PRIVILEGED

Report: White House Tried to Block Yates Testimony

The Trump administration reportedly tried to block Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who was fired early on in the Trump administration, from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, was fired after she indicated she wouldn’t enforce the Trump administration’s first travel ban. According to The Washington Post, the White House invoked “presidential communication privilege” in order to prevent her testimony. A hearing during which Yates was scheduled to testify was canceled last week by the committee’s embattled chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Yates warned the White House that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail due to his conflicting accounts of his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. The White House disputed the Post story, calling it “entirely false” and denying that it tried to block Yates from testifying. Through a spokesman, Nunes said the committee did not communicate with the White House over Yates’ testimony. “The committee asked her to testify on our own accord and we still intend to have her speak to us,” communications director Jack Langer said. Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking member, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it is unclear “whether the White House’s desire to avoid a public claim of executive privilege to keep [Yates] from providing the full truth on what happened contributed to the decision to cancel today’s hearing.” He encouraged the administration to allow Yates to appear before the committee.