Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Former AG Yates tells Senate she warned of Flynn vulnerability

Former AG Yates tells Senate she warned of Flynn vulnerability

Sure, Yates was called on to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee' Crime and Terrorism subcommittee about the Donald Trump campaign and administration's possible ties to Russian Federation, but to Spicer, she's nothing more than a "political opponent" of the president.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday dismissed former acting Attorney General Sally Yates as President Trump's "political opponent".

Ms Yates, who was sacked on Jan 30 after defying Mr Trump over his contested travel ban, did not say what Mr Flynn discussed with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a number of phone calls last December, which were secretly monitored by USA intelligence. He suggested Obama's views were shaped by Flynn's criticism of his national security policies.

Yates testified that she told the White House that the Russians also knew what Flynn had done and that he had misled the vice president and others. This development comes after former president Barrack Obama [official website] said he had warned Trump not to hire Flynn [NYT report].

"This is someone who ultimately didn't even want to enforce it", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. Flynn served under Obama as defense intelligence chief before Obama dismissed him from that post.

But in a Senate hearing on Monday, the former acting attorney general produced just enough fresh intrigue to offer Democrats a new opening in the war of attrition they are waging against Donald Trump's presidency. Mr Obama had cautioned against Mr Flynn, whom he fired in 2014 as head of the Defence Intelligence Agency because of his poor record in administration and personnel management.

The specifics of the conversation - or conversations - that Flynn had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov have not been publicly disclosed. But she said she didn't know if the White House took steps to restrict Flynn's access to sensitive or classified information. "When a foreign power interferes in our election, it doesn't matter who they targeted", he said.

Spicer frequently has chided the White House press corps for failing to ask more questions about the source of illegal leaks to the press. Trump was notified immediately of Yates' concerns about Flynn.

Clapper qualified his earlier statement that he knew of no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation - a point House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has used to exculpate Trump.

Mr Flynn's name came up during a broader discussion about personnel issues, the former administration officials said.

Marshall Billingslea, a former Pentagon and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official, wanted the information for Flynn, his boss. But Flynn lingered in the administration for two more weeks, before finally being pushed out.

- Matt Viser (@mviser) May 9, 2017Spicer won't detail why Trump kept Flynn on the job for 11 days between WH seeing Yates evidence & Flynn axing but "we did the right thing". Bharara was sacked March 11 after refusing to resign. All the committees are led by Republicans.

Though some Republicans on the panel engaged in such diversions, the subcommittee chairman, Lindsey Graham, rose above partisanship.

"[Yates] had come here giving a heads-up, told us there were materials, and at the same time we did what we should do", Spicer said.

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