Yates says she warned White House that Flynn could be 'blackmailed'

Angie Massey
May 9, 2017

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House that President Donald Trump's since ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was "essentially" compromised by Russian Federation, she said Monday.

Trump himself weighed in ahead of the hearing, suggesting on Twitter that the Obama administration was to blame since it granted Flynn a high-level security clearance.

Yates said she reiterated the point she had made to McGahn on the previous day: that the White House National Security Adviser and top White House officials were publicly making statements about contacts with the Russians that the Russians knew to be incorrect - and could thus use as blackmail material.

White House officials had insisted that Flynn had not discussed US -imposed sanctions with Kislyak during the presidential transition period, but asked Flynn to resign after news reports indicated he had lied about the nature of the calls.

Ms Yates said she told Mr McGahn that the Russians knew about what Mr Flynn had done and the Russians knew that Mr Flynn had misled the vice president and others about what he had done.

Flynn lasted just 24 days as national security adviser before being fired by Trump for not telling the truth about contacts he had had with Russia's ambassador to Washington.

Yates, who was acting attorney general until she was sacked in January, told senators that, after Trump's inauguration that month, she warned White House officials of Flynn's contacts with Russian officials.

Mr Flynn has emerged as a central figure in probes into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election and possible collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and Moscow.

"Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council".

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the subcommittee's Republican chairman, said in opening the hearing on Monday that the issue of interference in the election should not be partisan.

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Yates said McGahn asked her, "Why does it matter to the DOJ if one White House official lies to another official?"

A fired USA federal employee says she tried sounding the alarm with the White House that Donald Trump's top national security official was vulnerable to being blackmailed by the Russian government.

The testimony by Yates, who was sacked on January 30 after defying Trump over his contested travel ban, confirmed reports she had informed the White House early on of the Justice Department's concerns about Flynn. She had instructed government lawyers not to defend the president's first executive order on immigration, which temporarily barred entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world. He also advocated an overhaul of the DIA that ignited resistance from veteran intelligence officials, the officials said.

It nevertheless took 18 days before the president, pressed by Pence and others, dismissed the retired army lieutenant general, who had advised him on security issues throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

The president accused former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice in early April of committing a crime after government officials revealed she unmasked the names of Trump transition team officials who were swept up in intelligence gathering against foreign targets.

Now details are surfacing about the events that eventually led the president to dismiss Flynn - the Russia-friendly, anti-Islamist, ex-general who served briefly as Trump's national security adviser.

Obama fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.

Obama's concerns were related to the course of the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 elections.

"The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?" 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.

Other reports by GizPress

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