If they didn’t trust her enough to believe her when she told them Flynn was at risk of being blackmailed by the Russians, why the hell did they allow her to serve as acting Attorney General in the first place? Yates was in that role for all of 10 days while Jeff Sessions awaited Senate confirmation; she briefed the White House counsel twice about Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador, which she viewed as potentially compromising, and then refused to enforce Trump’s travel ban, which led to her firing. If it’s true, as Spicer insisted elsewhere, that Yates was “widely rumored” to have been a potential Hillary Clinton appointee if the election had gone the other way, and if the Trump White House concluded that that called her credibility into question, then they should have asked for her resignation on Inauguration Day. Imagine if she’d had to brief Trump about the possibility of a terrorist attack.
And why did they need to trust Yates on this anyway? Her case to them was straightforward: Flynn had been caught on tape telling the Russian ambassador something about sanctions that didn’t match up with what Mike Pence had told the public when he was asked about it on TV. Trump’s natsec deputies could have requested the transcript of Flynn’s phone call immediately and fact-checked that themselves. If it was true that Flynn had misled Pence and therefore was subject to Russian blackmail potentially, they could have fired him straightaway instead of waiting 20 days or whatever. No need to take the word of a “political opponent of the president” for it. If anything, the fact that Yates flagged this for them before Flynn had served for very long may have spared the administration from a much bigger scandal. They’re well within their rights to disdain her for her insubordination on the travel ban (and her shifting justifications for it), which came after she had briefed them on Flynn, but I don’t understand the retrospective skepticism of her warning on Russian blackmail when they ended up ultimately agreeing with her. Flynn had to go.