Trump: Ask Sally Yates About Classified Information Leaked to Media

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announces a settlement with Volkswagen during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Volkswagen will spend more than $15 billion to settle consumer lawsuits and government allegations that it cheated on emissions tests in what lawyers are calling the …
AP/J. David Ake

President Trump suggested to Senators on Monday morning that they ask Sally Yates, former Obama administration deputy attorney general and acting attorney general in the Trump administration’s early days, how classified information she went to the White House counsel with got leaked to the media soon after.

Yates is testifying publicly for the first time in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. She is expected to discuss how she went to the White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26 with classified information that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had talked about U.S. sanctions on Moscow with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

That classified information was shortly after illegally leaked to the Washington Post, on February 9, leading to Flynn’s resignation, since he had previously told Vice President Mike Pence that he had not discussed that topic.

“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to the W.H. Council,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also reminded his followers in an earlier tweet that Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration, amid accusations that he did not properly vet the retired Army four-star general, who had last served as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently pointed out that when Flynn last received his top secret security clearance in 2016, it was already known that he had visited Russia in 2015 to give a speech, which is now being investigated by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is also testifying along with Yates. He said in March that by the time he left the government in January, he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. FBI Director James Comey has confirmed an investigation into Russian interference in the elections had begun in July.

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice was invited to testify on Monday, but declined the invite after her lawyer said the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee had disagreed with the invite, calling her testimony not relevant to the hearing topic, which is Russian influence on the U.S. elections.

News reports revealed last month that Rice had requested the unmasking of identities of Trump transition team officials. She has denied doing anything “untoward.” The subcommittee’s chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said he would continue to pursue that issue down the road.


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