Sally Yates: Russians had 'real leverage' over Michael Flynn

Sally Yates: Russians had 'real leverage' over Michael Flynn

Sally Yates: Russians had 'real leverage' over Michael Flynn

Fired acting Justice Department attorney general Sally Yates said in an interview Tuesday that "there was nothing casual" about warnings she gave the Trump administration about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"This was a serious compromise situation", Yates told Cooper.

Those close to Flynn said Yates' confirmation of this unmasking is "extremely unusual" and "exceptional" since Flynn is an American and was part of the incoming administration. "It certainly wasn't from my discussion with them", Yates told CNN Tuesday. In her testimony, she claimed she alerted the White House earlier this year that former national security adviser Michael Flynn could be "essentially blackmailed by the Russians".

The official White House rationale for Flynn's dismissal, articulated by press secretary Sean Spicer, was a "trust issue" following Flynn's failure to inform Pence of his conversations with Kislyak.

"There was certainly a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct", Yates replied. John Cornyn, R-Texas. He lamented that while he had once voted to confirm her as assistant attorney general, "I find it enormously disappointing that you somehow vetoed the decision of the Office of Legal Counsel with regard to the lawfulness of the president's order".

While the White House would have us believe that Yates was an Obama mole in the Department of Justice, in fact she is a almost 30-year career prosecutor who got her first break from a conservative Georgia senator.

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Cooper: There was urgency to the information? "That was one of the other issues that he raised in the second meeting was whether they could look at the underlying evidence that established General Flynn's conduct", Yates told Cooper in the interview.

Michael Flynn was sacked 18 days later.

President Trump fired Yates in January after she refused to enforce his first travel ban until its legality was determined.

In her CNN interview, Yates denied that she was the source of the information and hadn't authorized anyone to leak classified intelligence.

"Absolutely not. I did not and I would not leak classified information", she said. But I didn't know if something else had been done that maybe I just wasn't aware of.

YATES: I told him it wasn't our call.

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But the NSA routinely bugs the Russian embassy in Washington and Yates, as acting attorney general, knew from intelligence agency transcripts that Flynn was lying.

But senior F.B.I. and Justice Department officials knew otherwise.

"General Flynn is a wonderful man", Trump told a news conference in February after Flynn's firing was announced. Just as a private citizen at that point, did it concern you?

"(Yates) has betrayed the Department of Justice", the White House statement said.

"I recognize that I may have a voice that I didn't have before", she said in The New Yorker interview.

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"I think this was a serious compromise situation", said Yates "The Russians had real leverage".

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