Sally Yates warned that President Donald Trump had already lowered the standard of conduct that should be expected from — or tolerated by — the chief executive.
The former acting attorney general, who was ostensibly fired by the president for refusing to defend his controversial travel ban, said Trump had already violated traditional norms — regardless of whether he’d broken any laws, reported The Hill.
“Surely [criminality is] not our bar,” Yates said during a panel discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “That’s not the standard of conduct that we’re looking for from our president or our administration. I mean, It shouldn’t just be whether you’ve committed a felony or not. It should also be whether or not you’re observing the kinds of norms that we’ve been talking about here today.”
Yates was fired just four days after warning the White House counsel that then-national security adviser Mike Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail, and she expressed confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s leading the Justice Department investigation into Trump’s possible campaign ties to the Kremlin.
“I know Bob Mueller, and folks ought to have tremendous confidence in him,” Yates said. “I mean, he is just the consummate professional. He’s going to call it like he sees it. He’s going to do this the right way.”
She said the evidence uncovered so far should concern Americans, even if there’s no smoking gun showing collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“There are facts here that should be alarming to us as a country that falls short of facts that would establish a basis for impeachment or for prosecution,” Yates said.