes and making them cough, choke and tear up. The Park Police released a statement saying it wasn't tear gas. While the moment was captured on video from dozens of different camera angles, one protester actually grabbed a canister of Oleoresins Capiscum, or "OC," the gas that was used.

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Vladimir Putin must love watching the US fall apart: columnist

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New Yorker columnist Susan Glasser made the astute observation that if Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to destabilize the United States with the election of President Donald Trump, he's clearly achieved his objective.

It was reported in March that Russian intelligence services are working to incite violence using white supremacist groups to try and sow racial chaos in the United States ahead of the November election.

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Conservative columnist links all Republicans to the attack on Lafayette Square

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Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump decided to walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op. To get there, however, it took an outright battle with mounted park police, police covered in body armor and rattled Secret Service members who had just rushed the president to the bunker several nights before. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and military gear, they staged a siege on Lafayette Square against unarmed hippies, woke whites and people of color, again, forced to fight for justice.

Writing for the Washington Post Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot attacked Attorney General Bill Barr, who accepted responsibility for demanding that demonstrators be tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets. Like Bull Conor ordering fire hoses on students marching in Birmingham, Alabama, Barr's attack on Lafayette Square for a photo-op proved he is willing to do what it takes to stroke the fractured ego of a president forced to cower in a bunker.

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