That hearing that House Intel Chair Devin Nunes so abruptly canceled? It was the hearing during which we were going to hear fired United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testify.
She’s the person who told the White House that Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his talks with Russia. This testimony would be awkward for the Trump White House, because when Flynn was busted for lying about his talks with Russia weeks after Yates briefed the Trump people, the Trump White House claimed they had no knowledge of Flynn’s talks with the Russians.
But they did, according to Sally Yates. A fact that the public won’t hear about today, due to the canceled hearing.
Yates was going to talk until she was blocked.
But wait. The news this Tuesday morning is that Yates wasn’t going to let that happen. Apparently, she was going to testify despite the attempt to block her, and her lawyers informed the Trump White House of her intentions to do so on March 24th.
And then, on March 24th, the hearing was canceled by Devin Nunes. Nunes, who ran to the White House to supposedly brief President Trump on some “evidence” he found that he won’t share with members of his committee. That happened on the 22nd.
Sally Yates lawyers sent a letter to the Trump White House stating that she intended to testify despite the attempt to block her, according to a letter obtained by NBC.
NBC obtains letter from Yates lawyers to WH stating her intent to testify despite attempt to block her
Same day: Nunes canceled her hearing pic.twitter.com/AsfrLSEuEe
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 28, 2017
According to former CIA chief of staff, Jeremy Bash, Yates has “revelations” “about when she told the White House that Flynn lied”:
Interesting—Jeremy Bash implies Sally Yates had revelations for House Intel about when she told WH that Flynn lied. Nunes nixed the hearing. pic.twitter.com/vKCd1jdoc5
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 28, 2017
Bash said on MSNBC, “I think the real story, the real issue here is not so much about the midnight run by the chairman onto the White House grounds, it’s really that they wanted to cancel this week. This hearing this week was going to hear from Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, and I am told that she had some very interesting to tell the committee to tell the public about when she told the White House counsel that Mike Flynn had in fact been lying to the Vice President. She was only going to be able to speak those things within the context of a congressional hearing, and so the White House and the chairman needed to shut her down. This was an elaborately choreographed gag order against Sally Yates.”
Ranking Member House Intel committee Rep. Adam Schiff asked the obvious question that hints at a possible White House cover up when he wondered if the white House canceled Tuesday’s open hearing because they didn’t want Sally Yates to testify regarding General Flynn’s deception.
Was today's open hearing cancelled because WH did not want Sally Yates to testify re Gen Flynn's deception? Didn't want to assert privilege? pic.twitter.com/qO63IfPtAP
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 28, 2017
A spokesperson for Nunes denied that the Republican Chair coordinated with the White House to block Yates’s testimony.
Intel committee chairman Nunes, through a spokesman, denied coordinating with the White House to block Yates's testimony. pic.twitter.com/E4g0fkWmri
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) March 28, 2017
The Republican backing of Devin Nunes chairing this committee is so absurd as to color each Republican doing it with the stink of the Russian scandal.
There was quite literally no reason Nunes should have ever been heading a probe that possibly implicates himself.
But there is even less cause now that Nunes has interfered in this investigation, snuck over to the White House for a weird pow wow followed by a press conference in which he tried very, very hard to blow smoke around the wrong issue to exonerate Donald Trump’s false allegations against President Obama, and clearly has no interest in getting to the bottom of the actual Russia scandal.
People need to hear what Sally Yates has to say. But instead, the man in charge of the probe into Trump’s Russia connections made sure to gag her so the public couldn’t hear from her through his committee.
Smoke and circumstance became direct evidence of a cover-up as the Trump White House has made the fatal mistake that could bring his presidency down.
Update 1:40 PM: White House press secretary Sean Spicer vehemently denied that the Trump White House had anything to do with the cancellation of the hearing at which Yates was determined to testify. Spicer made a bizarre accusation about Trump using Russian salad dressing and the press turning it into Russian collusion.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.