Yates Was Warned. Nevertheless, She Persisted

The words that sparked the resistance movement to rally in support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren when McConnell tried to silence her now apply to Sally Yates. If you remember, she is the woman who served as the Deputy Attorney General in the Obama administration and was initially asked to stay on as the Acting Attorney General for Trump until he fired her for refusing to defend his travel ban.

Prior to her firing, she warned the White House that the statements made by Michael Flynn about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador were not true and could potentially be used as blackmail against him, a warning that the White House chose to ignore until the information became public and Flynn was fired.

Yates was planning to testify about her knowledge of some of these events to the House Intelligence Committee that is currently chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes. But apparently the White House has been attempting to stop her from doing so.

According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration 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.

Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at DOD and the CIA during the Obama administration, had previously suggested that she might have some important information to share with the committee.

As he stated, Nunes cancelled the hearing. Today we learned that happened on the same day that Yates’ lawyer responded to the attempts by the White House to silence her.

Yates’ lawyer then sent a letter Friday to the White House lawyer, McGahn, saying that any claim of privilege “has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications. Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates’ intention to provide information.’’

That same day, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, announced he would not go forward with the public hearing that was to feature Yates’ testimony.

One of the cliches to emerge from the Watergate scandal was, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” With the recent activities of Rep. Nunes and now this, it is increasingly looking like the White House is engaged in a cover-up. Regardless of what evidence is available for the probe into whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, they are sure acting like they have something to hide.

We don’t know how important Yates’ testimony will be. But obviously she is determined to persist, even after being warned. So if or when she is able to testify in an open hearing, the White House just ensured that it will be considered yuuuuuge.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.