Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Sally Yates: Russians had 'real leverage' over Michael Flynn

Sally Yates: Russians had 'real leverage' over Michael Flynn Sally Yates: Russians had 'real leverage' over Michael Flynn
Clarence Schmidt | 18 May, 2017, 11:13

Yates granted her first public interviews since Trump fired her for refusing to uphold his ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries on January 30, speaking with The New Yorker and CNN.

In the CNN interview, Yates disputed statements by White House spokesman Sean Spicer that there was no legal issue with regard to Flynn's conduct.

Trump fired Yates on January 30 after she directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the Trump administration's executive order on immigration.

Flynn was sacked on February 13 after the White House said that he misled Vice President Mike Pence by saying sanctions were not discussed in the call with Kislyak.

"This was part of her response: "... you have a very sensitive position like National Security advisor and you don't want that person to be in a position where the Russians have leverage over them". She added "the Russians had real leverage" against the president's top adviser.

Transcripts of Flynn's contacts with Kislyak reportedly showed that he discussed USA sanctions that the Obama administration had placed against Russian Federation in response to its meddling in the presidential campaign. Aside from that breach of trust, the big problem was that there was no way he could get away with it.

The interview was taped before The New York Times report that Trump asked Comey to shut down the investigation into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. That's where Yates comes in. He didn't mention any talk of sanctions.

"We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians", Yates told a Senate judiciary subcommittee.

"Flynn is interviewed [by the FBI] on the 24th".

"I don't know how the White House reached the conclusion that there was no legal issue".

Yates: I told him it wasn't our call.

"At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful", Yates wrote.

I asked, "You didn't just text, "Heads up, your N.S.A. might be a spy"?" No, Yates replied, "Is there an emoji for that?"

Everyone now knows that the White House did not take swift action in firing Flynn. Three of the four biggest firings have involved people who were reportedly connected to various investigations into Trump, his businesses, or Russian involvement in the US presidential election. "It certainly wasn't from my discussion with them", she told Cooper.

Ultimately, she told Cooper, she has no regrets about her decisions during her tenure as acting attorney general. But we certainly felt like they needed to act.

Get your popcorn ready: Anderson Cooper's one-on-one with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is sure to be Tuesday night's most compelling piece of television drama.

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