Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates confirmed much of the Trump White House’s greatest fears in her testimony today. She confirmed that not only was President Trump’s hand-picked top campaign adviser turned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn believed to be compromised by the Russians, but the White House was warned 18 days before Flynn was finally fired. Adding insult to injury, she repeatedly confirmed that Vice President Mike Pence lied to the American people about Flynn’s conduct.
Further, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper affirmed that the “transcendent” issue at hand is Russian interference in our election despite question after question from Republican senators carrying water for Donald Trump and his conspiracy theories on leaks.
WATCH: Each time the White House lied about Flynn “it increased the compromise” the Russians had over Flynn.
YATES: “That every time this lie was repeated and the misrepresentations were getting more and more specific as they were coming out. Every time that happened it increased the compromise and you know to state the obvious, you don’t want your National Security Adviser compromised with the Russians.”
WATCH: Pence lied to the public. DOJ believed Flynn was compromised by the Russians.
YATES: “In making the determination about notification here we had a balance a variety of interests. For the reasons I just described a few minutes ago we felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House because, in part, because the Vice President was unknowingly making false statements to the public and because we believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians”
WATCH: Pence statement to the American people about Flynn’s conduct “just flat wasn’t true.”
YATES: “That’s certainly how it appeared, yes, because the Vice President went out and made statements about General Flynn’s conduct that he said were based on what General Flynn had told him and we knew that, that was just flat wasn’t true.”
WATCH: Russian interference in our election is the “transcendent” issue, “leaking and unmasking” are “ancillary issues.”
CLAPPER: “I understand how critical leaks are and unmasking and all these ancillary issues, but to me the transcendent issue here is the Russian interference in our election process and what that means to the erosion of a fundamental fabric of our democracy. And that to me is a huge deal and they’re going to continue to do it, and why not, it proved successful.”
WATCH: White House Counsel asked Yates how Flynn did in his FBI interview and she answered Flynn “had problems on a lot of levels.”
“SEN BLUMENTHAL: Did you tell Don McGahn that then National Security Adviser had told the truth during the interview?
YATES: No he asked me how he had done in the interview and I specifically declined to answer that.
BLUMENTHAL: Because it was part of the investigation?
YATES: That’s right.
BLUMENTHAL: Was that intended to indicate to him that Michael Flynn had a problem in that interview?
YATES: No I was intending to indicate that Michael Flynn had problems on a lot of levels, that it wasn’t necessarily with respect to how he performed in the interview. I was intentionally not letting him know how the interview had gone.
BLUMENTHAL: And lying to the FBI is a crime, correct?
YATES: It is, yes.
BLUMENTHAL: Violation 18 united states code 1,001…
YATES: Thats right.
BLUMENTHAL: … and it’s punishable by five years in prison
YATES: Yes it is.”