Following Michael Flynn's resignation from the position of National Security Advisor on Monday night, a report from the Associated Press revealed that the White House was warned about Flynn's contacts with Russia weeks ago by the Justice Department. One of the key people who expressed concern about Flynn's exchanges with the Russian ambassador was the former acting attorney general Sally Yates, who was fired by Donald Trump after refusing to defend his executive order targeting seven Muslim-majority countries. Interesting.
According to a report from The Washington Post, back in late January the Justice Department warned the White House about Flynn and his possible vulnerability to Russian blackmail. The warning message itself was delivered by Yates to the White House counsel, and her concerns about Flynn discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador were shared by the outgoing director of national intelligence James Clapper, as well as the former director of the CIA John Brennan.
The fact that the former attorney general was not only involved, but Yates' warning may have planted the first seeds of foresight about Flynn, feels like yet another example of women being on the front lines demanding accountability from this administration.
After all, over 2.6 million people attended one of the Women's Marches held the day after Trump's inauguration, which, according to crowd scientists, means there were three times as many people marching against Trump as there were at his actual inauguration, as reported by The New York Times. All of this was organized by women, and as demonstrated by Yates' warnings about Flynn as well as her refusal to defend the travel ban, women will continue to tow the line of accountability.
During the time when Yates reportedly warned Trump about Flynn's involvement with Russia, Yates reportedly shared concerns alongside other intelligence officials, including Clapper and Brennan, that Flynn was potentially in violation of the U.S. statute known as the Logan Act.
For those unfamiliar with the Logan Act, it is a statute that was implemented in 1799 to penalize U.S. citizens who communicate with hostile foreign governments against the interest of the U.S. government. No one has ever been prosecuted under it, so there's no case law. Thus, despite their concerns, Yates and other officials were realistic about how unlikely it would be for the Logan Act to be wagered against Flynn.
Nevertheless, it's worth noting that Yates was fired for insubordination, while Flynn was allowed to stay on for weeks after potentially actually violating the law and, by his own admission, "misleading" the vice president and other administration officials.
The systematic silencing of Yates is sadly, not a singular case. Unsurprisingly, one of the most recent beneficiaries of silencing by the Trump administration was also a woman. Last week the Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Republican senators when she tried to read a letter by Coretta Scott King opposing Jeff Sessions.
Women like Yates, Warren, and the millions who marched against Trump have been at the forefront of resistance since Trump's inauguration. Despite attempts at systematic silencing, women will continue to demand integrity from our government.