White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday defended the administration's decision to wait almost three weeks to dismiss former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after the Justice Department warned he could be susceptible to Russian blackmail.
Ms Yates confirmed reports that she had told the White House, six days into Mr Trump's administration, that Mr Flynn, a former military intelligence chief, had not been honest with Vice-President Mike Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador to Washington, leaving him vulnerable to leverage from Moscow.
The same day Yates offered the White House a review of the evidence against Flynn, she was sacked by Donald Trump for opposing his executive order mandating a ban on Muslim travel.
President Barack Obama personally warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn to serve as his national security adviser, three former Obama administration officials said Monday, underscoring the depths of the outgoing White House's concern about the man Trump would ultimately fire.
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. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer minimized the warnings saying that "If President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn't they suspend his security clearance, which they approved just months earlier?" Well, some Republican senators are fixated on who leaked details about the Flynn matter to the press, and the practice of "unmasking" USA citizens caught up in foreign surveillance-that is, how we learned about Flynn's dealings with Russian Federation. "To state the obvious, you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians", Yates testified.
Mr Trump has repeatedly branded the issue of Russian interference "fake news" despite the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that President Vladimir Putin himself was behind the meddling.
First, Yates explained to him, it mattered that Flynn "lied to the vice president and others", because, as a outcome, "the American public had been misled".
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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.
- CNN (@CNN) May 9, 2017REPORTER: First you said that Sally Yates was a "strong supporter of Hillary Clinton", what is that based on?
"Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows - there is "no evidence" of collusion with Russian Federation and Trump", the president said. Eleven days after McGahn had viewed the documents at the DOJ, the President asked for Flynn's resignation because it had come to the President's attention that Flynn had lied to the Vice-President. I think he has been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases.
The White House didn't care that Flynn was compromised.
"[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.
It remains unclear if the White House planned to take action before leaks to the press exposed the Flynn scandal.