What To Know About Sally Yates
This is Yates’ first opportunity to publicly discuss her role in the ouster of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn since President Trump fired her in January after she refused to defend his travel ban . The Washington Post reported in February that Yates had alerted the White House that Flynn had misled administration officials about his December 2016 phone call with the Russian Ambassador and could be susceptible to blackmail. Flynn resigned that month, after the Post also revealed that, contrary to his initial report, he had discussed Obama administration sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
President Trump tweeted Monday that Yates should testify how classified information, presumably about Flynn, ended up in newspaper reports.
Here’s what you need to know about Yates ahead of her appearance.
She’s a longtime government employee
Yates spent 27 years with the Department of Justice before President Trump removed her this past January. In 1989, she joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia after working in commercial litigation in the private sector, and worked there as a prosecutor. President Barack Obama appointed to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in 2010. Obama subsequently selected her to serve as Deputy Attorney General in 2014.
“When I joined the U.S Attorney’s Office, I certainly didn’t expect that I would still be with the Department of Justice 25 years later,” Yates said in her opening statement during her confirmation hearing for Deputy Attorney General in 2015. “But once I experienced the privilege of representing the people of the United States – of doing what I believed was right, and fair and just in every case – anything else would have felt like just a job.”
She led the prosecution of Atlanta Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph
Yates was the lead prosecutor for the case of Eric Rudolph, who was charged with perpetrating the bombing at Atlanta’s Centennial Park during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, killing two people.
“She did a phenomenal job putting that difficult, complicated case together,” former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, who worked on the case with Yates, told the Washington Post.
She has southern roots
A Georgia native, Yates attended University of Georgia for both her undergraduate and law school educations. She graduated the latter cum laude.
She’s broken gender barriers, which is something of a family tradition
When then-President Obama nominated Yates to serve as the U.S. Attorney in Georgia, she was the first woman ever nominated to that position. She seemed to be following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who was one of the first women to gain admission to the Georgia bar, but still worked as a legal secretary instead of a lawyer. “I think she would have delighted in the fact that I became the first woman to be the U.S. attorney for the Northern District. I couldn’t have done it on my own,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2013. “I wouldn’t have been first without her and a whole lot of other people, including my dad and other members of my family.”
Some Georgia Democrats want her to run for governor
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that several Democratic strategists in Georgia want Yates to run for Governor in 2018, even though she has not signified any interest. “I think there’s a great deal of affection for her in America right now, and I think she has all of the credentials and qualifications to be an outstanding leader,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told the Journal-Constitution. “I haven’t spoken to her about it at all, but I am very hopeful that she will give the race very strong consideration.”