Now that it’s public knowledge that the FBI has been investigating whether President Donald Trump knowingly worked as a Russian agent in the early months of his presidency, the warning that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates gave about then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s behavior are taking on new light.
Yates explained: “We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this… the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done,” she said. “And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.”
National security analyst Marcy Wheeler explains that at the time, Yates knew that Flynn lied about Russian sanctions. However, what was unknown at the time was whether or not it was Donald Trump who gave the order to Flynn to get rid of the sanctions, as many believe happened based on conversations between Flynn, Trump and Flynn’s aide KT McFarland, who was stationed at Mar-a-Lago with the president.
“Neither Yates nor the FBI would have known that the Russians were offering a Trump Tower deal and dirt on Hillary Clinton to induce Don Jr to commit to revisit sanctions,” Wheeler explains.
Of course, Sally Yates believed that Flynn ha been compromised, so she sounded the alarms, Wheeler writes. However, based on what we know now, Trump may have been “more susceptible to blackmail than Flynn, because Flynn had just been doing what he was told, didn’t have a prior bribe to hide, and might expect a pardon if he successfully protected the President.”
Looking back, it appears the testimony of Sally Yates set the stage for Trump’s increasingly unhinged actions.
“Trump would be stuck committing one after another act of obstruction in an attempt to prevent the FBI from discovering the full truth,” Wheeler writes. “Each of those acts would put him deeper in the hole, because each time he engaged in obstruction, the Russians would measure his increasing vulnerability.”
There should never be a time when the sentence “The President of the United States was a knowing foreign agent” is treated so flippantly. Especially when it’s been right there in front of us since the very beginning. But, you know…Republicans.