Trump: Yates either lying or grossly incompetent

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE on Thursday accused former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesBiden directs DOJ to phase out use of private prisons The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from chaotic downtown DC Biden to name Merrick Garland for attorney general MORE of “either lying” or being “grossly incompetent” after her testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Justice Department investigations into election interference in 2016.

“It is not possible she could have known so little about Dirty Cop James ComeyJames Brien ComeyJohn Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges Trump DOJ officials sought to block search of Giuliani records: report Tina Fey, Amy Poehler to host Golden Globes from separate coasts amid pandemic MORE (and others) from her high position in the Department of 'Justice,'" the president tweeted early Thursday. “The political Crime of the Century, and she had no idea what they were doing?”


Yates told the committee that the FBI, under the leadership of then-Director James Comey, in January 2017 interviewed incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn without her authorization or advanced knowledge.

"I was upset that Director Comey didn't coordinate that with us and acted unilaterally," Yates said.

"Did Comey go rogue?" Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked.

"You could use that term, yes," Yates responded.


Despite her criticism of Comey’s handling of the process, Yates defended the FBI’s need to interview Flynn due to his conversations with the then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak after the November 2016 election.

"Interviewing General Flynn was really right at the core of the FBI's investigation at this point to try to discern, what are the ties between the Trump administration and the Russians?" she said during her testimony.

Flynn was fired in 2017 for misleading Vice President Pence about those conversations. He had initially entered into an agreement in 2017 to cooperate with the Department of Justice and pleaded guilty, but he subsequently withdrew from the plea agreement and was fighting the charges. 

The Justice Department decided earlier this year to drop the case against Flynn, a decision that sparked outrage among Democrats, who claimed Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMajority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Justice Department renews investigation into George Floyd's death: report MORE was politicizing the agency.

Yates, asked about the decision to drop those charges on Wednesday, said she thought it was “highly irregular.” 

Prior to her testimony, Trump lashed out at Yates and tweeted that she has “zero credibility.”

“She was a part of the greatest political crime of the Century, and ObamaBiden knew EVERYTHING! Sally Yates leaked the General Flynn conversation? Ask her under oath. Republicans should start playing the Democrats game!” Trump tweeted. 

Trump fired Yates in January 2017, while she was serving as acting attorney general, after she refused to defend his controversial travel ban

When asked if she doesn’t like Trump, Yates told senators, "I don't respect the manner in which he has carried out the presidency."

“You despise Donald Trump, don’t you?” Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) shot back.

“I don't despise anyone, senator,” Yates added. 

The GOP is ramping up their Obama-era investigations and Graham is centering his efforts around the origins of of the FBI’s investigation into Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign as well as former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s subsequent probe.