Sally Yates' warnings about Russia's stronghold on Mike Flynn just took on a whole new significance

Sally Yates' warnings about Russia's stronghold on Mike Flynn just took on a whole new significance
Image via Wikimedia Commons

The day before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey to allegedly relieve pressure on himself over the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified to Congress about the activities of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

As Yates explained, she was concerned that Russia knowing about Flynn’s lies allowed him to be easily blackmailed.

“We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this… the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done,” she said. “And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.”

As national security analyst Marcy Wheeler explains in a new post, at the time Yates knew that Flynn had lied about Russian sanctions. But what Yates did not know was that Trump himself may have ordered Flynn to get rid of the sanctions, as many believe happened based on conversations between Flynn, Trump and Flynn’s aide KT McFarland, who was stationed at Mar-a-Lago with the president.

“Neither Yates nor the FBI would have known that the Russians were offering a Trump Tower deal and dirt on Hillary Clinton to induce Don Jr to commit to revisit sanctions,” Wheeler writes.

Yates believed Flynn was compromised and sounded a warning bell, Wheeler writes, but based on what we now already know, Trump may have been “more susceptible to blackmail than Flynn, because Flynn had just been doing what he was told, didn’t have a prior bribe to hide, and might expect a pardon if he successfully protected the President.”

Based on what we’ve learned since, it appears Yates’ testimony foreshadowed Trump’s increasingly unhinged actions.

“Trump would be stuck committing one after another act of obstruction in an attempt to prevent the FBI from discovering the full truth,” she writes. “Each of those acts would put him deeper in the hole, because each time he engaged in obstruction, the Russians would measure his increasing vulnerability.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.