Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) abruptly canceled this week’s House Intelligence Committee hearings on the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia hours after the former acting attorney general notified the White House she would discuss her concerns about Michael Flynn.
Sally Yates had been called to testify before the committee chaired by Nunes, and she agreed not to discuss classified information or other details that could compromise an ongoing investigation, reported the Washington Post.
But the White House notified her attorney Thursday that Yates could not discuss her conversations with Trump administration officials about her concerns over Flynn, then the national security adviser, and his communications with the Russian ambassador.
The following day, Friday, another Justice Department official, Scott Schools, notified Yates and her attorney that the conversations about Flynn were privileged and therefore confidential.
“The president owns those privileges,” Schools wrote. “Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to [the House intelligence committee], she needs to consult with the White House. She need not obtain separate consent from the department.”
Yates’ lawyer responded by arguing that claim of privilege had been “waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications.”
The attorney told the White House counsel that Yates planned to testify about those conversations.
Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, then canceled the hearings at which Yates would have testified.