Obama's Russia Ambassador Doubts Sally Yates' Blackmail Claim About Michael Flynn

Alvin Kelly
May 19, 2017

Former acting US Attorney General Sally Yates testified [materials] before a Senate judiciary subcommittee on Monday stating that she had warned about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's vulnerabilities to blackmail by Russian Federation less than a week after President Donald Trump [official profile] assumed office. Flynn had denied discussing with Kislyak the subject of U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation for the November election interference, but high-ranking Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ officials had recorded conversations between Kislyak and Flynn.

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates laid out a convincing case in Senate testimony Monday that the Trump administration knew weeks in advance that a top White House adviser had been compromised and that his continued service posed a national security risk.

Ms Yates is expected to reveal that she warned the Trump administration of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's communications with the Russian ambassador nearly a month before he resigned.

Mr Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer said in response that if Mr Obama "was seriously concerned" about Mr Flynn's connections to Russian Federation or other foreign countries, he should have withheld Mr Flynn's security clearance.

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. Yates was looking at the update when she made her decision to oppose Trump's ban. Yates said the executive order went against her department's role to "always seek justice and stand for what is right".

In the hearing, former CIA Director James Clapper and Yates were questioned about evidence of possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian Federation. The Obama administration fired Flynn in 2014 from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, largely because of mismanagement and temperament issues. With the growing connections to Russian Federation among Trump administration officials, we can only wonder who will be next.

Republican senators in the hearing repeatedly pressed Yates on an unrelated matter - her refusal to defend the Trump administration's travel ban - and whether she was responsible for leaking classified information.

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Sally Yates is set to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the concerns she raised with the Trump White House in January about Flynn's contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington.

Later in the same briefing, Spicer was asked whether the White House placed Flynn under any additional restrictions between Yates' warning and his eventual ouster. Mr. Flynn resigned as NSA on February 13.

"This was a problem because not only did we believe that the Russians knew this, but that they likely had proof of this information".

The presence of her co-witness, Washington veteran and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, also had the effect of bolstering Yates' comments. Before, all we knew was that Yates had warned the White House in January that Flynn lied about his communications with Russian Federation.

What is clear, though, from Yates's tenacious determination to stick to her guns as a law enforcement official is that she has already proved her value in that chosen arena.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Press Secretary Mr Spicer both asserted that White House counsel investigated Ms Yates' information and found nothing. They have also pointed the finger at Susan E. Rice, who was Obama's national security adviser.

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