During her testimony, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates repeatedly asserted that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was compromised and vulnerable to blackmail by Russian Federation.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was due before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, where she spoke about her warnings to the White House about former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.
Trump's administration was dubious when Yates approached the White House counsel in January, Spicer said, because she was "widely rumored" to be a "strong supporter" of Hillary Clinton.
"From my point of view, there's no doubt in my mind it was the Russians involved in all the things I just described", Graham said, referring to the US intelligence community's previous assesments of Russian interference in the USA election.
"We felt it was important to get this information to the White House as quickly as possible", Yates said. The Russians also knew. "And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".
President Trump walks across the South Lawn toward the White House. For starters, Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he personally wasn't aware of any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. He estimated Russia's meddling in the 2016 had cost that country about $200 million.
During the hearing, Yates described her concerns about Flynn but was careful not to say anything that would reveal the classified details that sparked them. That's false, as Yates made clear her conversations with the White House were formal, and detailed, and had to take place in a secured room (SKIF). Although the White House has denied Trump's two attempts to issue travel bans were in fact Muslim bans, many have pointed to his campaign rhetoric to argue the orders were just that.
Flynn was paid more than $30,000 for a Moscow trip in 2015, where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Kremlin-sponsored Russia Today television network.
Hours later he tweeted the same claims via the official White House @POTUS account, which is shocking.
Sean Spicer, Trump's White House press secretary, also confirmed the discussion but played down the seriousness of Obama's warning.
"I believe they're now emboldened to continue such activities in the future, both here and around the world, and to do so even more intensely", he said. But she noted that "you should not draw from that an assumption that that means that the answer is yes".
- Would taking action against Flynn interfere in any existing investigation into Flynn?
Could he see the underlying evidence collected in Flynn's interview?
Asked about it, Ms Yates said answering the question would require revealing classified information.
Yates, a longtime federal prosecutor and Obama administration holdover, was sacked January 30 by Trump after refusing to defend the administration's travel ban.
Though Yates did not directly discuss evidence that proved Flynn had lied, Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance of Kislyak had picked up their exchange and showed the two discussed the sanctions, as the Washington Post reported on February 9.
"Given the information that had already been provided by Ms. Yates, should he have participated in these two very specific instances?"
When Ted Cruz tried to ask if a statute from the Immigration and Nationality Act was familiar to her, Yates responded to by citing another statute, which she used in part to form her own decision about enforcing it. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. "Let's parse out the truth and figure it out.' So from that point of view, I think a deliberate approach is probably better".
On the same day that Yates was testifying before a Senate panel, it was reported that Obama had warned Trump against naming Flynn as national security adviser. But Spicer portrayed the Obama advice as partisan.
The key takeaways from the very partisan hearings were based around the timeline and intentions leading up to the controversial firing of former National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn, and the continued questions about the Trump campaign's connections to Russian Federation.
"If President Obama or anyone else, frankly, in the government was concerned, the question should be asked what did they do?"
"At no time did I ever submit a request for personal or political purposes, or to voyeuristically look at raw intelligence, nor am I aware of any instance of such abuse by anyone else", Clapper said.