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Senate Dem: White House more focused on defending Trump than national security
19 May 2017, 09:04 | Marion Schneider
Michael Flynn at the White House in Washington
It was then, she testified before senators Monday, that she warned McGahn that President Donald Trump's national security adviser could easily become a blackmail target for Russians, based on the answers Flynn gave to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Flynn spoke with Kislyak in December, just before and after the Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Russian Federation for its cyber attacks during the presidential campaign.
"We believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians", Yates told the hearing in her first public comments on the scandal which has dogged the opening months of Trump's presidency.
Earlier Monday, former officials said Obama had raised general concerns about Flynn with Trump and told the incoming president there were better people for the national security post.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, confirmed that was the case: "It's true that the president, President Obama, made it known that he wasn't exactly a fan of General Flynn's, which frankly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, given that General Flynn had worked for President Obama, was an outspoken critic of President Obama's shortcomings".
"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", she added. Michael Flynn, and what Yates knew of Russian election interference.
And it is of a piece with the person-to-person message President Obama delivered Trump about Flynn in the two's November 10 sit-down - an extraordinary note of caution on a personnel matter for an incumbent President to aim at his successor.
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In the three-hour long hearing on Monday afternoon, members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee questioned Yates about the former Trump adviser, Michael Flynn.
Throughout the Russian Federation probes, the Trump White House has pointed to testimony earlier this year from Clapper that he had seen no evidence in the January intelligence report of collusion between the President's campaign and Russian Federation. Despite the warning, President Trump selected Flynn as national security advisor. And, as this CNN profile of her notes, "she spent years defending Obama administration policies, championing changes to the criminal justice system and curtailing the federal government's use of private prisons" from within the Justice Department.
Earlier in the day Trump shot off a series of pre-emptive Twitter strikes, accusing Obama of enabling Flynn, and assailing Yates for allegedly leaking classified information.
Donald Trump has been accused of trying to intimidate a witness who was set to testify at a hearing about possible Russian interference in the USA election.
The Senate Russia investigators may have maintained the air of being the adults in Congress investigating Russia's interference. "When a foreign power interferes in our election, it doesn't matter who they targeted", he said.
The Trump White House, alas, takes a different view. Ms Yates said during the hearing she did not leak classified information.
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