Friday, January 27: McGahn invites Yates back to the White House for a second meeting, where they once again discussed the Justice Department’s concerns. Yates later tells Congress that McGahn asked why the Justice Department cares when one White House official lies to another.
Later that night, Trump issues the first version of his travel ban, which freezes refugee admission into the United States and suspends visas held by nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries. The executive order takes immediate effect, causing chaos at major U.S. airports as international travelers are stranded mid-flight.
Monday, January 30: After multiple federal judges block the travel ban’s implementation over the weekend, Yates issues a memo to Justice Department staff notifying them the department will no longer defend it in court. “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” she writes.
Hours later, the White House announces that Trump has fired Yates. Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, becomes the top-ranking official at the Justice Department and says he will continue to defend the ban. In an unusually charged statement, the White House says that Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States” and denounces her as “an Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
Tuesday, February 7: Flynn tells The Washington Post that he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak.
Wednesday, February 8: The Senate confirms Sessions to be the attorney general in a 52-47 vote. One day after Flynn’s firm denial to the Post, a spokesman walks it back and tells the newspaper that Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Thursday, February 9: Pence learns about the Justice Department’s concerns about Flynn for the first time, according to his press secretary, Mike Lotter.
Friday, February 10: En route to Mar-a-Lago, Trump tells journalists aboard Air Force One that he will “look into” news reports that Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak. “I don’t know about that, I haven’t seen it,” he tells reporters. Flynn accompanies Trump on the trip and takes part in meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Monday, February 13: The Washington Post first reports that Yates had warned McGahn in January about Flynn.
Later that night, Trump announces Flynn’s departure. In his resignation letter, Flynn says that he “inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”
Tuesday, February 14: At the president’s invitation, FBI Director James Comey dines with Trump at the White House. During the dinner, Comey later told Congress, Trump urges him to drop the case against Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Comey quotes Trump as saying. Three months later, on May 9, Trump fires Comey.