White House Skeptical of Yates' Heads Up on Flynn, Cited Partisan Motives

Posted May 14, 2017

At Tuesday's White House press briefing, the first question tossed to press secretary Sean Spicer, as expected, was why the president waited so long to fire Flynn. Now, why was Yates surprised? Despite the acting attorney general's warnings about possible Russian blackmail, Flynn even sat in on President Trump's first phone call with Vladimir Putin on January 29.

Yates told a Senate Judiciary subcomittee that she didn't know whether the White House ended up looking at that evidence because she was sacked for refusing to enforce President Donald Trump's initial travel ban shortly after she spoke with McGahn by phone.

Yates, who has been generally mum about her political views, earned bipartisan praise two years ago when she was easily confirmed by the Senate as deputy attorney general of the United States.

"I would suggest that the reason she was asked to come back the second day was because it wasn't-it clearly wasn't that clear on the first day", Spicer said.

In both cases, Trump ended up following Yates' guidance, albeit belatedly.

"So, you have this hysteria about maybe Russians were involved in some way trying to upset our election or to influence our election, masking the problem that a crime was committed when people improperly leaked the identity of someone whose information was gained as a result of a surveillance".

Yates, a Barack Obama appointee sacked by Trump early in his presidency, took the stand alongside Clapper during the hotly-anticipated three-hour hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. NBC News broke the story early Monday that former President Obama warned Trump about Flynn when the Trump visited the White House just days after winning the election. But though she relayed her concerns to the White House counsel, there apparently was little sense of urgency.

Anti-Trump activists are organizing a March for Truth in Washington, Los Angeles, and NY on June 3 calling for "an impartial investigation into Russian interference in the US election and ties to the Trump administration".

"If we had just dismissed somebody because a political opponent of the president had made an utterance, you would argue that it was pretty irrational".

Yates, a longtime federal prosecutor and Obama administration holdover, was sacked January 31 by Trump after refusing to defend the administration's travel ban. "Let's look at how this came down".

During that section of the hearing, Clapper described as accurate a report in the Guardian newspaper that British intelligence officials became aware in late 2015 about suspicious interactions between Trump advisers and Russian agents, and that the information was passed on to US intelligence agencies.

Monday's Senate hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election revealed only one thing: Democrats are still determined to use the investigation as a partisan club against President Donald Trump.

It was that television appearance that led Yates to request an urgent meeting with McGahn, informing him that there were transcripts of the Flynn conversations.

"We're not going to relitigate the past on this", Spicer said.