Blumenthal on Yates/Clapper Hearing: ‘I Want to Build the Case for a Special Prosecutor’

( – There is no evidence so far that associates of Donald Trump colluded with Russia to swing the election results, but there’s plenty of talk about that from Democrats, and we’ll hear much more speculation about it this afternoon.

At 2:30 p.m., former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — both Obama appointees — are scheduled to testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

The hearing is expected to focus on Michael Flynn’s communications with Russia, and one Democrat on the Judiciary Committee said he will use the hearing to build a case for a special prosecutor:

“I’m going to be asking the questions that are really on the minds of Americans,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning.

“They want the truth uncovered about Russian interference in the last election and potential collusion of Trump associates. I want to know what she (Yates) said at the White House when she warned them about Michael Flynn on January 26th — warnings about Flynn’s potential (susceptibility) to blackmail and other compromising threats against our national security and why the White House waited for two and a half weeks before firing Flynn and then only after there was a report in the Washington Post about those warnings by Attorney General Yates to the White House. 

“And I want to build the case for a special prosecutor to do this investigation, to uncover the truth and hold accountable anyone and everyone who was involved in that Russian meddling or aiding and abetting the Russians. Those are my questions,” Blumenthal said.

President Trump asked Flynn to resign as national security adviser in mid-February because Flynn did not tell Vice President Mike Pence that he discussed sanctions in one of his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.

“I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence,” Trump said at the time.

But press reports said Yates had warned the White House two weeks earlier – on Jan. 26 – that Flynn may have misled Pence about what he said to the Russian ambassador.

Blumenthal told CNN, “There is mounting evidence” that Trump associates “colluded with the Russian interference.”

“Today’s hearing, I hope, will help to build that case,” he added.

Host Alisyn Camerota asked Blumenthal, “How do you know that they were colluding to interfere in the 2016 election?”

“None of us know right now outside the Department of Justice — and perhaps the FBI is investigating exactly those people,” Blumenthal responded. “We know it is investigating ties between Trump associates and the Russians during the campaign and possibly during the transition. Director Comey confirmed that point last week. 

“So when I say there’s mounting evidence, it is the result of public disclosures but also the testimony from Director Comey just last week.”

Blumenthal noted that everyone in the Justice Department owes their jobs to the President Trump, and he suggested they cannot be impartial.

He said “only a special prosecutor” can “provide the aggressive and independent investigation that’s necessary.”

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