Yates: I warned White House that Flynn could be blackmailed

Yates: I warned White House that Flynn could be blackmailed

Yates: I warned White House that Flynn could be blackmailed

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates told a Senate subcommittee Monday that she had warned the White House counsel in January that Michael Flynn, who was Trump's national security adviser, could be blackmailed by Russian Federation.

Why did Trump go ahead and hire Flynn as National Security Adviser anyway, even after Obama directly warned him that Flynn may be under Russian influence?

He was sacked in February for concealing the nature of these contacts.

Mr Flynn, a retired army lieutenant-general, misled the Trump administration about discussing USA sanctions against Russian Federation with the country's envoy, Sergei Kislyak, before the inauguration.

Flynn was sacked 18 days after Yates went to the White House and only after news stories revealed the existence of a transcript of Flynn's contacts with Kislyak, which were recorded as part of routine US intelligence monitoring of foreign officials' communications.

But Mr Spicer said that should not come as a surprise "given that General Flynn had worked for President Obama [and] was an outspoken critic of President Obama's shortcomings specifically as it related to his lack of strategy confronting Isis and other threats around that were facing America".

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"Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel", he tweeted, referring to Yates' conversation with White House counsel Donald McGahn.

Obama had not planned on saying anything about Flynn, the former official said, but told Trump he should "think twice" about hiring the retired Army three-star general after they got into a conversation about personnel.

"We knew that was not a good situation, which is why we wanted to let the White House know about it".

"General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration - but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that", he tweeted Monday morning.

Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration's Justice Department, was acting attorney general for 10 days after Trump took office.

Flynn was sacked from the DIA in 2014 for what officials familiar with the issue said was a disruptive management style that included instructing analysts to find intelligence substantiating improbable theories that some subordinates came to call "Flynn facts".

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Yates testified that she met with McGahn after she realized that Vice President Mike Pence had made public statements repeating statements that Flynn had said to him - statement that were lies.

Yates, a longtime federal prosecutor and Obama administration holdover, was sacked January 31 by Trump after refusing to defend the administration's travel ban.

Yates continued to say that the Russian government "likely had proof of this information and that created a compromise situation - a situation where the national security adviser could be blackmailed by the Russians".

Former director of national intelligence James Clapper is also scheduled to testify. The revelation came after interviews with a host of former US officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive national security information. Mr. Billingslea knew Flynn would be speaking to Kislyak, according to two former Obama administration officials, and seemed concerned Flynn did not fully understand he was dealing with a man rumored to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies. Last month, Trump announced his intention to nominate Billingslea to serve as assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the Treasury Department.

Yates' warning about Flynn in January capped weeks of building concern among top Obama officials, former officials told the AP.

Trump fired Yates after she refused to order federal enforcement of Trump's travel ban against seven predominately Muslim countries. She had been scheduled to appear in March before the House intelligence committee, but that hearing was canceled. All the committees are led by Republicans.

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