According to Sally Yates latest testimony to Congress on Russia-Gate, she told the White House council, McGahn, that Mike Flynn was at risk of blackmail from Russia on 26 January, 2017, after that Yates was fired on January 30, 2017 and Michael Flynn stay on as Trump’s National Security adviser, to January 13, 2017 when forced to resigned with leaks to the press on Flynn. Is all of this “Impeachable?” One thing is clear, why did White House allowed Flynn to stay on, even with the information from Yates. And what did Flynn do during those times in the White House?
The Guardian reports (source) reported with the head-line: “Mike Flynn at risk of Russian blackmail, Sally Yates warned White House”
According to the Week (source) Monday’s hearing, Yates provided two important pieces of information that highlight just how reckless Trump was in dealing with his disgraced national security adviser.
First, Yates confirmed press reports that she had informed White House counsel Donald McGahn on Jan. 26 that Flynn had lied about his contacts with Russia, and that those lies could have potentially compromised Flynn and the senior White House officials who repeated them. “We were concerned that the American people had been misled about the underlying conduct and what Gen. Flynn had done,” Yates testified. She also explained that she told McGahn that the Russian government knew (and could likely prove) that Flynn had lied. That created “a situation where the national security adviser, essentially, could be blackmailed by the Russians,” Yates said.
The second important piece of information Yates provided concerned her follow-up meeting with McGahn. As Yates explained it, McGahn requested a second meeting for the following day during which he raised several questions about potential consequences for Flynn’s conduct. He wanted to know what criminal statutes might apply, he asked whether Yates believed taking action against Flynn would compromise the FBI’s Russia investigation, and he asked to see the evidence the Justice Department had on Flynn. Yates also said she once again stressed the potential ramifications of Flynn’s lies. “You don’t want your national security adviser compromised by the Russians,” she said.
The following is from the Guardian:
Former acting US attorney general Sally Yates said on Monday that she warned the White House on 26 January that then national security adviser Michael Flynn was “compromised” and open to blackmail by the Russian government.
Her comments to a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing came after it emerged that Barack Obama had warned Donald Trump in November against hiring Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser over his contacts with Russia after less than three weeks in office.
Testifying for the first time about her knowledge of contacts between the Trump camp and Moscow, Yates said on Monday that she requested an urgent meeting with the White House counsel, Don McGahn, after she became aware that the White House had made false public statements about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak.
White House officials including the vice-president, Mike Pence, had stated that Flynn and Kislyak had simply exchanged pleasantries and talked about arranging a future meeting between Trump and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
It later emerged that the conversations were more extensive and included discussion of sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration.
Yates said that she telephoned McGahn on the morning of 26 January, two days after the FBI interviewed Flynn about the contacts and had given her a detailed readout of the interview. She told McGahn she needed to meet him in person because what she had to say was so sensitive.
Yates and a senior justice department colleague met McGahn the same afternoon in a secure room in the White House and told him that statements made by Pence and other administration officials about Flynn’s behaviour were untrue, and that “Flynn’s underlying conduct was problematic in and of itself”.
McGahn called Yates back to the White House on 27 January and put further questions to her about Flynn. According to her Senate testimony, the White House counsel asked her: “Why does it matter to the Department of Justice whether one White House official lies to another White House official?”
“We explained to him that it’s a lot more than that,” Yates said. “We also said that we weren’t the only ones who knew this. The Russians also knew what General Flynn had done and that what Pence said was not true. The Russians not only knew this but they also likely had proof.”
Yates added: “To restate the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians.”
McGahn also asked whether Flynn’s actions could lead to criminal prosecution and whether White House action against him would interfere with FBI investigations.
Yates said she could not speak about statutes under which Flynn might be prosecuted without revealing classified information about the investigation, but she told McGahn that any White House action on Flynn would not interfere with the FBI investigation as he had already been interviewed.
Lastly, McGahn asked Yates whether he or his staff could come to the justice department to review classified evidence of Flynn’s conduct. Yates consulted the FBI over the weekend and called McGahn back on Monday, 30 January, and said White House officials could come to the department to review the material.
She said she did not know if McGahn or his staff took up her offer, as that was her last day at the department: Trump fired her on the night of 30 January, ostensibly because she had refused to defend his executive order suspending entry for refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Flynn resigned on 13 February only after the details of his contacts with Kislyak were leaked to the press. Yates said she did not know what action the White House took, if any, to restrict his access to classified material.
“I don’t know what they did,” she told the Senate panel. “They took it seriously during the meeting. If they didn’t do anything, that would be concerning.”
Yates appeared before the judiciary sub-committee alongside James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under the Obama administration. He confirmed a Guardian report from March that the UK electronic intelligence agency GCHQ had first tipped off US intelligence on contacts between the Trump camp and Moscow in 2015 and that other western agencies had passed on additional details in the first half of 2016.
Asked if that report was accurate, Clapper said: “Yes, it is and it’s also quite sensitive.”
Pushed on how US intelligence had responded to the tip off, he appear to waver on the details, but confirmed the US had been watching Russian interference since 2015.
“Well, I’m not sure about the accuracy of that article, so clearly over actually going back to 2015, there was evidence of … Russian activity. Mainly, in an information gathering or recon ordering mode, where they were investigating voter registration rolls and the like,” Clapper said. “And that activity started early, and so, we were monitoring this as it progressed, and certainly as it picked up, accelerated in spring, summer and fall of 2016.”
Earlier, White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed that Obama had warned his successor about Flynn when the two men met in the White House two days after Trump’s election victory.
Spicer acknowledged that Obama had expressed misgivings about Flynn, a former general, but said they were general criticisms.
“It’s true that President Obama made it known that he wasn’t exactly a fan of General Flynn’s,” Spicer said, but added that such remarks were unsurprising as Flynn had been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s policies. He said Flynn’s security clearance had been renewed in April 2016, and the Obama White House had not stepped in to revoke it.
Flynn was appointed head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 2012 but was fired two years later, reportedly over dissatisfaction over his management style and temperament. Reports on Monday attributed to Obama officials differed on whether the concerns voiced by Obama were linked to his DIA performance or because of his Russia links. Flynn had received income from RT in 2015, a state-run television channel formerly known as Russia Today, which he did not initially declare.