Reportedly, then President Obama told President-elect Trump to avoid appointing Michael Flynn to an office. Trump did so anyway; it is not generally known why.
- Did Trump not pay attention?
- Did he forget?
- Did he not care?
- Was he being contrary?
We may never know.
Sally Yates, a career Justice Dept. employee became acting Attorney General when President Trump took office. Convinced that National Security Director Flynn’s lies were a threat to national security, she made an appointment with White House Council Don McGahn. She informed him that the Trump Administration had a problem–what Flynn was telling Vice President Pence conflicted with the facts. Flynn was lying and the Russians knew it, which made him susceptible to blackmail. Evidently, McGahn took her report under advisement.
The next day, McGahn invited her back. He had some questions. He wanted to know why the Justice Department cared if Administration officials lied to each other. Potential national security breach, Yates explained. McGahn asked to see the evidence; Yates arranged for that. Before that happened, she was fired as acting AG.
Surprisingly, her firing had nothing to do with her attempt to save the Trump Administration from itself–she was fired for refusing to defend Trump’s Muslim ban which she considered indefensible. Subsequently, the Federal Courts agreed and the original ban was rescinded.
Today, hostile questioners wanted to know:
- Why did you overrule your subordinates in refusing to defend the President’s order?
- Why would an (acting) Attorney General not do whatever the President wants?
Ms. Yates replied that at her confirmation hearing she had been asked if she would oppose what a President wanted if she knew it was wrong. She had replied that she would. In this case, she had fulfilled her promise.
We need more officials like Sally Yates.