President Donald Trump offered advice for the senators set to question former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday, writing on Twitter that they should question her on the source of information on former national security adviser Michael Flynn that was leaked to the media.
Yates, who was appointed deputy attorney general by former President Barack Obama, is expected to offer testimony that will reflect poorly on the White House and its handling of Flynn, who was dismissed as national security adviser amid reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about the nature of his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
Flynn had denied that he discussed easing recently-imposed sanctions with the Russian ambassador even though he had. Yates, who as acting attorney general was privy to the details of Flynn’s conversation, informed White House counsel Donald McGahn of the discrepancy in late January. Flynn was not fired though until those discrepancies were made public weeks later in media reports.
Trump, who continued to defend his former national security adviser even after his departure from the White House, said the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism should seek answers from Yates as to how the true contents of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador were ever made public in the first place.
“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council [sic],” Trump wrote on Twitter.
In an earlier post, the president also rehashed an argument put forward in the past by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that it was the Obama administration, not Trump’s, that gave Flynn his security clearance despite paid work he did for foreign governments after leaving the military in 2014.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration – but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump wrote.