This just in
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that President Trump's administration apparently attempted to greatly limit the scope of former Attorney General Sally Yates' testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Letters obtained by The Washington Post revealed Yates, who Trump fired in January after she would not back his immigration executive order, "was notified earlier this month by the Justice Department that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege." Yates served as deputy attorney general under former President Barack Obama and was the acting attorney general at the start of Trump's term, playing a role in the investigation of ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's communications about sanctions with a Russian ambassador.
In response, Yates' lawyer David O'Neill acknowledged the restrictions on Yates' testimony and assured the Justice Department that Yates would not disclose information protected by "client confidences" unless she were granted explicit permission by the department. However, O'Neill took issue with how "overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department's historical approach" its orders to Yates were. "In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department's notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official," O'Neill wrote.
A Justice Department official responded, saying that Yates would need to consult with the White House before disclosing information covered by the presidential communications privilege, but that she did not need "separate consent from the department."
On Friday, Yates' lawyer sent a letter notifying White House Counsel Don McGahn that "any claim of privilege 'has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications,'" The Washington Post reported. "Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates' intention to provide information," O'Neill wrote.
Update 11:16 a.m. ET: The White House has since released a statement denying The Washington Post's report.