Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

Former official says she warned White House about Flynn

The White House was warned in January that President Donald Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail, a top former official has told politicians, as the issue of Moscow's meddling in the U.S. election returned to the spotlight.

Flynn was forced to resign after it was alleged that he discussed the sanctions imposed on Russia by President Obama in a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.

Yates stated that she has no way of knowing "what, if anything" was done about the matter, and that "If nothing was done, then certainly that would be concerning". President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as national security adviser during an Oval Office meeting in the days after the 2016 election, according to three former Obama administration officials.

Flynn, a retired general, has emerged as a central figure in probes into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow. The White House story Tuesday is that they didn't trust Yates because she was a political opponent and she opposed Trump's Muslim ban.

Needless to say, reporters are curious as to why Flynn was allowed to remain in a top national security role even after the Justice Department warned he had been compromised by the Russian government.

The real news is that neither Yates nor Clapper had any direct proof of Russia-Trump campaign collusion. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired from his high position by the Obama administration in 2014. "Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows - there is "no evidence" of collusion with Russian Federation and Trump", the president said.

Yates testified at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing that focused primarily on Flynn, and did not shed much light on other aspects of investigations of allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 USA election and whether there was collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow. By lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his involvement with the Russians, Flynn set himself up to "be blackmailed by the Russians", Yates said.

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Trump fired Flynn only after his lies were reported by the news media.

The former Obama administration officials requested anonymity in order to disclose the private conversation between the current and former president.

She added, "We believe that the Russians knew this and that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

Her testimony Monday was the first time Yates spoke publicly about her concerns.

Despite firing Flynn, Trump has tried to paint his former national security adviser as a victim of illegal leaks of classified information by Obama officials.

Yates was joined at the hearing by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

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