Sally Yates, James Clapper: Trump White House warned about Flynn

Sally Yates made the remarks during highly anticipated testimony on May 8 before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

The reason why Flynn's conduct is of interest to the committee is because part of the investigation into what influence Russia had on the election is concerned with whether there was any collusion between associates of President Trump and Russian intelligence officials.

Yates - who declined to answer several questions Monday that she said were classified - told senators that she and her colleague "took [McGahn] through" Flynn's "underlying conduct" and that McGahn had been given permission to view the "underlying evidence" behind the DOJ's concerns about Flynn.

Reporting based on leaks of USA surveillance revealed in February that Flynn misled Vice President Pence about the contents of a December phone call to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyac - an account Pence was then repeating to the American people.

Former President Barack Obama personally cautioned President Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn, according to news reports Monday, as former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified separately about warning the White House that the now-ousted national security adviser "could be blackmailed" by Russian Federation.

Trump had fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates in January for refusing to enforce a legal order created to protect the citizens of the United States.

Earlier Monday, in response to questions about Flynn, Spicer blamed the Obama administration for allowing Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to retain a top-secret security clearance after he was sacked in 2014.

The Obama administration fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in April 2014.

US intelligence agencies have been blunt in their assessment that the hacks of Democratic email accounts were meant to benefit Republican Trump and harm Clinton.

Yates also warned in her opening testimony that there were some issues she could not address publicly because they involved classified information.

When Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked on Monday why the White House ignored the warning from President Obama, Spicer replied that he believed Trump thought Obama's warning was mere partisanship, rather than a legitimate warning based on legitimate issues.

"Additionally, why did the Obama administration let Flynn go to Russian Federation and do a speaking engagement and receive a fee?" he asked.

It is not immediately clear how much new information Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who also is scheduled to testify Monday, will be able provide. He was accused of speaking with Russian officials before Trump's inauguration and misleading White House officials about the conversations.

The testimony by Yates, who was sacked on January 30 after defying Trump over his contested travel ban, confirmed reports she had informed the White House early on of the justice department's concerns about Flynn.

A person familiar with Yates' plans says she is likely to testify she expressed alarm about discrepancies between the statements and what occurred.

Both Clapper and Yates defended the practice - which allows certain officials to learn the names of Americans caught up incidentally in surveillance of foreigners - as necessary and routine.

President Donald Trump on Monday tried to distance himself from the controversy swirling around his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, but appears only to have started a dust up with former members of the Obama administration.

In a second tweet, Trump said Yates should be asked under oath "if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers" soon after she raised concerns about Flynn with McGahn.

In another Twitter post, Trump noted that Flynn had been granted top security clearance while working in the Obama administration.

Obama delivered his warning on November 10, two days after the election, when Trump visited the White House and met with his predecessor in the Oval Office for what both men described at the time as a cordial conversation.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee probe is one of three main congressional investigations of Russian Federation and the 2016 United States election.

  • Leroy Wright