Yates Confirms Comey ‘Went Rogue’ During 2017 Interview With Flynn

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates says she was not happy that former FBI Director James Comey sent agents to the White House to interview then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017 about his contacts with the then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

During a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Wednesday, Yates was pressed on whether Comey had her approval to interview Flynn. Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, “You didn’t authorize the interview. As a matter of fact, you wanted to go to the White House and tell them about the problem, didn’t you?”

“That’s right, I thought that was the more immediate issue,” Yates responded.

Graham asked if Yates was “upset” when she heard that FBI agents went to the White House to interview Flynn. She responded, “I was upset that Director Comey didn’t coordinate that with us and acted unilaterally.”

“Did Comey go rogue?” Graham asked.

Yates replied and agreed with his sentiment. She said, “You could use that term, yes.”

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Wednesday’s hearing is part of an investigation, spearheaded, by Graham into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. 

Yates also testified that Comey did not tell her that Flynn’s communications with Kislyak. She also said she first became aware of that investigation during an Oval Office meeting on January 5, 2017. 

While some Republicans have argued that former President Barack Obama wanted to prosecute Flynn for a Logan Act violation, Yates denied that Obama was pressing for a prosecution.

Instead, she said the investigation that led to the discovery of Flynn’s contacts came about after the Russians back-tracked on their threat to take retaliatory action after Obama placed new sanctions on Russia.

In his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Flynn urged Russians officials not to take retaliatory action in response to the new round of sanctions. Instead, a transcript of one phone calls Flynn urges the Russias to not “go any further than you have to.”

When asked if she thought Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak were a violation of the Logan Act, she said, “It certainly could have been a technical violation.”

Yates was also asked if former Vice President Joe Biden mentioned the Logan Act during the January 5, meeting, and she said she could not recall if he did.

However, she said she remembered Comey brought up the Logan Act but could not recall if that was during the meeting. 

Still, Yates also signaled support for the investigation of Flynn and said she found it “highly irregular” that the Justice Department moved to drop its prosecution of him. 

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