Yates says Comey went ‘rogue’ on Flynn, as Graham slams investigation
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, claimed that former FBI Director James Comey sent agents to interview then-National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, about his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak without getting approval from others at the Department of Justice.
“I didn’t authorize that interview because I wasn’t told about it in advance,” said Yates, in response to questions by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about the FBI interview of Flynn.
The interview was the basis for the Department of Justice case against Flynn of lying to the FBI.
“Yates said that when she heard about the FBI’s interview with Flynn, ‘I was upset that Director Comey didn’t coordinate this with us and acted unilaterally.’ Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, asked whether Comey went ‘rogue’ with sending agents to speak with Flynn, and Yates responded, ‘You could use that term, yes,’” reports Yahoo News.
The revelations bolster allegations that the Russia collusion investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane” – of which the Flynn investigation was just a part—was controlled politically and not a function of national security.
Yates also claimed that she was unaware that of the “significant inaccuracies and omissions in” the warrants she signed for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which authorized spying on Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.
Page had been the subject of recruitment attempts by Russian intelligence agents, but he informed the CIA of the attempts. He was also CIA source from 2008-2013. That information was deliberately left out of the FISA applications Yates signed, according to an Inspector General report on the FBI.
“I certainly regret that the Justice Department submitted FBI FISA applications that were inaccurate,” she said. “I think it is antithetical to our responsibility to the FISA Court.”
Flynn had talks with Russia’s Kislyak in his role as incoming Trump National Security Adviser in November and December 2016, urging the Russians to not retaliate against the outgoing Obama administration, which at the time was slapping sanctions on Russia for the alleged interference in the 2016 election.
In July 2016, Obama had mobilized U.S. troops to the Polish-Russian border.
Russia responded gently in December of 2016, content to let the outgoing Obama administration fume.
Russia, under Putin and prior President Dmitry Medvedev, previously rejected Obama attempts at a warmer relationship with the administration. That Putin welcomed a new administration upset Obama holdovers like Yates.
“Yates said the conversations between Flynn and Kislyak came to light after the Russian government surprisingly backed off from responding to the Obama sanctions,” reports Courthouse News.
“The Logan Act has never been used for a reason,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham about the legal basis of the for Flynn investigation in light of Yates testimony.
The Logan Act prevents private persons from conducting foreign policy in contravention of government policy. Flynn’s conversations with Russia were clearly in line with his official duties as the incoming National Security Adviser.
“I think it was used here as a sham reason to find out more about General Flynn, who the Obama administration did not like,” he added.
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