Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told a Senate committee that the FBI had good reason to fire national security adviser Mike Flynn, who had “essentially castrated” the sanctions of the outgoing Obama administration in Russia in 2016.
The former career officer forced by Trump to testify vigorously about Flynn, who she said was “covering up” his actions, even though she acknowledged FBI surveillance command mistakes for another Trump figure, former national security adviser Carter Page, who said that she did not know about at the time.
“General Flynn had essentially castrated the deterring message from the United States government,” she said, referring to Obama’s sanctions on Moscow as punishment for Russian interference in the presidential election.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified to the Senate that former national security adviser Mike Flynn “essentially” castrated “Obama’s outgoing government sanctions.”
She spoke at a hearing organized by Trump ally and golf partner Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the judicial committee and investigates the FBI’s behavior in an effort that Democrats say are intended to help Trump’s reelection prospects.
Trump attacked Yates on Twitter before her testimony began, accusing her of being part of the “ crime of the century. ” He previously accused Barack Obama and Joe Biden of “spying” on his campaign.
“Sally Yates has no credibility whatsoever. She was part of the biggest political crime of the century, and ObamaBiden knew EVERYTHING! Sally Yates leaked General Flynn’s talk? Ask her under oath. Republicans should start playing the game Democrats! Trump wrote.
Sen. President Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks at a Senate Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation” on Capitol Hill on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Crossfire Hurricane was an FBI counterintelligence investigation regarding contacts between Russian officials and Donald Trump employees
Yates called the decision to drop the government’s case against Flynn, a Trump advisor and assistant, “very irregular”
Yates agreed that former FBI director James Comey had become ‘rogue’ when the FBI interviewed Flynn without telling her in advance
Yates testified at a distance during the hearing
Yates called Flynn’s talks with Kislyak “a very curious thing to do, especially when the Russians acted to benefit President Trump, then cover it up.”
It was just one of the times she could use her testimony to highlight Russian election interference, during hearings Graham planned to focus on the FBI. The title was ‘Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation’.
Yates called the Justice Department case to dismiss the Flynn case as “very irregular.” The move resulted in the dismissal and departure of professional prosecutors.
“It’s highly irregular,” said Yates, adding that she had never seen a plea like Flynn before.
“General Flynn had pleaded guilty twice and swore he was guilty,” she said.
She called his false statements to the FBI “absolutely relevant to a legitimate investigation.”
“No … there was no information that the Russians were working to help a candidate other than Donald Trump.”
But she didn’t support former FBI director James Comey, who testified that she hadn’t notified her beforehand when FBI agents questioned Flynn at the White House.
Graham asked Yates about the interview, acknowledging, “I was upset that Director Comey didn’t coordinate with us and acted unilaterally.”
“Has Comey become a villain?” Graham wanted to know.
“You could use that term, yes,” she replied.
But she also opposed the Trump story that President and Trump’s rival Joe Biden committed a crime in 2020 that he loosely called “Obamagate” when she described an Oval Office meeting discussing the Flynn case.
She said she couldn’t remember Biden “saying much of anything” at the meeting, where notes indicate that he may have mentioned the Logan Act.
“During the meeting, the president, vice president, and national security adviser did not in any way attempt to direct or influence any investigation,” she said.
Said the interview with Flynn was “at the core of the FBI’s investigation to try to find out what the links are between the Trump administration and the Russians.”
Yates, who closed two warrants for former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, said, “I would never have signed anything that I knew contained errors and omissions.”
She turned down the chances of either bashing or talking to U.S. Attorney General John Durham, who used Attorney General Bill Barr to oversee an investigation into the Russian probe.
“It’s not my position today what John Durham should or shouldn’t do,” she told Graham.
She said of interference in the US elections: “This is not something that happened in the past, this is what is happening now, as we are sitting here today.”