White House cites rumor, innuendo in criticizing Sally Yates

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies about potential Russian interference in the presidential election before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies about potential Russian interference in the presidential election before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill

Trump was notified immediately of Yates' concerns about Flynn. He became a fierce critic of Obama's policies and a fervent Trump supporter.

During the White House press briefing this afternoon, press secretary Sean Spicer addressed the 18-day gap between Yates' first meeting with White House counsel and the firing of Flynn.

Flynn's forced February resignation followed media reports that he had discussed USA -imposed sanctions on Russian Federation with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period, which was contrary to the public representations of the Trump White House. At one point, Yates explicitly used the term "blackmail" with respect to the kind of danger Flynn was in-and, for that matter, that the White House was in. I think if you flip the scenario and say what if we had just dismissed somebody because a political opponent of the president had made an utterance, you would argue it was pretty irrational to act in that manner.

The former Obama administration officials requested anonymity in order to disclose the private conversation between the current and former president.

Spicer referred to Flynn as a "good man" who President Trump didn't want to smear.

With the issue of the President's ties to Moscow back in the spotlight, Mr Trump took to Twitter to dismiss as "old news" the Senate testimony on Monday by former acting attorney-general Sally Yates about his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. "And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

Flynn previously said, through a lawyer, that he would testify in exchange for immunity.

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Spicer said he did not know why Yates was not told about the order and could not say whether it was on objective.

Flynn remained on the job, sitting in on highly classified sessions including a phone call between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of Flynn's calls with Kislyak came on December 29, the day Obama leveled sanctions on Russian Federation in retaliation for the election hacking.

She was understood to be referring to telephone calls between Flynn and Russian ambassador to Moscow Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office.

Other congressional committees and the Pentagon's inspector general are also separately examining whether Flynn was fully forthcoming about his foreign contacts and earnings from organizations linked to the governments of Russian Federation and Turkey.

Yates is expected to testify that she warned McGahn that Flynn's contacts " and the discrepancies between what the White House said happened on the calls and what actually occurred " had left him in a compromised position, according to a person familiar with her expected statements.

Among the payments they cited were more than $33,000 from RT, a Russian state-sponsored television network that USA intelligence officials have branded as a propaganda front for Russia's government.

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