Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates two weeks ago, after she refused to support his Muslim ban, which a federal judge had already issued a stay against. But it turns out that wasn’t the only interaction going on between Yates and Trump at the time. In fact, shortly before Trump fired her, Yates tried to warn the Trump White House that Michael Flynn was a likely blackmail target for the Russian government – adding a whole new layer of context to her firing.
Trump fired Sally Yates as acting Attorney General just hours after she publicly announced that she had instructed the Department of Justice not to go along with the Muslim ban. The firing came in such stunningly swift fashion that many observers – including John Dean from the Richard Nixon administration – likened it to the “Saturday Night Massacre” in which Nixon began firing officials who refused to break the law on his behalf. And it turns out Trump’s decision to fire Yates may not have been based entirely on the Muslim ban.
Just days before she was fired, Sally Yates informed the Trump White House counsel that Michael Flynn was “potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail,” according to a new report from the Washington Post. It’s not yet clear whether the White House counsel passed this information along to Donald Trump himself. But if he did, it means that when Trump fired Yates, he did so with the knowledge that Yates was already onto Flynn’s Russian collusion.
This is crucial in light of the fact that four days after Flynn was publicly exposed for having illegally colluded with the Russian ambassador, Donald Trump and his White House still publicly standing by Flynn. And yet, even as Trump refuses to fire Flynn, who probably knows his Russian secrets, he fired Sally Yates within just hours of their conflict. Did Trump know at the time that Yates was onto Flynn? Was Trump protecting Flynn when he fired Yates? These questions must now be answered.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report