Sally Yates speaks before Senate hearing on Russia

And each time that White House officials repeated misrepresentations of Flynn's actions, Yates argued it "increased the compromise". "It involved the vice president of the United States".

Her testimony, coupled with the revelation hours earlier from NBC News that President Barack Obama himself had warned Trump against hiring Flynn shortly after the November election, made clear that alarms about Flynn had reached the highest levels of the USA government months before.

Today, we learned much more about the moment that brought down Michael Flynn, the U.S. national security adviser whom President Donald Trump fired less than a month into the job for misleading Vice-President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia's Ambassador to the United States.

The Obama-Trump discussion was first reported on Monday by NBC-TV.

The hearing on Monday was the first time Yates has spoken publicly about her role in the Flynn saga.

Yates was speaking at a hearing led by Sen.

Ironically, Flynn wasn't fired until two weeks later, just hours after the Washington Post reported the Yates-McGhan meeting.

"General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration - but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that", he tweeted Monday morning.

Current and former officials said that in November, President Barack Obama warned the president-elect not to hire Flynn.

Since then, Flynn and former Trump advisers, including Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have become the subjects of fresh scrutiny about their Russian ties. Trump fired Flynn on February 13 because, according to the president, he had lost trust in the general - particularly for failing to disclose the Kislyak talks to Pence when he was asked about it.

Sen. Graham asked Yates and Clapper later how The Washington Post learned that Flynn had communicated with Kislyak.

Russia's electoral interference is the subject of three major USA investigations - one in the House, one in the Senate and one in the Justice Department.

Flynn also is now under investigation by the Pentagon Inspector General for failing to inform Defense Department officials about seeking payments from foreign governments.

Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., when asked if she has evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin previous year.

Trump repeatedly has said he has no ties to Russia and isn't aware of any involvement by his aides in any Russian interference in the election. I made a determination that I believed that it was unlawful.

Clapper says Russia's meddling in last year's US presidential election amounted to a "high-water mark" in its decades-long efforts to interfere in political contests.

Also scheduled to testify is former National Intelligence director James Clapper, who attracted attention for a March television interview in which he said that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation at the time he left government in January. "Finally we told them we were giving them all of this information so that they could take action". They both replied that neither of them had leaked the information to the press, but Yates noted that the intelligence community sometimes releases its reports - which go to several officials across the U.S. government - with the name of the USA person caught up in incidental surveillance of a non-US person already unmasked.

But days before the two officials were scheduled to appear, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), then chairman of the committee, abruptly canceled the hearing. "The Russians also knew", Yates said.

On Monday, Yates confirmed that she'd warned the White House about Flynn.

She added: "Logic would tell you that you don't want the national security adviser to be in a position where the Russians have leverage over him".

Comey declined to elaborate on the meeting with Yates in the open committee session.

Attorneys for Yates and Flynn did not respond to inquiries seeking comment. One of the topics discussed was whether Flynn could be prosecuted for his conduct. President Obama himself that month told one of his closest advisers that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which by then had been investigating Trump associates' possible ties to Russian Federation for about six months, seemed particularly focused on Flynn.

  • Leroy Wright