Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on Today's Senate Testimony of Sally Yates and James Clapper
Washington, DC -- Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“Today’s testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee by Sally Yates, former Acting Attorney General and a career prosecutor in the Department of Justice, filled in some of the remaining blanks in the troubling saga of former National Security Advisor, General Mike Flynn. Ms. Yates testified that as Acting Attorney General she notified the White House Counsel, Donald McGahn, on January 26th that Flynn had reportedly lied to the Vice President, and that she raised concerns not just about his misstatements but his ‘underlying conduct,' which would make him susceptible to compromise by Russia. It was 18 days later when Flynn was finally removed from his post, and only after the fact of his lies became public.
“President Trump should not have needed Ms. Yates to intervene, because it was abundantly clear that General Flynn was unsuited for any role in the Administration, let alone as National Security Advisor. Well before he reportedly discussed the sanctions placed on Russia in response to their interference in the 2016 election and misled the Vice President and others, Flynn’s behavior was already disqualifying. Among other facts that have come to light since his firing, Flynn apparently and improperly accepted payments from the Russian and Turkish entities and failed to disclose them. He also failed to register as a foreign agent while lobbying on behalf of Turkey.
“These matters either were known to the White House at the time of his appointment, or otherwise would have been discovered by even a minimal vetting process. Indeed, we learned today that President Obama himself reportedly warned the President-Elect about General Flynn, a caution that, if true, demonstrates the gravity of the concerns with General Flynn, and the alarm bells the President chose to ignore for reasons he has not explained.
“The most important remaining questions are the ones that Ms. Yates cannot answer: Why did the President wait until General Flynn’s false assurances to the Vice President and others become public before removing him from his post? Was the President aware of any contacts or conversations that Flynn had with the Russians and did he approve them? Had his false statements not been made public, would Flynn have remained as National Security Advisor, despite Russian intelligence services holding information that could be used to influence or blackmail him? The American people have the right to know the answer to these questions, among many others."