Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn before inauguration

Yates testified Monday before a Senate Judiciary Committee panel, following reports that she had warned the White House that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had been compromised nearly three weeks before he resigned from the Trump administration.

Making her first public statements about the issue, Yates said she feared Moscow could try to blackmail Flynn because it also knew he had not been truthful about conversations he had with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak about USA sanctions on Russian Federation.

Also Monday, three former Obama administration officials said President Barack Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn during an Oval Office meeting shortly after the November election. Spicer asked, "If President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn't he suspend General Flynn's security clearance, which they had just re-approved months earlier?"

As she explained to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday, Flynn's falsehoods "created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians". He's dismissed FBI and congressional investigations into his campaign's possible ties to the election meddling as a "hoax" driven by Democrats bitter over losing the White House.

Yates was sacked January 30 for refusing to back the travel ban that she said was unlawful.

When pressed, Spicer said Yates was "widely rumored" to have backed Clinton, although Yates was barred from any public political activity. On Monday, Trump spent much of the day tweeting about Yates, accusing her, among other things, of leaking classified information, though without presenting any evidence about such a claim.

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On Jan. 30, Trump fired Yates from the DOJ after she refused to defend his executive order prohibiting travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

President Obama's ambassador to Russia and a former director of Central Intelligence Agency operations in Russia are casting doubt on former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates' claim that former national security adviser Michael Flynn opened himself up to blackmail by the Russian government. Trump surrogates such as KellyAnne Conway initially responded by saying Flynn's job was safe, and only when the backlash proved Flynn's position was untenable did Flynn get fired, with Trump praising him and criticizing the media as Flynn left.

On Saturday, March 4, Trump tweeted, without providing evidence, that his predecessor, President Obama, had Trump Tower in New York City wiretapped.

Yates filled in new details of the events of January 26, describing contacting McGahn in the morning and telling him she had something sensitive to discuss in person.

During that time, Flynn was the most senior national security official in the West Wing, privy to every intelligence and foreign policy decision and secret, all the while, at risk of being blackmailed by Moscow, according to Yates. "We told them that the vice president and others were entitled to know that the information they were conveying to the American people was not true". Yates testified alongside James Clapper, a top intelligence chief during the Obama administration.

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