White House was warned Trump aide Flynn a blackmail risk

Sally Yates

Yates, who was sacked by Trump on January 30 for refusing to enforce his initial travel ban, said she warned White House Counsel Donald McGahn in meetings on January 26 and January 27 that "the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed" because the Russians knew Flynn had misled Pence and other members of the Trump administration about the content of their communications.

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence under Obama, and Sally Yates, who was Deputy Attorney General, will testify to the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism, the first such public testimony by former officials from the Democratic administration in one of congressional probes on Russian Federation.

And because Russia knew he had misled officials, it meant Flynn "could be blackmailed by the Russians", Yates said.

Flynn served as President Donald Trump's national security adviser from the president's January inauguration until February 13, when he resigned amid controversy over his contact with Russian officials.

White House officials had insisted that Flynn had not discussed USA -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.

Yates says she didn't know whether the White House did end up looking at the underlying evidence - because January 30 was her last day at the Justice Department.

On Jan. 30, Yates was sacked by Trump after declining to defend his travel ban, USA Today reports.

"Why did a "concerned" Obama Administration reapprove Flynn's security clearance and why did the Obama Administration allow Flynn to go to Russian Federation for a paid speaking engagement", Spicer asked.




In an Oval Office meeting with Trump two days after the November election, Obama told his successor that there were more qualified candidates for the crucial White House post, according to one official.

The former acting attorney general, who was sacked by Trump after she declined to defend his executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries, disclosed that she had informed a White House official twice that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had serious concerns about Flynn.

When asked Monday about Spicer's comments, Yates said she could not speak to how he'd determined that there was nothing wrong with Flynn's actions.

But Yates and James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, denied that they authorized any leaks or that they did so themselves. "He didn't reach that conclusion from his conversation with us", Yates said.

Yates did not say what Flynn had discussed with ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a number of December 2016 phone calls, which were secretly monitored by United States intelligence.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a briefing Monday that Trump's tweet about Yates "speaks for itself".

Yates, Clapper and Brennan are now due to appear at a public hearing of the House committee that has not been scheduled. Upon leaving office, Flynn said in a statement that "because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President-Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador".

The Senate Judiciary Committee is one of several bodies in Congress probing Russian interference. "The Russians also knew", Yates said. Monday's testimony by Yates and Clapper went into the public record as answers to senators' questions about what administration officials knew about ties between Trump's team and Russian Federation, when they knew it and how they communicated it to the new administration. The Republican leader of the subcommittee asked Rice to be part of it, but the ranking Democrat did not.

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