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Sally Yates’ warnings about Mike Flynn just took on a whole new significance

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The day before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey to allegedly relieve pressure on himself over the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified to Congress about the activities of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

As Yates explained, she was concerned that Russia knowing about Flynn’s lies allowed him to be easily blackmailed.

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“We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this… the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done,” she said. “And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.”

As national security analyst Marcy Wheeler explains in a new post, at the time Yates knew that Flynn had lied about Russian sanctions. But what Yates did not know was that Trump himself may have ordered Flynn to get rid of the sanctions, as many believe happened based on conversations between Flynn, Trump and Flynn’s aide KT McFarland, who was stationed at Mar-a-Lago with the president.

“Neither Yates nor the FBI would have known that the Russians were offering a Trump Tower deal and dirt on Hillary Clinton to induce Don Jr to commit to revisit sanctions,” Wheeler writes.

Yates believed Flynn was compromised and sounded a warning bell, Wheeler writes, but based on what we now already know, Trump may have been “more susceptible to blackmail than Flynn, because Flynn had just been doing what he was told, didn’t have a prior bribe to hide, and might expect a pardon if he successfully protected the President.”

Based on what we’ve learned since, it appears Yates’ testimony foreshadowed Trump’s increasingly unhinged actions.

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“Trump would be stuck committing one after another act of obstruction in an attempt to prevent the FBI from discovering the full truth,” she writes. “Each of those acts would put him deeper in the hole, because each time he engaged in obstruction, the Russians would measure his increasing vulnerability.”


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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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Conservative columnist nails the infectious diseases the Trump White House is suffering from

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On Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot revealed the "diseases" at the heart of President Donald Trump's administration that are weakening their capacity to respond to the very real disease threat from coronavirus.

Simply put: Fevered nationalism, hatred of the civil service, and a pathological desire to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama.

"Covid-19 has already infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths, and experts doubt it will slow in the spring," wrote Boot. "That a virus that started in China could have a bad impact on the United States should be no surprise: Diseases don’t respect borders any more than terrorists or trade flows do. Transnational threats require transnational solutions. To cite but one example, many of the medicines and medical supplies that Americans need, including N95 face masks, come from China."

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Trump’s health secretary learned Pence was taking over coronavirus outbreak moments before press conference

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President Donald Trump apparently left Secretary Alex Azar out of the loop on Vice President Mike Pence taking over the coronavirus response.

According to the Washington Post, Azar was "blindsided" by the decision, according to five people familiar with the incident. Azar learned about it moments before the press conference this afternoon.

Pence said that he would run a task force at the Department of Health and Human Services, which Azar is in charge of.

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