Why did Donald Trump fire Acting Attorney General Sally Yates? Was it because of her refusal to defend his indefensible executive order, or was it because she warned Trump and his senior staff that General Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail?
The Washington Post's bombshell report tonight brings back Sally Yates again, this time warning the Trump White House that Michael Flynn could be compromised as a consequence of his conversations with Russian officials.
The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said.
The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the information.
So Yates warned this White House that Flynn was vulnerable and likely compromised, and in the process of issuing that warning made it pretty clear they knew Flynn had, in fact, discussed the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Russia.
According the sources talking to the Washington Post, James Clapper and John Brennan were both concerned enough about the possibility of compromise that they asked Yates to inform the Trump White House. In other words, these concerns did not come from low-level spies, but instead emanated from the highest levels of the U.S. intelligence community.
And just to further drop your jaw, there's more.
The current and former officials said that although they believed that Pence was misled about the contents of Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador, they couldn’t rule out that Flynn was acting with the knowledge of others in the transition.
Including, perhaps, Trump himself.
Yates was so disturbed over the reports she "considered Flynn’s comments in the intercepted call to be 'highly significant' and 'potentially illegal,' according to an official familiar with her thinking, the Post article also reports.
This is just stunning news. It raises questions about why Sally Yates was fired. Were they looking for a reason to fire her after she raised red flags?
There must be an investigation by an independent commission. It must be opened immediately. And it must look all the way up to the president himself.
This sums it up pretty well.
Quite a problem for the White House with Flynn: Keep a Russian agent in charge of national security or fire him and he spills on everyone
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) February 14, 2017
UPDATE 2: Look who opposed Yates' decision to tell the White House!
Comey, whose agents were conducting the actual investigation of Flynn, stood alone in opposing Yayes/Brennan/Clapper plan to tell WH.
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) February 14, 2017