President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE on Thursday accused former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesSally Yates: I never thought that I'd be saying, 'Yeah, go Liz Cheney' ABC lands first one-on-one TV interview with Garland since confirmation Appointing a credible, non-partisan Jan. 6 commission should not be difficult 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 ComeyGiuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign DOJ watchdog unable to determine if FBI fed Giuliani information ahead of 2016 election Biden sister has book deal, set to publish in April 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?”
Sally Yates is either lying or grossly incompetent. It is not possible she could have known so little about Dirty Cop James Comey (and others) from her high position in the Department of “Justice”. The political Crime of the Century, and she had no idea what they were doing?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2020
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 BarrWoodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China Barr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins 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."
“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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s subsequent probe.