Did Democrats Make Up Facts or Divulge Classified Information?

In the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing on Russian Interference in 2016 Election, held May 8, 2017, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was extremely careful to not reveal classified information.  She repeatedly referred to General Flynn’s “underlying conduct” and refusing to acknowledge that the underlying conduct involved discussions with the Russian Ambassador about sanctions.

I HAD TWO IN-PERSON MEETINGS AND ONE PHONE CALL WITH THE WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ABOUT MR. FLYNN. THE FIRST MEETING OCCURRED ON JANUARY 26th. I CALLED DONE [sic] McGANN FIRST THING THAT MORNING AND TOLD HIM THAT I HAD A VERY SENSITIVE MATTER THAT I NEEDED TO DISCUSS WITH HIM, THAT I COULDN’T TALK ABOUT IT ON THE PHONE AND THAT I NEEDED TO COME SEE HIM AND HE AGREED TO MEET WITH ME LATER THAT AFTERNOON. I TOOK A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION WHO WAS OVERSEEING THIS MATTER WITH ME TO MEET WITH MR. McGANN. WE MET WITH HIS OFFICE AT THE WHITE HOUSE SO WE COULD DISCUSS CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IN HIS OFFICE. WE BEGAN OUR MEETING TELLING HIM THAT THERE HAD BEEN PRESS ACCOUNTS OF STATEMENTS FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT AND OTHERS THAT RELATED CONDUCT THAT FL [sic] FLYNN HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN, THAT WE KNEW NOT TO BE THE TRUTH. AND AS I TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED HERE, AGAIN I’M GOING TO BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO REVEAL CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. 

SO I TOLD THEM AGAIN THAT THERE WERE A NUMBER OF PRESS ACCOUNTS, STATEMENTS THAT HAD BEEN MADE BY THE VICE PRESIDENT AND OTHER HIGH RANKING WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS ABOUT GENERAL FLYNN’S CONDUCT THAT WE KNEW TO BE UNTRUE. AND WE TOLD THEM HOW WE KNEW THAT — HOW WE HAD THIS INFORMATION, HOW WE HAD ACQUIRED IT AND HOW WE KNEW THAT IT WAS UNTRUE AND WE WALKED — THE WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL WHO ALSO HAD AN ASSOCIATE THERE WITH HIM THROUGH GENERAL FLYNN’S UNDERLYING CONDUCT, THE CONTENTS OF WHICH I OBVIOUSLY CANNOT GO THROUGH WITH YOU TODAY BECAUSE IT’S CLASSIFIED BUT WE TOOK HIM THROUGH A FAIR AMOUNT OF DETAIL ABOUT THE UNDERLYING CONDUCT WHAT GENERAL FLYNN HAD DONE AND THEN WE WALKED THROUGH THE VARIOUS PRESS ACCOUNTS AND HOW IT HAD BEEN FALSELY REPORTED. WE ALSO TOLD THE WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL THAT GENERAL FLYNN HAD BEEN INTERVIEWED BY THE FBI ON FEBRUARY 24th. MR. McGANN ASKED ME HOW HE DID AND I DECLINED TO GIVE HIM AN ANSWER TO THAT. AND WE THEN WALKED THROUGH WITH MR. McGANN ESSENTIALLY WHY WE WERE TELLING HIM ABOUT THIS AND THE FIRST THING WE DID WAS TO EXPLAIN TO MR. McGANN THAT THE UNDERLYING CONDUCT THAT GENERAL FLYNN HAD ENGAGED IN WAS PROBLEMATIC IN AND OF ITSELF. SECONDLY, WE TOLD HIM WE FELT LIKE THE VICE PRESIDENT AND OTHERS WERE ENTITLED TO KNOW THAT THE INFORMATION THAT THEY WERE CONVEYING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WASN’T TRUE AND WE WANTED TO MAKE IT REALLY CLEAR RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE THAT WE WERE NOT ACCUSING VICE PRESIDENT PENCE OF KNOWINGLY PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Later in the hearing various Democratic Senator referred to General Flynn’s discussions with the Russian Ambassador regarding sanctions.  If they had learned this in a classified briefing then they are guilty of disclosing classified information.  Otherwise, they were making up facts, which if they knew to be untrue would be considered a lie.

That General Flynn talked to the Ambassador is FACT, to the best of my knowledge what he talked about is speculation, based on Feb. 9, 2017 NY Times un-sourced article.  This will remain the case until:

  1. One of the nine undisclosed sources of the NY Times article either:
    1. Gives the NY Times a copy of the Classified document for them to publish
    2. Come forward and goes on the record, facing prosecution for a criminal violation of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 798, with penalties of up to 10 years in jail, a large fine or both.
  2. The President or the Classifying Authority at NSA, declassifies the document.
  3. General Flynn gives a detail account of the call to the Ambassador.
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