Sally Yates in the spotlight: Fired attorney general will counter White House narrative on Michael Flynn

Sally Yates will testify in what is sure to be must-watch television

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 3, 2017 12:59PM (EDT)

It now appears that President Donald Trump and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes had good reason to try to stop former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying last month. When she appears before the committee, Yates plans on directly contradicting the Trump administration's official story about the events leading up to the firing of disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Yates is going to testify before the Senate on Monday that she explicitly told White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had lied when he repeatedly insisted he had not discussed President Barack Obama's sanctions against Russia with that nation's ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, according to a CNN report. Yates will describe how in a meeting with McGahn on Jan. 26, she told him that she knew Flynn had lied publicly and privately to Trump administration officials about what he had discussed with Kislyak and she conveyed "serious concerns" that this made Flynn vulnerable to being compromised by Vladimir Putin's regime.

She also is reported to have told McGahn that Flynn could be fired, although she did not specifically recommend his termination. Flynn was fired 18 days after the Yates-McGahn meeting.

Yates' story will directly contradict the narrative presented by the Trump administration about the events leading up to Flynn's firing. On Feb. 14, one day after Flynn was removed from his post, White House press secretary Sean Spicer downplayed Yates' warning by saying that she had merely "wanted to give a 'heads up' to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what [Flynn] had sent the Vice President."

Because of the sensitive and classified nature of the information that enabled Yates to reach her conclusions about Flynn, she will most likely omit some details about the factors involved.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Michael Flynn Partner Video Russia Sally Yates