Yates: Alarm about Russian blackmail led to warning on Flynn

Obama starts defining his new role in the age of Trump

Yates: Alarm about Russian blackmail led to warning on Flynn

- During her appearance before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, Sally Yates was asked about her refusal to enforce President Trump's initial travel order while she was acting Attorney General.

Yates briefly led the U.S. Justice Department until Trump fired her on January 30 for declining to defend his travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

But, the media had nothing to do with what we learned Monday: That the acting attorney general was concerned enough about information she learned regarding the national security adviser that she sought out the White House counsel in hopes the President would "take action" (Yates' words) on the matter. The White House said he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials about his communications with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he wants to explore whether there were any ties between President Donald Trump's businesses and Russian Federation - adding that the President's tax returns could be helpful to such an inquiry.

Russian Federation denies allegations that it has sought to meddle in foreign elections.

"We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was making false statements to the public and because we believed that Gen. Flynn was possibly compromised", Yates said.

Flynn, a retired general once seen as a potential Trump vice president, has emerged as a central figure in the Russian probes. "If nothing was done, certainly that would be concerning".

It's yet the latest bit of evidence of an ongoing feud between the past and present presidential administrations as well as the tension between Trump's inner circle and the U.S. intelligence community.

"Yes, it is (accurate), and it's also quite sensitive", Clapper said. CNN learned of the subpoenas hours before President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

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.

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

An Obama spokesman initially declined to comment.

When pressed, Spicer said Yates was "widely rumored" to have backed Clinton, although Yates was barred from any public political activity. Trump's spokespeople cast it as a mere personal grudge, given that Obama had fired Flynn as director of defence intelligence over differences about fighting terrorism.

The four-tweet barrage shows just how closely Trump is monitoring the ongoing congressional investigation into ties between members of his 2016 presidential campaign and Russian intelligence officials. "I want to know about what Clapper said, and I want to know more about Trump's business dealings".

After the hearing Monday, Trump tweeted: "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?" Trump has denied that his aides were involved in the hacking of Democratic groups, but the investigations could cast a shadow over his White House for years.

Republicans on the committee pressed Yates and Clapper on whether they leaked confidential information to the press or improperly unmasked the names of Americans. Yates and Clapper both swore under oath that they had never leaked classified information.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer acknowledged that President Obama did make clear in November that he was "not a fan" of Michael Flynn.

Known as a tough and independent prosecutor, Ms Yates has been a target of Mr Trump's ire since her refusal in January to support his controversial immigration ban on nationals from several Muslim-majority nations - for which he fired her.

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