Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn before inauguration

Yates told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee Monday that she warned White House officials that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could be blackmailed.

But Yates told the subcommittee that she called White House counsel Don McGahn on January 30 - four days after first warning him and hours before Trump fired her for refusing to enforce his first executive order on immigration - to tell him he could come to the Justice Department to review the details of Flynn's communications with Kislyak.

Mr Obama also warned Mr Trump against hiring Mr Flynn to be part of his national security team when he met his successor in the Oval Office two days after the November election, two former Obama administration officials said on Monday.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives for a White House senior staff swearing in ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Washington. With the growing connections to Russian Federation among Trump administration officials, we can only wonder who will be next. "To state the obvious, you don't want the national security adviser compromised by the Russians". Flynn's Russian Federation ties are also being scrutinized by the FBI as it conducts a similar investigation.

In March, Kelner said in a statement that Flynn had a "story to tell", but said no reasonable person would agree to be questioned by the committee without "assurances against unfair prosecution".

The presence of her co-witness, Washington veteran and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, also had the effect of bolstering Yates' comments.

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- CNN (@CNN) May 9, 2017REPORTER: First you said that Sally Yates was a "strong supporter of Hillary Clinton", what is that based on?

After the hearing Monday, Trump claimed in a tweet that Yates said "nothing but old news".

Asked how he knew that, Spicer said "it was widely rumored" that Yates would "play a role in the Justice Department" if Clinton had won. Yates detailed her own warnings to the Trump White House about Flynn, including meetings with the White House counsel in which she said that discrepancies over Flynn's contacts with the Russian envoy left him vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

Also scheduled to testify is James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence who attracted attention for a March television interview in which he said that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation at the time he left government in January.

What's known publicly about those ties is damning enough that the Trump response has been less a head-on refutation than complaints about the way the information came out - through "unmasking", leaking or imagined wiretapping of the Trump campaign.

Still, in the short term, the testimony of Yates likely means another lost day ahead for the White House as it uses up time and political energy brushing off a new round of questions and allegations about ties to Russian Federation. Spicer later denied that Yates showed serious worry about Flynn's call, and said she simply gave "a heads up" about it.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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