Obama Warned Trump About Flynn

Sally Yates

Sally Yates

On Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates told Congress that, just days into the Trump presidency, she warned the White House that Flynn had lied to hide private meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper also is testifying.

President Obama's former director of national intelligence and his former acting CIA director have both said they have seen no evidence of collusion.

Yates briefly led the US Justice Department until Trump fired her on January 30 for declining to defend his travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. As she explained to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday, Flynn's falsehoods "created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

Monday's testimony came as part of a Senate investigation into Russian meddling in last year's US presidential election, which Trump won over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The second warning came in January, from the acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Flynn had denied discussing with Kislyak the subject of United States sanctions on Russian Federation for the November election interference, but high-ranking Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ officials had recorded conversations between Kislyak and Flynn. And the White House also has blamed President Obama, whom they say originally vetted Flynn, and never mind that Obama also fired Flynn, and then explicitly and personally warned Trump about Flynn.

"We began our meeting telling him that there had been press accounts of statements from the vice president and others that related conduct Mr. Flynn had been involved in that we knew not to be the truth", Yates said.

Of how she went to the White House early this year to convey that President Trump's top national security adviser was lying about his Russian contacts, that the Russians knew it, that the adviser, General Michael Flynn, was open to blackmail.

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Trump wants people to believe that what Yates said on Monday was old news.

In response to questions, she denied leaking any classified information about the case to the news media. Flynn was sacked as head of military intelligence by the Obama administration in 2014 amid questions about his management style and reports of insubordination.

The dual testimony by Yates and Clapper returned the spotlight to the simmering controversy over Russia's meddling in last year's USA election.

President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as national security adviser in the days after the 2016 election.

She said she was briefing the Trump White House so that officials could take "the action that they deemed appropriate" and that she believed the Russians already had the same information.

Investigations by several congressional committees have been bogged down for weeks amid accusations by Democrats that Republicans have stalled progress to protect the White House.

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