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Published: Sunday, May 07, 2017 @ 9:46 PM
— On Monday, former assistant U.S. attorney general Sally Yates is scheduled to testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee and recount what she told the Trump administration about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russian officials.
Yates, according to a source who has been briefed on what she is expected to testify about, will tell the committee that she told White House counsel on Jan. 26 about discrepancies in Flynn’s statements and what the White House was saying about his activities concerning Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
Critics say Flynn promised the Russian ambassador that the Trump administration would work to ease sanctions levied by President Barack Obama over allegations that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn has denied the charge.
Obama imposed sanctions on nine Russians after they were linked to "significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.” The administration also ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country.
So what do we know about Yates and how she has come to testify before the Senate subcommittee?
How did Yates come to testify before a Senate panel?
On Jan. 20, Attorney General Loretta Lynch resigned from her position and Yates became acting attorney general. Jeff Sessions, at the time President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, had not yet been confirmed by the Senate.
Yates stayed in the position for 10 days until she was fired by the Trump administration after she ordered the Department of Justice not to defend the president’s executive order barring immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
"At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,”
Sally Yates wrote in instructing the DOJ not to defend the order after it was challenged in court in Washington state, "Consequently, for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so."
The White House said in a statement that Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the statement read.
Michael Flynn warning
Yates is set to testify Monday about a warning she gave the White House counsel about what Gen. Flynn said he was doing when he met with the Russian ambassador, and what Justice Department officials believe actually happened between the two.
Yates met with White House Counsel Don McGahn 18 days before Flynn was fired. She is expected to testify that she issued a forceful warning that the story Flynn was telling was not what had happened between the two when they met in late December. She is expected also to say that she recommended that Flynn be fired.
At that point, Flynn had denied talking to Kislyak about the sanctions President Obama had placed on the Russians.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM
PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.
Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.
Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.
“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.
Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:
Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’
Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday.
“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “
Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.
“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”
White House doctor says despite President Trump's fast food habit and lack of exercise, he's in "excellent" condition; "He has incredibly good genes, and it's just the way God made him" https://t.co/fpNP3Hpnco pic.twitter.com/VGoTFSgp7C— CNN (@CNN) January 16, 2018
Cognitive screening showed no issues
Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.
“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”
He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”
“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”
Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication
A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.
“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.
He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”
Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds
At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.
“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.
“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.
Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels
Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.
“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”
Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:57 AM
WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
SCOOP: Mueller has subpoenaed Steve Bannon to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing Russia investigation. First person in Trump's inner circle known to have received a grand jury subpoena. https://t.co/dbKWuDjdMp— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) January 16, 2018
Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 11:19 AM
WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week in its probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple reports.
An unidentified source told Reuters on Thursday that the interview will take place Tuesday behind closed doors. It will focus on Bannon’s time as Trump’s campaign chief and not on his time in the White House, according to Reuters.
In preparation for the interview, Bannon hired Washington attorney Bill Burck to represent him, NBC News reported Friday. Burck was previously hired to represent former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Donald McGhan in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, according to Law360.
Burck is representing Bannon only before the committee and not in Mueller’s probe, NBC News reported.
Trump named Bannon, the former chairman of the conservative news website Breitbart News, as his campaign chief in August 2016. After his inauguration, Trump appointed Bannon to fill the newly created position of White House chief strategist.
He left the Trump administration in August 2017, almost exactly one year after joining Trump’s presidential campaign.
Days before his exit, Bannon faced scrutiny for an interview he did with the liberal magazine The American Prospect, contradicting the president's warnings to North Korea of "fire and fury" in response to threats. Tension between the pair intensified last week after Bannon was quoted in journalist Michael Wolff’s controversial tell-all book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Bannon told Wolff he thought a meeting set up by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others in June 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Trump slammed Bannon in a statement after the comments were made public, saying, “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
Bannon later apologized for the comments.
Bannon announced Tuesday that he would be leaving Breitbart News for the second time in two years.
"You have not heard the last from me," he wrote in a Twitter post announcing his departure.
I am proud of what we have achieved with Breitbart News. As I now step down I leave at a world-class news platform that has come a long way but has really just begun it’s mission. And you have not heard the last from me, new announcements coming up soon!#MAGA— Steven Bannon (@SteveKBannon) January 9, 2018