Following former acting Attorney General Sally Yates' testimony yesterday, the media's attention has been laser-focused on the 18-day period between Yates informing the White House of then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn being potentially compromised by Russian Federation and Flynn's ouster.
Testimony from former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed many publicly known aspects of Flynn's short tenure in the Trump administration and the Russian Federation investigation broadly, but did not reveal classified information or elements that are still under investigation.
It took the Trump administration 18 days to fire the national security adviser, and, on Tuesday, the White House pinned that on Yates herself.
Spicer told reporters that the day after Yates' initial meeting with McGahn on January 26, the White House counsel asked her to return "to discuss certain issues that she had left unclear at the time".
Yates had been made into an enemy by the Trump administration after speaking out against the Muslim ban and Flynn's connections to Russian Federation, but was able to reveal a good amount of information about the situation. She informed the counsel's office that there were materials that were relevant to the situation, but it wasn't until about seven days later that they had access to those documents. Malcolm Nance highlighted that the Russians have their own transcript of the Flynn call and could blackmail the White House if they lie. This development comes after former president Barrack Obama [official website] said he had warned Trump not to hire Flynn [NYT report].
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Yates testified that she was concerned about repeated statements from Pence and other administration officials incorrectly stating that Flynn had not been in touch with Kislyak, when the intercepts showed the two men had spoken.
Despite her warnings, Flynn remained in his position for 18 more days (a gap Democrats say is as scandalous as "the 18-minute gap in the Nixon tapes").
After revisiting the timeline, Spicer said: "I think that the process worked, frankly, when you think of the time in which we had the information to make the decision that the president made".
There's no plausible deniability for Trump on Flynn now.
So it is now confirmed, under oath, by former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
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Yates said the discrepancy could open up Flynn to blackmail from the Russian government, since they would know the full conversation.
She would not comment on the substance of the interview but her comment allowed Democratic senators to lead her on a path that raised the unspoken possibility that Flynn had not only not told the truth to Pence, but to the bureau.
Yates was asked in that White House meeting whether Flynn should be fired, and she said "that really wasn't our call", according to her testimony Monday. Ted Cruz when he asked her about the legality behind her decision to refuse defending President Donald Trump's initial travel ban, Sen.
"What we saw was that this wasn't just some casual mention at a cocktail party", said the senator.
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