Tl;dr: Sally Yates was the acting attorney general. She was fired by Trump after refusing to defend Trump’s travel ban. She also warned the White House that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had misled them on his connections to Russia. Most recently, she testified before Congress about Russia’s alleged involvement in the U.S. election.
You might recognize Sally Yates’ name from headlines earlier this year in January. “Trump fires acting Attorney General Sally Yates” was one of them. Yates was the attorney general—the head of the Justice Department—and held the office until Trump’s pick, Jeff Sessions, was approved by the Senate. The Justice Department is tasked with enforcing laws and represents the United States in court cases. She was fired, or asked to step down after she told all Justice Department lawyers to not defend Trump’s travel ban. Yates said the executive order went against her department’s role to “always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Yates is in the news again this week. She was called to testify on the “bipartisan, ongoing investigation into the Russian…campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election” in front of the House Intelligence Committee. She was mainly asked about the role former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn played in Russia’s alleged involvement with the U.S. election. New information we learned was how vehemently Yates warned the White House that Michael Flynn had misled officials on his communications with Russia. Yates called and brought her top aides with her to the White House to discuss the dangers of Flynn being blackmailed by Russian officials. Before, all we knew was that Yates had warned the White House in January that Flynn lied about his communications with Russia. Flynn resigned days after this news broke.