DOJ keeps lid on Yates emails; Grassley hits attempt to ‘sabotage incoming administration’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 4, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the Department of Justice continues to stonewall the committee’s call for the release of documents from Sally Yates relating to her her role in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and her refusal to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. / Getty Images

Yates, an Obama holdover who for the first 10 days of the Trump administration was acting Attorney General, “may have substantially harmed the Justice Department’s initial ability to defend,” Trump’s travel ban executive order, Grassley said in his request to the DOJ for the Yates documents.

“It is important to determine the extent to which Ms. Yates’ actions may have sabotaged the government’s defense in that litigation,” Grassley said.

“Even commentators who took issue with the executive order believed her directive to stop the entire Justice Department from defending the order in the middle of frenetic ongoing litigation was improper,” Grassley added.

Investigative journalist Sara Carter tweeted on Sept. 3: “I put in a FOIA request on these over a year ago and of course the DOJ won’t budge.”

The Judiciary Committee’s request for documents also included Yates’ role in the Flynn case.

When the FBI initially interviewed Flynn, reports cited an official “familiar with [Yates’] thinking” who said she was concerned that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act by talking to Russia’s then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition.

“Of course, many scholars view the Logan Act as a dead letter, and it is a fact that no one has ever been successfully prosecuted under the Logan Act at any time in its 200-year history,” Byron York wrote for the Washington Examiner. “For Yates to use that particular law as a pretense for the FBI to interview Flynn was certainly a questionable decision – and a decision that Congress might reasonably want to review.”

Grassley noted that “Having political appointees from a prior administration stay on during the early days of a new administration encourages stable transitions between administrations while new appointees are in the confirmation process.

“When a holdover appointee uses that position to sabotage the incoming administration over policy differences, future administrations will be more likely to fire previous political appointees on day one, potentially leading to more dangerously rocky transitions. These stunts have consequences.”

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