Aftershocks continued this morning after yesterday’s Washington Post bombshell story that Donald Trump’s Department of Justice tried to quash congressional testimony by former acting attorney general Sally Yates. What does she know that terrifies them so much, and when did she know it?
According to letters seen by WaPo reporters Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous, the White House “considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied the report, saying “The White House has taken no action to prevent Sally Yates from testifying and the Department of Justice specifically told her that it would not stop her and to suggest otherwise is completely irresponsible.” But other outlets soon confirmed the paper trail was real.
With the White House unable to stop Yates from testifying, Rep. Devin Nunes simply cancelled the House Intelligence Committee hearing, a move which former HIC counsel Jeremy Bash called “an elaborately choreographed gag order” on MSNBC’s 11th Hour last night.
“The real story, the real issue here, is not so much about the midnight run by the chairman onto the White House grounds,” Bash told Brian Williams, referring to the congressman’s embarrassing participation in White House efforts to float the president’s absurd claim that Barrack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
It’s really that they wanted to cancel the hearing this week. The hearing this week was going to hear from Sally Yates, the former acting Attorney General. And I’m told that she had some very interesting things to tell the committee, to tell the public, about when she told the White House counsel that Mike Flynn had in fact been lying to the Vice President. And she was only going to be able to speak those things in the context of a congressional hearing, and so the White House and the chairman needed to shut her down.
In other words, Yates can tell America that Donald Trump did not react with surprise or alarm when she informed him that his national security adviser was lying to everyone about contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the HIC, confirmed today in a statement that Yates was indeed scheduled to testify on Flynn’s attempted “cover up” of conversations with Kislyak. Those communications took place on the same day that Obama announced sanctions in retaliation for Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Even after Sally Yates told Trump that Flynn had lied, the president did not ask for his national security adviser’s resignation until eighteen days later, when the truth about Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak became newspaper headlines and cable news fodder.
The WaPo story brought widespread condemnations and calls for Nunes to step aside or be removed from his chairmanship of the committee. The integrity of their investigation of the Russian influence scandal has clearly been compromised, perhaps fatally. By validating demands for an independent commission, the Trump administration has actually made their position worse.
So what could have made Trump and his cronies risk an appearance of guilty posturing? We’re going to find out, no matter what the White House wants, because Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner told CNN today that Yates will testify before his committee regardless.
But in the meantime, we can safely assume that it deepens the scandal around Michael Flynn, the paid foreign agent that Donald Trump brought to his classified briefings during the campaign and then put in charge of his White House intelligence operations. Whatever Sally Yates knows, it cannot be good for the president.
- How White Nationalist WH Aide Stephen Miller Became The Perfect Trump Voter - August 4, 2017
- Michele Bachmann Wants Church-State Separation To Protect Hate Crimes - August 2, 2017
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions Lied On His Security Clearance Form - July 13, 2017
- Trump Begins The American Kleptocracy With Air Traffic Control - June 5, 2017
- Neo-Nazi National Guardsman Converts To Islam, Kills His Neo-Nazi Roommates - May 23, 2017
- Morning Joe, Republicans Agree: Donald Trump Is Losing It - May 2, 2017
- Trump Waves Off Questions About His Russia Ties, ‘Wiretap’ Claims (VIDEO) - May 1, 2017
- For Michael Flynn, Orange Really Is The New Black - April 27, 2017
- Fox Five’s Greg Gutfield Wants To Inspire The Next Robert Dear - April 26, 2017
- Donald Trump Will Bear All The Blame For A Government Shutdown - April 24, 2017