Former Trump security aide was Russia blackmail risk - ex

Yates' Senate testimony, like the testimony of FBI Director James Comey, made it clear that the need for a full and independent investigation into the Trump team's ties to Russian Federation, and its subsequent attempts to cover up those ties, is an urgent matter of national security.

Yates, a longtime federal prosecutor and Obama administration holdover, was sacked January 31 by Trump after refusing to defend the administration's travel ban.

Yates testified for the first time about two meetings and a phone call she had with White House counsel Don McGahn in late January after the Justice Department learned about Flynn's conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December. Billingslea knew Flynn would be speaking to Kislyak, according to two former Obama administration officials, and seemed concerned Flynn did not fully understand he was dealing with a man rumored to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies. Trump has said repeatedly that the leaks of classified information are far more significant than the connections between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. "And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians". She said Mr McGuan had asked her how Mr Flynn had fared during an interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier that week, as well as why it would matter to the Justice Department if one White House official lies to another.

"I don't have any way of knowing what, if anything, they did", Yates said. "If nothing was done, certainly that would be concerning". All the committees are led by Republicans.

Trump has repeatedly branded the issue of Russian interference "fake news" despite the United States intelligence community's conclusion that President Vladimir Putin himself was behind the meddling. Graham and Whitehouse also said they heard of no effort to stop her from coming before them.

The president took a shot at the woman he fired as acting attorney general via Twitter this morning, and now Mr Obama's team is coming - anonymously - to her defence. But they asked Flynn to resign after news reports indicated he had lied about the nature of the calls.

The warning, first reported by NBC News, came up during a discussion of White House personnel. She made clear that it wasn't just Flynn's apparent deceptiveness that had drawn her attention.

As of this week, Flynn's actions have managed to mix conflicts with Trump, Obama, Russians and a former acting attorney general into one big storm that might also be related to the Trump campaign's alleged Kremlin ties.

The main investigations are being conducted by congressional Intelligence Committees, although Democrats have clamored for a special prosecutor or independent committee.

It nevertheless took 18 days before the president, pressed by Pence and others, dismissed the retired army lieutenant general, who had advised him on security issues throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

To put it simply, Trump treats Twitter like a personal blog, sharing his opinion - sometimes rather aggressively - about everything, seemingly unconcerned he is the leader of the free world and everyone is privy to all the cringeworthy and misspelled statements he posts.

Her account came on a dramatic day where Russian meddling in US politics returned to centre stage with a public hearing, the president tweeting about it, and the revelation Barack Obama warned Trump in their first meeting not to hire Michael Flynn.

Sally Yates made the fake media extremely unhappy today -- she said nothing but old news!

Questioning on Monday often broke along party lines.

Trump and some Republican legislators have claimed the Obama administration had intelligence agencies "unmask" the names of Trump associates that had been redacted in reports on surveillance of foreign subjects and then leaked that information.

Her comments contradicted past remarks from top Trump administration officials, who have described her conversation with McGahn in less serious terms.

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