White House paints Yates as a 'political opponent'

Posted May 20, 2017

Ms Yates confirmed reports she had told the White House, six days into Trump's administration, that Mr Flynn had not been honest with Vice-President Mike Pence about his discussions with the Russian envoy to Washington, leaving him vulnerable to leverage from Moscow.

"I think if you flip this scenario and say, 'What 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 to act in that manner", Spicer said in his daily briefing.

Yet something else came out of the hearings that was just as significant but which has been buried under the Flynn saga: the Trump administration purposefully kept Yates out of the loop when the Muslim travel ban was being formulated. Flynn had denied discussing with Kislyak the subject of USA sanctions on Russian Federation for the November election interference, but high-ranking Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ officials had recorded conversations between Kislyak and Flynn.

Spicer added that he was not aware of any security restrictions placed on Flynn after the warning.

"We began our meeting telling him that there had been press accounts of statements from the vice president and others that related conduct Mr. Flynn had been involved in that we knew not to be the truth", Yates said. I suspect that question may haunt the Trump White House: national security, intelligence, the power of government secrecy itself are all based on trusting one another.

Trump said in a press conference three days after Flynn resigned, however, that when he looked at the information provided to him about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak, "I said, 'I don't think he did anything wrong".

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It is unclear whether Russian troops were operating with the pro-Syrian government forces at the time of the attack . Syria's state news agency SANA said 52 Aqareb residents were killed by Islamic State militants in the attack.

Flynn and other associates of President Donald Trump have received similar requests from the committee for information and documents over the past few weeks.

During that time, Flynn was the most senior national security official in the West Wing, privy to every intelligence and foreign policy decision and secret, all the while, at risk of being blackmailed by Moscow, according to Yates.

Yates was appointed Deputy Attorney General under President Barack Obama, but had previously been appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

"President Obama's former Director of National Intelligence and his former acting CIA Director have both said they have seen no evidence of collusion".

Spicer painstakingly went through the timeline between Yates voicing her concerns and Flynn being asked to resign. He said then she informed the White House counsel's office that there were materials relevant to the situation involving Flynn. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision, which led the White House to issue a second order. During that period, Flynn accepted tens of thousands of dollars from a Russian state-sponsored television network. Flynn was sacked as head of military intelligence by the Obama administration in 2014 amid questions about his management style and reports of insubordination.