The Thing About the Senate Russia Investigation

As expected, Sally Yates did an excellent job at yesterday's Senate hearing on Russian interference in the election. She is an extremely competent, dedicated career bureaucrat and American patriot, and that was completely evident in every moment of her testimony.

If you didn't watch the hearing, it went a little something like this:

Democratic Senator: Asks serious question about Michael Flynn and Russian interference.

Sally Yates: Answers seriously.

Republican Senator: Asks unserious and irrelevant question about leaking and unmasking, and/or unserious question about why Yates failed to defend Donald Trump's Muslim ban.

Sally Yates: Answers seriously, despite the fact that neither of these issues are the subject of the hearing and despite the fact that the all-male Republican Senators talked to her like condescending assholes.

Hours of that. And remember: The Republicans are the majority on the Judiciary committee, and every other Senate committee. If they want a hearing on intelligence leaks, they can call one. If they want a hearing on Yates failing to defend Trump's Muslim ban, they can call one. They did not have to use this hearing on Russian interference to probe these issues; they can call for a hearing to get on-the-record testimony at any time.

The point was to deflect and obfuscate. The message was: We don't care, even a little, about preserving the integrity of this nation's elections, nor even about the very real possibility that the current administration has been compromised by a foreign government.

Yates was great—but it truly does not matter how great she was, because the majority party isn't interested in a credible investigation or meaningful accountability.

And then there is this.

The very problem that we desperately want solved has critically compromised the investigation. We simply cannot be certain that none of the investigators are compromised—and it is deeply alarming to me that there is no significant concern that two of the candidates in the election being investigated because candidates were hacked and possibly compromised are doing the investigating.

The political press, whose job it is to scrutinize and report these things, hasn't even seemed to notice the curiosity of former candidates investigating the election in which they ran, no less do they appear to be wondering if it isn't foolish to take it on faith that neither of them were compromised.

It is more apparent than ever that we need an independent investigation, done by people outside the likely target sphere for hacking and who are thoroughly vetted to ensure they haven't been compromised.

And it is more apparent than ever that we're never going to get one.

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