White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday accused former acting Attorney General Sally Yates of being a “political opponent of the president” because she informed the White House that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied about his contacts with Russia. At Tuesday’s press briefing, Spicer was asked why President Donald Trump waited 18 days to fire Flynn after Yates told the White House that Flynn had been “compromised” and was at risk of being blackmailed by Russia. According to Spicer, Flynn was not removed from his duties immediately because of “an element of due process” after the White House “was informed of [Yates] giving us a heads up.”
“In case there’s anyone out there wondering why we didn’t just jump the gun and reacted immediately, well, all I can say is, you still have a lot to learn about politics and how it works,” Spicer added. “First of all, do you have any idea how many ‘tips’ such as those we get at the White House on a daily level? If we reacted lightning fast to each and every one of them, there’d be no one left to work at the White House. We take these things very seriously and every single piece of information we receive from all sources, credible or otherwise, undergoes thorough scrutiny before we make the decision of whether or not to act on them.”
He continued, “As for Yates and her heads up on Michael Flynn, I really don’t know what you expect me to say. The damage is done; she did what she did, the president waited a while before acting on the information he had, and then he made a decision to which he’s perfectly entitled to. The thing is, even though the government is meant to act as a uniformed body in which there are no differences, there are those who disagree with President Trump’s decision to remove Flynn from his duties. This is something that didn’t need to happen; we know what we’re doing and we know who’s doing what throughout the government. Believe me, there is no way we have spies or anything like that in this administration.”
“At the end of it all, I regret the fact that a truly good man and outstanding officer who served his country faithfully over 30 years had to lose his job,” Spicer added. “None of this would have happened if Yates hadn’t cooked it all up. She ended up making a mess that will now take months to untangle, and has cost a good man his job. I’m convinced Michael Flynn would have continued to serve his country outstandingly for another 30 years and we would have kept a perfectly good man in service. But, you can’t argue with the president; he chalked the man up to collateral damage, and that’s just the way it is. Consider this, though: if, God forbid, Yates had been allowed to become Attorney General, the entire U.S. justice system would have been handed over to Muslims. Because, that’s what sympathizers do,” he concluded.