Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Wayminnit..., This Seems Like A Particularly Uncharacteristic Obama Moment

washingtonexaminer |  Obama “started by saying that he had ‘learned of the information about Flynn’ and his conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak," Yates said, according to the notes. “Obama specified he did not want any additional information on the matter but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently.” 

Yates told investigators that “at that point,” she “had no idea what the President was talking about.” She “recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act” but could not remember if Comey specifically said there was an “investigation.” 

"It was not clear ... where the President first received the information," Yates said, adding that she “did not recall Comey’s response to the President’s question about how to treat Flynn.” Yates told Mueller's team, “She was so surprised by the information she was hearing that she was having a hard time processing it and listening to the conversation at the same time," the notes said. 

The Justice Department’s Thursday court filing described the ensuing clash between Comey and Yates on the question of whether to tell the incoming Trump administration that the recording of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador did not entirely square up with what Flynn had apparently told incoming Vice President Mike Pence. Comey “took the position that the FBI would not notify the incoming Trump administration of the Flynn-Kislyak communications." Yates and other senior DOJ officials “took the contrary view and believed that the incoming administration should be notified.” 

Yates told Mueller’s team about a pre-inauguration conversation about notifying the Trump team either with Comey or now-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and “recalled that the FBI was resistant to the idea.” She also “recalled Comey’s view was that no one really knew if the Vice President was aware of the calls,” but “the DOJ response was that they shouldn’t assume the Vice President was aware and had knowingly lied.” The FBI notes state that “in the days immediately leading up to inauguration, Yates was really pushing to notify, while Comey was still very resistant.”
Yates, who noted it was "not always clear what the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn" and whose team noted the case appeared to vacillate between being a counterintelligence investigation and a criminal investigation, told investigators she decided “enough was enough” and would tell the White House a few days after President Trump’s inauguration. On Jan. 24, 2017, Yates and her team agreed that she would inform the Trump White House about the Flynn recordings, and Yates called Comey to let him know. But when Yates spoke with Comey later that day, he “informed her that two agents were on their way to interview Mike Flynn at the White House.”