On the heels of former acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ fiery testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which rightfully embarrassed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and suggested the White House lied about ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the fired Obama appointee sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for an exclusive interview. The full interview runs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Anderson Cooper 360, but the network released a rather damning preview in which Yates claims the “Russians had real leverage” over Flynn — thereby compromising his position in the Donald Trump administration.
When asked if she though Flynn — who ultimately resigned — should have been fired, Yates doesn’t outright answer the question, though she does admit it “was a serious comprise situation” for Flynn, whom the “Russians had real leverage” over. “He also had lied to the Vice President of the United States,” she adds, noting that “certainly a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct” in such a situation. “Whether he is fired or not is a decision by the President of the United States to make,” Yates concludes, “but it doesn’t seem like that’s a person who should be sitting in the national security adviser position.”
Despite the severity of her remarks, Yates — now a private citizen — generally sticks to her knowledge of the Flynn matter prior to her firing by Trump. For questions following that point in the timeline, she answers to the best of her ability while reminding Cooper she couldn’t possibly know what was going on in the White House after her dismissal. That said, when the CNN anchor asks a pointed question about her possibly leaking information to the Washington Post for a story that ultimately forced him to resign, Yates denies it.