Yates: I warned White House that Flynn could be blackmailed

When White House counsel Don McGahn asked if Flynn should be fired, Yates repeated that "we were giving them the information so they could take action".

Yates said that the Office of Legal Counsel looks only at the face of an executive order to determine "whether there is some set of circumstances under which at least some part of the executive order may be lawful". The New York Times, USA Today and Politico are among the additional publications covering Yates' testimony.

Flynn was sacked following news reports that he had discussed sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the USA during the transition, even though Pence said publicly that the topic had not come up. He had served as national security adviser for 24 days, Flynn is under investigation by the Defense Department's inspector general in connection with a payment he received from a Russian-funded television network and for lobbying on behalf of a Turkish businessman with ties to the country.

Trump, who fired Yates soon after taking office, fired off a series of pre-emptive strikes ahead of her appearance on Capitol Hill, accusing Obama of enabling Flynn and assailing Yates for allegedly leaking classified information. She also says it wouldn't hurt for the U.S.to prosecute some individuals for their roles in the interference in last year's election.

Obama aides also described Flynn as notably dismissive of the threat Russian Federation posed to the United States when discussing policy in transition meetings with outgoing national security adviser Susan Rice and other top officials.


Why did Trump take so long to fire Flynn?

The AP interviewed a host of former US officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive national security information.

Mr Flynn was dismissed as defence intelligence chief by the Obama administration before he became became a Trump supporter.

He says that as a outcome, he was not aware of the counterintelligence investigation that FBI Director James Comey acknowledged during his March 20 testimony before the House intelligence committee.

"We weren't the only ones that knew all of this; the Russians also knew about what general Flynn had done", Yates told the Senate subcommittee.

The revelation casts new light on the White House assertion Monday that the Obama administration should have denied Flynn a security clearance if officials were concerned about him.


Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chair of the subcommittee, asked Yates what she told the White House about Flynn when she warned them in January about his contact with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, during the election.

The simmering controversy over Russia's alleged meddling in last year's U.S. election returns to the spotlight Monday, with a former top Justice Department official set to testify on links between President Donald Trump's advisers and Moscow. Trump asked Flynn to resign his position February 13. But that doesn't seem to have spurred the White House to act.

Earlier Monday, former officials said Obama had raised general concerns about Flynn with Trump and told the incoming president there were better people for the national security post. Flynn had been fired by the Obama administration as the head of the military's intelligence branch.

An Obama official who warned the White House about contacts between President Donald Trump's first national security adviser and Russian Federation is set to speak publicly about her worries.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, filed Monday by the conservative group Judicial Watch, is seeking emails from Yates' government account between January 21 and January 31 of this year. Yates declined to characterize Flynn's conduct. His resignation followed reports that Flynn discussed Russian Federation sanctions with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, contrary to White House statements. She said McGahn asked her why the Justice Department cared if one government official lied to another. They both replied that neither of them had leaked the information to the press, but Yates noted that the intelligence community sometimes releases its reports - which go to several officials across the United States government - with the name of the USA person caught up in incidental surveillance of a non-US person already unmasked.


After The Washington Post reported on the letters, Spicer said it was "100 percent false" that the administration had sought to block Yates' testimony, and said he welcomed it.


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