Blackmail of Flynn a risk, ex-AG warned

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 10, 2017

"And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

Yates spoke at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, and defended her stance on Trump's controversial order restricting immigrants and refugees from several terror hot spots, including Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

In an interview with MSNBC, Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, acknowledged that she had sometimes asked for the names of Americans who were referenced in intelligence reports, but denied that she or anyone else in the administration used those reports for political intelligence purposes.

Donald Trump has hit back angrily over new claims about his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned amid controversy over his links with Russian Federation.

She was sacked four days later by the Trump administration.

White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, had insisted that Mr Flynn did not discuss US-imposed sanctions with Mr Kislyak during the presidential transition period.

Trump shouldered into the conversation early in the morning, tweeting that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Lt. Gen. Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDem senator: Yates "clearly got the best of" Cruz The 43 people who might run against Trump in 2020 Week ahead in tech: Senate Republicans push net neutrality bill MORE (D-Minn.) said Tuesday that former acting attorney general Sally Yates "got the best" of Sen. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired by the Obama administration in 2014. He said Yates should be asked how this meeting at the White House made it into the press in February, implying that Yates leaked the information. But she says the department's more pressing concern was that Russian officials knew the truth about those conversations and that they could potentially hold this over Michael Flynn and blackmail him.

Spicer said that if Obama "was seriously concerned" about Flynn's connections to Russian Federation or other foreign countries, he should have withheld Flynn's security clearance. James Clapper, director of national intelligence under President Obama, testified as well on Monday. Flynn served under Obama as defense intelligence chief before Obama dismissed him from that post.

Trump's campaign chairman was also forced to quit after he was "accused of accepting millions of dollars in cash for representing Russian interests in Ukraine and United States, including dealings with an oligarch with close ties to President Putin", says the BBC.

The Associated Press reported last week that one sign taken as a warning by Obama officials about Flynn's contacts with Kislyak was a request by a member of Trump's own transition team made to national security officials in the Obama White House for the classified Central Intelligence Agency profile of Kislyak.

While Mr. Trump appeared to support Clapper in his statements that there was "no evidence" of collusion between the Russian government and Mr. Trump calling it "a hoax" and a "taxpayer funded charade", the president lauded Yates for making the "fake media extremely unhappy", saying her testimony provided nothing but "old news". The AP interviewed a host of former USA officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity. He retired the day Trump was inaugurated.

Yates' warning about Flynn in January capped weeks of building concern among top Obama officials, former officials said.

FBI Director James Comey told Congress in March that a federal investigation examining Russian interference in the presidential election and potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign had began in late July.

The House and Senate intelligence committees are conducting their own simultaneous investigations.

MCEVERS: And Scott, all this comes back, as we said, to conversations that Michael Flynn had with Russia's ambassador in December. All the committees are led by Republicans.

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