The House Intelligence Committee has invited some former President Barack Obama’s administration officials to testify in a closed hearing over the panel’s investigation into possible Russian interference in our presidential election.

The committee included former acting Attorney General Sally Yates who President Donald Trump fired when she instructed Department of Justice “lawyers not to make legal arguments defending” Trump’s executive order on immigration back in January.

Why Yates?

So why would the committee ask Yates about this investigation? The Hill explains:

Reports suggest that Yates, who was fired by Trump for refusing to defend in court his original travel ban, was expected to provide testimony that would conflict with comments from White House staff.

Yates first alerted the White House that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled Vice President Pence about the content of his calls to the Russian ambassador. The public revelation of those calls led to his resignation in February.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that the White House attempted to stop Yates from testifying. The newspaper received letters that showed that the DOJ told Yates that “it considers her possible testimony — including on the ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn for his contacts with the Russian ambassador — to be off-limits in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by attorney-client privilege or the presidential communication privilege.”

The DOJ told Yates’s lawyer David O’Neil that her “official communications on issues of interest to the House panel” can only be disclosed with “written consent.”

Then the DOJ communicated to O’Neil “that Yates’s communications with the White House are probably covered by ‘presidential communications privilege.'” The White House has denied taking any action to prevent Yates from testifying.

No publications have provided a hint as to what or whom she may contradict.

Other Witnesses

The committee released this statement:

Yesterday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent two letters related to its investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign. The first letter was sent to FBI Director James Comey and National Security Advisor Admiral Mike Rogers, inviting them to appear at a closed hearing on May 2, 2017.

The second letter was sent to former CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates inviting them to appear at an open hearing to be scheduled after May 2nd.

Yates and the other two had a hearing in March, but Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) canceled it to receive more information from the NSA and FBI. The committee’s top Democrat Adam Schiff believed Nunes did that because of the White House. From Reuters:

“I think that there must have been a very strong pushback from the White House about the nature of Monday’s hearing. It’s hard for me to come to any other conclusion about why an agreed upon hearing would be suddenly canceled,” Schiff told a separate news conference.

After the back and forth with Schiff, Nunes recused himself from the investigation.

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