Yikes! Yates!

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Sally Yates is a career civil servant in the Justice Department. She was hired under the first Bush administration, promoted during the Clinton administration, promoted again during the second Bush administration, and yet again under the Obama administration. Two years ago she was named deputy attorney general, the second ranking position in the department, and then became acting attorney general when Loretta Lynch left. President Trump asked her to stay on until Jeff Sessions was confirmed, and she agreed. A few days later, after declining to defend Trump’s immigration order in court, she was fired.

Today she’s scheduled to testify about what she told the White House regarding National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s connections to Russia.

And the President seems concerned.

Also, he doesn’t know how to spell “council”.

It is odd that Trump is inserting himself into this hearing.  It shows he is concerned.

There are two things big about this hearing this afternoon in which Sally Yates will give public testimony.

The first is… this is the Senate.  The responsible house of Congress.  Hopefully, we will see less show-boating and more seriousness.

The second is… Flynn.  The stories are pouring out today. According to NBC, former President Obama informed Trump personally not to hire Flynn.

That piece of news late this morning made Trump’s earlier tweet today come off badly:

The Trump team has confirmed this but responds that they thought Obama said it in “jest” (Obama being the prankster that he is — not!)

Trump, is seems, has a blind spot for Flynn. According to Axios, the White House staff wants to throw Flynn under a bus but Trump will not have any of it.

Which brings us back to Sally Yates. Her testimony could raise new questions about how President Trump responded to concerns that Flynn had lied. And one hopes she can shed light on the links between Trump’s campaign and Russia (although I suspect not).

To be updated….

UPDATE 1:30 pm – Hmmmmmm….

They really seem worried.

UPDATE 2:35 pm – Yates hearing starts. Her and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Senator Graham steers the conversation with Yates back to unmasking topic.

In answer to Trump’s tweet, both Yates and Clapper, under oath, said they do not know who or how the info was leaked.

OH MY GOD….. This:

Yates reminds us that her last day at the DOJ was the day she told the White House they can come review damning evidence about Flynn’s compromised position. Boom you are fired

We’re coming up on one hour and I am embarrassed at the Republicans like Graham and Grassley who seen non-plussed by the fact that the national Security Adviser was a security risk because the Russians knew he was lying.  They only care about leaks/unmasking.

And they’re lying about it.

Cornyn joins other GOP senators to ask about unmasking. There doesn’t seem to be any criminal wrongdoing, just a general “concern”. Seems to me that the top national security adviser being compromised by Russia and the White House doing nothing about it, is the bigger fish here.

Fascinating exchange: Cornyn goes after Yates for her failure to support Trump’s Muslim ban. She humiliates him by saying that the ban was unlawful, so she couldn’t.  In follow-up, she acknowledges that three courts have agreed with her.

All this is timely because at this exact moment, the 4th Circuit is hearing arguments on Muslim ban.

Ted Cruz is up now.

And she beats him with the same stick.

Aaaaaand they are back to the Muslim/travel ban with Sen. Kennedy (R-La) mansplaining to Yates.

As Republicans senators question why Yates refused to defend Trump’s executive order, Senator Leahy reminds them that many of those same Republicans, at her confirmation hearing, wanted to know is she could act independent of the President, and she said yes (to their pleasure)