* WHAT THE YATES HEARING REVEALED, IN TWO SENTENCES: Matthew Rosenberg aptly boils down the meaning of Monday’s hearing, where Sally Yates confirmed she warned the White House that Michael Flynn had lied about conversations with the Russian ambassador:
Perhaps the biggest takeaway on Monday was that a lot of people had serious concerns about Mr. Flynn serving as national security adviser. But none of them was named Donald J. Trump.
Barack Obama, Chris Christie, and Yates — the former acting attorney general — all warned Trump about Flynn. The question is why Trump didn’t fire him until after Yates’s warning was revealed publicly.
behind the scenes
Nov. 18, 2016
President-elect Donald J.
Trump appoints Michael T. Flynn
as national security adviser.
Mr. Flynn sends a text extending
holiday greetings to Sergey I. Kislyak,
the Russian ambassador to the
United States. Mr. Kislyak replies.
President Barack Obama announces
sanctions against Russia for
trying to influence the November
election through cyberattacks.
Around the same time
Mr. Flynn discusses sanctions with
Mr. Kislyak in a phone call, according
to officials who have seen a transcript
of the wiretapped conversation.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia says
he will not retaliate against the sanctions.
Mr. Trump praises Mr. Putin’s response on
Twitter: “I always knew he was very smart!”
News organizations first report on the
call between Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kislyak.
In a conference call with reporters, Mr.
Spicer confirms the phone conversation
between Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kislyak, saying
it had “centered around the logistics” and
had “never touched on the sanctions.”
Mr. Flynn informs Vice President
Mike Pence that he did not discuss
U.S. sanctions against Russia
with Mr. Kislyak in the phone call.
In several televised interviews, Mr.
Pence states that Mr. Flynn and Mr.
Kislyak did not discuss sanctions.
In an interview on NBC, Mr. Trump’s
chief of staff, Reince Priebus, also states
that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kislyak did not
discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia.
Mr. Flynn denies talking about the
sanctions with Mr. Kislyak to Mr. Spicer.
Asked about Mr. Flynn’s phone
call at a press briefing, Mr. Spicer
again states that U.S. sanctions
against Russia were not discussed.
Between Jan. 23 and Jan. 26
F.B.I. agents interview Mr. Flynn
regarding his conversation with Mr. Kislyak.
The Justice Department notifies the
White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn
II, that Mr. Flynn had not been truthful
about his interactions with Mr. Kislyak
and that he could be at risk for being
blackmailed by Russian intelligence.
Mr. McGahn then briefs Mr. Trump.
In the following days
Mr. McGahn reviews the events
surrounding the phone call and conducts
several interviews with Mr. Flynn. Mr.
McGahn later determines that there
are no legal issues related to the call.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin
conduct an hourlong telephone
call, attended by Mr. Flynn.
Mr. Flynn denies discussing
sanctions with Mr. Kislyak in an
interview with The Washington Post.
The Washington Post and The New
York Times report that Mr. Flynn
discussed American sanctions against
Russia with Mr. Kislyak, contradicting
previous statements about the phone call.
Mr. Flynn tells The Washington Post
that “while he had no recollection of
discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be
certain that the topic never came up.”
Aboard Air Force One, Mr. Trump says
he hasn’t seen new reports about Mr.
Flynn’s conversations with Mr. Kislyak.
Feb. 13, during the day
Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the
president, says that Mr. Flynn misled
Mr. Pence about the phone call, but that
Mr. Flynn still “enjoys the full confidence
of the president.” Mr. Spicer says the
president is “evaluating the situation.”
Feb. 13, evening
Mr. Flynn resigns as
national security adviser.