Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Former AG: White House was warned about Flynn


Yates' questioning by a Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the presidential election was just one portion of a politically charged day that began with combative tweets from Trump and continued with disclosures from Obama administration officials about a private Oval Office conversation between Obama and his successor.

Flynn, who is at the center of the controversy surrounding Trump's campaign and Russian Federation, was sacked after less than a month. Yates and Clapper both swore under oath that they had never leaked classified information. She told White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26, less than a week into Trump's presidency, that Flynn had not been telling the truth about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington. She was joined in the meeting by a senior career official in the Justice Department.

Flynn had been an adviser to Trump and an outspoken supporter of his candidacy.

Obama delivered his warning on November 10, two days after the election, when Trump visited the White House and met with his predecessor in the Oval Office for what both men described at the time as a cordial conversation.

After dropping out of sight for a pair of glamorous island getaways, Mr Obama is emerging for a series of paid and unpaid speeches, drawing sharp contrasts with Mr Trump even as he avoids saying the new president's name. But here is why it is important to know about the unmasking of the conversations between the ambassador and Gen. Flynn. Flynn served under Obama as defense intelligence chief before Obama dismissed him.

Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he wants to explore whether there were any ties between President Donald Trump's businesses and Russian Federation - adding that the President's tax returns could be helpful to such an inquiry. He has dismissed FBI and congressional investigations into his campaign's possible ties to the election meddling as a "hoax" driven by Democrats bitter over losing the White House.

FBI's Comey Had Asked for More Resources for Russia Investigation
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sarcastically acknowledged Comey's dismissal, saying , "Was he fired?". But he noted that Democrats had repeatedly criticized Comey in the past and had called for his removal.

After the hearing Monday, Trump tweeted: "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?"

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 to Obama's national security officials for the classified Central Intelligence Agency profile of Kislyak. The AP interviewed a host of former US officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who also testified, said he stood by past assertions that he had not seen evidence of such collusion but also declined to comment on classified matters.

The warning was "based on Flynn's role as head of DIA", a former administration official told AFP.

During a speech Sunday night in Boston, he urged members of Congress to have "courage" as Trump presses for the repeal of his signature health care law, recalling the Democrats who were swept into office with him in 2009, but lost their seats after casting votes in favor of the "Obamacare" measure.

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has an active counterintelligence probe into the scandal, examining whether any Trump campaign official colluded with Moscow.

Trump had also used Twitter before the hearing to insinuate that Yates had leaked information on Flynn to the media.

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