Sally Yates Testifies on Flynn’s Russia Ties

    Former Attorney General Sally Yates testified today, May 8, in front of a Senate subcommittee about what and when she exactly told the White House regarding Flynn’s communication with Russia. This testimony will push headlines back into the news regarding Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. According to Yates, she assures that she told the White House that Flynn could be blackmailed for lying over Russia meetings. She, also, claims to have had numerous meeting with Trump’s White House lawyer regarding the matter. Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff, and Sean Spicer, press secretary, agree that Yates passed along information regarding Flynn and Russia; however they have stated that the White House counsel checked and found nothing. Despite this major controversy, Trump continues to call the Russian investigations on Capitol Hill “fake news.”

    President Trump has commented on the Obama administration and Flynn stating, “General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration- but the Fake New seldom likes talking about that.” He added, “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers after she explained it to the W.H. (counsel).” In Yate’s hearing, she claims to not know how this classified information was leaked to the press. Trump has had problems his whole presidency regarding ties with Russia, and it appears each time that Flynn is at the center of it all. Regardless of Yate’s testimony and new headlines regarding Russia, the Russia story isn’t going away anytime soon.

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Obama’s Warning to President Trump

    Barack Obama, then-president, warned Donald Trump, president-elect, about hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, according to many officials from the former Obama administration. Allegedly, Trump was warned by Obama in their Oval Office meeting on November 2. Obama’s concerns don’t come from the Defense Intelligence Agency, instead they come from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. A senior Obama administration source revealed that Flynn’s name came up numerous times throughout their conversation. The White House has recently confirmed these rumors. Sean Spicer, press secretary, stated, “It’s true President Obama made it known he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn.” Despite this, Spicer believes that Obama disliked Flynn due to him being an “outspoken critic” of the Obama administration. Spicer reassured some by stating that if Obama was “truly concerned” there were steps he could’ve taken during his term, including the suspension of his security clearance. Under the Obama administration, Flynn served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency until he was forced out of his position for internal alterations on management in 2014.

    Regardless of Obama’s advice, Trump took the actions that he wanted. President Trump fired Flynn 24 days after news broke of Flynn’s talks with the Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House on January 26 that Flynn was lying when he refused to have any contact with Kislyak regarding US sanctions on Russia. Weeks passed before Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, only letting him go after stories leaked about Flynn misleads Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Kislyak. Attorney General Sally Yates it to testify before Congress on Flynn’s contact with Russian officials.

 

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Syrian Missile Strike

    On April 6, 2017, the United States initiated a military strike on a Syrian government airbase to respond to the week’s earlier chemical weapons attack, killing dozens, including children. Listening to Trump’s orders, 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at the airbase that was responsible for holding the warplanes that performed the chemical attacks. Over the course of this six-year Syrian civil war, this is the United States’s first military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Allegedly, six people were killed in the airstrike.

    Russia, disagreeing heavily with the United States, saw the strike as an “act of aggression.” Assad’s office described the attack as “a disgraceful act” that “can only be described as short-sighted.” Trump stated, ““There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.” Trump has drastically changed his viewpoint on the decision to involve the United States in military action against the Syrian President’s regime.

    Many, out of all of the chaos, are worried about one main thing: the effect of US relations with Russia, Syria’s biggest ally. It was confirmed that Russians were at the base when the US attacked, the US giving Russia a one-hour heads up. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that the US strike has “dealt a serious blow to Russia-US relations.” Overall, majority of US lawmakers have supported Trump’s decision to strike Syria. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, often critics of Trump, stated, “Acting on the orders of their commander-in-chief, they have sent an important message the United States will no longer stand idly by as Assad, aided and abetted by Putin’s Russia, slaughters innocent Syrians with chemical weapons and barrel bombs.” Many are happy that something has finally been done to attempt change at the direct violation of human rights in Syria, while others were shocked at Trump’s decision to switch viewpoints. For majority of people, they wonder if this is a stepping stone to Trump changing his views on letting Syrian refugees enter the US.

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Russia’s Influence in the 2016 Election

     The Obama administration has come to a decision to begin a series of acts of retaliation against Russia due to their actions in the US election. Citizens should expect sanctions and diplomatic procedures, according to officials, who belief this is an appropriate response to cyber hacking. Many Senators agree with the Obama administration and their decision to go against Russia. Senator Amy Klobuchar stated, “We have to sanction Russia for these cyberattacks (and) send a clear message to the incoming administration that there is a lot of bipartisan support in Congress for going after this.” Russia has denied allegations that they are to blame for the hacking and, according to the representative for the ministry, they will answer to any “hostile steps” on behalf of the US. Members from the United States Central Intelligence Agency aim to get names of individuals who were involved in the Russian hacking which, many guess, to be focused on attacking the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

     Supporters of Trump believe this is a last resort for Democrats who were upset over losing the election. Donald Trump tweeted, “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House waited so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Although two senior intelligence officials believe Vladimir Putin was involved directly in the hacking, allegations are being denied. A representative for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, stated, “If Washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered … any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the US will immediately bounce back on US diplomats in Russia. … frankly, we are tired about the lies about Russian hackers — it’s misinformation by Obama administration aimed at providing an excuse for its own failure.” Republicans believe that Democrats have used every excuse to not accept their loss in the election from blaming the electoral college to saying that social media had too much of an influence on the election and, now, blaming the Russians. While everyone can agree, if the Russians did hack, it is obviously wrong; however Russians were not creating DNC scandals, instead they were exposing them. Majority of people who polled believed that Russia’s hacking had no effect of the winning of the election.

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