Sally Yates: 'There Was Nothing Casual' About Mike Flynn Warning

Sally Yates: 'There Was Nothing Casual' About Mike Flynn Warning

CNN's Anderson Cooper is sitting down with former acting attorney general Sally Yates Tuesday to discuss numerous allegations levied against her by President Donald Trump in the last several months.

Yates says she warned the White House in late January that Flynn - a retired Army lieutenant general - "essentially could be blackmailed" by Russian Federation after he misled top officials about the nature of December conversations he had with that country's ambassador to the United States.

The White House said in a statement that Sally Yates "betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order created to protect the citizens of the United States". "He also had lied to the Vice President of the United States. But, doesn't seem like that's a person should be sitting in the national security adviser position". Flynn was sacked after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian officials.

Trump and others accused intelligence officials of inappropriately "unmasking" Flynn in captured communications, a criticism Trump made on Twitter as recently as this month. "The Russians had real leverage".

Last week, Yates testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and reiterated that she believed Flynn could have been blackmailed.

In the CNN interview she denied she was the source for reports outing Flynn's contact with Kislyak that eventually led to his ouster.

During an interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on CNN Tuesday night, Yates said she called McGahn on the morning of January 26 and told him she needed to meet with him in person to discuss a "sensitive" issue that couldn't be discussed over the phone.

As she did in her Senate testimony, Yates, a 27-year veteran of the Justice Department, told Cooper that she conveyed a sense of urgency in her conversation with McGahn and warned him that the Russians knew about Flynn's "underlying conduct".

An Atlantic City native has found himself in the middle of the controversy surrounding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn that has embroiled the White House. But I didn't know if something else had been done that maybe I just wasn't aware of.

"Absolutely not", Yates told Cooper.

COOPER: Do you think Michael Flynn should have been fired?

"At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful", Yates wrote.

"I think that this was a serious compromise situation", said Yates of Flynn's Russian Federation connections. Just as a private citizen at that point, did it concern you?

YATES: I don't know how the White House reached the conclusion that there was no legal issue.

"They should be able to do their jobs without any fear at all", she said. "It certainly wasn't from my discussion with them".

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