The Trump administration is denying it tried to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying before Congress about Russia, the Washington Post reports.
The report will likely anger Democrats about what they view as Republican meddling in the investigation into alleged links between President Trump's campaign and Russian officials. She and others were scheduled to testify this week before the House Intelligence Committee, but that hearing was canceled by chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.):
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.
Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released a statement calling the allegation "entirely false."
It read: "The White House has taken no action to prevent Sally Yates from testifying and the Department of Justice specifically told her that it would not stop her and to suggest otherwise is completely irresponsible."
White House says the WaPo story on Yates testimony is "entirely false." pic.twitter.com/CvnSSBpK8T
— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) March 28, 2017
Trump fired her in January after she ordered Justice Department attorneys not to defend his temporary travel ban order on seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations.