What to Expect From Sally Yates’ Testimony Today
Bill Palmer at the Palmer Report does the honors:
1. Donald Trump fired Sally Yates a few days after she warned him and his White House that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was dirty on Russia and was a possible blackmail risk. For the first time tomorrow, we’ll hear precisely what she said about the matter to whom, and the response she received. She may also reveal how she learned Flynn was dirty, what dirt she learned about him, and who else in the federal government knew at the time.”
Think of Flynn as Trump’s version of G. Gordon Liddy or Howard E. Hunt. The Nixon coverup was about keeping the sole blame on Liddy, Hunt, and the five burglars-the Cubans, though not all of them were Cuban, etc.
Paul Manafort and Carter Page are also in this category as is, of course, Roger Stone. Also-Boris Epshteyn. It’s kind of funny. Where as the original Nixon seven that they wanted to leave holding the bag clearly weren’t the first team, people like Manafort and Flynn-Trump’s first NSC advisor for God’s sake-can hardly be dismissed as not being important senior people in TrumpWorld.
As for who else knew, as I argued yesterday, Mike Pence has gotten a total free pass until now.
We’ll see if Ms. Yates discusses him today. Back to the Palmer Report:
2.Trump officially fired Yates a few days later, supposedly over a disagreement about the Muslim ban, which was later ruled unconstitutional in federal court. Tomorrow we should hear from Yates how her firing was presented to her, and whether anyone in the Trump White House admitted to her that she was actually fired in order to protect Michael Flynn.”
Remember how she was fired: ‘She was very disloyal. President Trump doesn’t like that.’
3. Yates is testifying tomorrow before the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee (link). That subcommittee is chaired by Lindsey Graham, a Republican who wants to get to the bottom of the Trump-Russia scandal but who also seems to want to at least partially pander to the Trump side along the way. So expect his questions to be a mixed bag. But all of the other Republicans and Democrats on the subcommittee, including Democratic ranking member Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, will also get their chance to ask Yates about whatever they think is pertinent.”
Yes. Speaking of Lindsay, expect him to talk about Susan Rice and the Obama Administration some if for no other reason, then a sop to Herr Trump.
4. Sally Yates’ testimony is in a public hearing tomorrow, so it’ll probably air live on CNN and MSNBC, and it’ll definitely air live on CSPAN. The Senate subcommittee is also streaming the hearings live on its website (link). The hearings begin at 2:30pm eastern time. But Yates and James Clapper are both testifying, and it’s not clear which will go first. This is likely to be the most explosive testimony in the Trump Russia scandal to date, so be sure to get your popcorn ready.”
My popcorn is already in the popper.
Bill Palmer also points out that Trump is, big surprise, lashing out:
Donald Trump gets desperate, tries to throw Sally Yates and Michael Flynn under the same bus.”
But, of course-remember, Trump blames Obama for appointing him as Trump’s NSC advisor. Next he’ll be claiming Obama wrote the Lock her up! chants.
“If you’re looking for a sign of just how concerned Donald Trump is about Sally Yates publicly testifying about Michael Flynn and Trump’s Russia scandal today, look no further than his White House’s freshly leaked counter programming strategy. And if you want a sign of how sloppy the Trump White House has become, consider the fact that the strategy has already leaked before it’s been put into action. Oh, and it involves one extra large bus.”
“Political news site Axios got ahold of the Donald Trump administration’s playbook for today, and Brian Fallon from the Hillary Clinton campaign has posted it (link). Here are the three steps involved: 1) Paint Sally Yates as a Democratic operative and a liar who was out to get Trump all along. 2) Paint Michael Flynn as having had no real connection to Trump. 3) Paint Flynn as having acted as a lone wolf.”
A lone wolf who hired himself, no doubt, and vetted himself. Mike Pence didn’t vet him, he was vetted by the vetting fairy.
“That right there is what you call a desperation level strategy. No one among the general public is going to buy that Sally Yates, who had no public political profile during her two decades at the Department of Justice and hasn’t said a word publicly since her firing, has any sort of self serving agenda she’s trying to drive home. And no one is going to believe that Trump had no connection to Michael Flynn, one of the few people who managed to complete the trifecta of serving as a Trump campaign adviser, transition adviser, and White House adviser.”
“That’s really all Donald Trump has left in the tank as far as pushing back at this point? Throwing everyone under the same bus? Oh, and then there was this beauty of a tweet from him yesterday: “When will the Fake Media ask about the Dems dealings with Russia.” At this point Trump is one step away from being reduced to yelling “Hey look, what’s that over there?”
On the other hand, per Axios, Trump wants his team to ‘Stop dumping on poor Mike Flynn.’ He doesn’t approve of this plan to dump Flynn.
“On the eve of Sally Yates’ testimony before the Senate on her warnings about Mike Flynn, the President wants any of his staff who’ve been feeding negative lines about Flynn to the media to stop immediately.”
White House officials have been eager to throw the former national security advisor under the bus, but a source familiar with the President’s thinking says he still thinks highly of Flynn and has never authorized any of his staff to undermine the retired general. Trump still defends his former national security advisor and wasn’t happy to see an Axios story Sunday afternoon saying administration officials have been attacking Flynn to reporters.”
How Trump reasons it, per the source:
“General Flynn is a good man who served his country admirably.”
He considers being a paid foreign agent serving his country well? Which country? Flynn actually showed classified info to the Russians. Is this Trump’s idea of patriotism?
Back to Axios:
“The Russia story is “fake news” and Flynn did nothing wrong by having the conversations with the Russian ambassador. (Though obviously the President has acknowledged publicly that it wasn’t appropriate for Flynn to either mislead the Vice President or not remember the phone call where they discussed sanctions.).”
He did nothing wrong if working in Russia’s interests rather than US interests is ‘nothing wrong.’
“When Flynn went to Russia in 2015 to deliver a paid speech and take a photo with Putin, he was acting under an Obama security clearance. This is a point the President wants to stress and you can expect to hear the White House press team repeat it.”
The old Trump standby: Obama ate my homework.
Get that popcorn ready.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.