Published: Mon, May 08, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

On eve of fired Justice official's testimony, Trump tweets about Russian Federation probe

On eve of fired Justice official's testimony, Trump tweets about Russian Federation probe

The 56-year-old Yates is expected to swear under oath that she warned the then-new Trump administration less than a week after Trump's inauguration that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had likely lied about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and that the administration's public statements about Flynn and the Russian official did not square with what US intelligence agencies already knew.

Obama s director of national intelligence James Clapper is also set to testify, after repeatedly warning of the need to get to the bottom of how the Russians interfered in the election, and whether anyone on President Donald Trump s team colluded with Moscow. Now we know that even insiders in Trump's transition team were anxious enough about Flynn's contacts to ask the Obama administration for a classified Central Intelligence Agency profile of Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Pence and other administration officials denied the allegations, but Flynn resigned after press reports indicated USA spy agencies had a transcript of the conversation. The concern - compounded by surge of new intelligence, including evidence of multiple calls, texts and at least one in-person meeting between Flynn and Kislyak - would eventually grow so great Obama advisers delayed telling Trump's team about plans to punish Russian Federation for its election meddling.

FILE - In this September 6, 2013, file photo, Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the USA speaks with reporters following his address on the Syrian situation at the Center for the National Interest in Washington.

People familiar with Yates' plans told The Wall Street Journal she will reveal she warned White House counsel Donald McGahn early about Flynn's lie.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will also testify before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday.

DPRK displays submarine-launched ballistic missile at military parade
North Korea said Friday that the US had better not treat it like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi, that is, like Iraq and Libya. State television showed what appeared to be several KN-08 intercontinental missiles rolled out on trucks at the parade.

Yates, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and daughter of a longtime appeals court judge in that state, was appointed Deputy Attorney General by President Barack Obama in January of 2015.

In late, December 2016, the Obama administration was prepared to introduce sanctions and kick out Russians living in the US for the hacks on the election. The president 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.

When reached by the AP, Billingslea refused to comment.

Despite the anxiety about Flynn, Obama officials say that they did not withhold any information. Intelligence officials and congressional investigators have said there is no evidence to support that claim.

The White House has said Yates simply gave officials a "heads up" about Flynn's Russian contacts, rather than a severe warning. Billingslea worked for Flynn as Flynn oversaw part of the transition operation.

The outgoing White House also became concerned about the Trump team's handling of classified information.

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