Trump's Flynn problem flew past several red flags

Graham takes shot at Trump in Russia hearingMore

Graham takes shot at Trump in Russia hearingMore

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.

Sally Yates, the acting attorney general fired by Donald Trump in January after refusing to enforce the president's controversial travel ban, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on Monday.

The hearing came hours after Obama administration officials said former President Barack Obama also personally warned Trump against hiring Flynn during their November 10 90-minute closed-door meeting at the White House. Trump acted two weeks later, after The Washington Post published a report about those warnings.

Russian officials also knew Flynn's misleading recounts of those conversations were inaccurate.

Another tweet about Russian Federation from Donald Trump had people scratching their heads.

Meanwhile, two other intelligence sources told NBC on Monday that General Flynn failed to disclose he had been paid a $34,000 fee to travel to Russia in December 2015 for an event organized by Russia Today. "And the Russians use compromise material information in a variety of ways, sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly", she said.

Ms Yates told the hearing: "We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was making false statements to the public and because we believed that General Flynn was possibly compromised".

Yates for example testified that she had seen a readout of an interview Flynn gave to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during January, before she headed to meet McGahn.

- Did criminal statutes apply to Flynn's actions? Spicer later denied that Yates showed serious worry about Flynn's call, and said she simply gave "a heads up" about it. "We were giving them all this information so that they could take action".

"If President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn't he suspend General Flynn's security clearance, which they had just reproved months earlier", said Spicer at a May 8 news briefing. "Yates' vote of confidence in Rosenstein nullifies demands from some Democrats in Monday's hearing for the appointment of an outside prosecutor take over the investigation", the site wrote. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired by the Obama administration in 2014.

Tight-lipped, Yates declined to weigh in on the matter.

In response to a question regarding the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said "Well, I think number one, he wants to make sure that we defeat ISIS - that is something that is in our national security interests - and to make sure that we protect our people, but does so in a responsible, smart way".

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

"The Russians also knew about what Gen. Flynn had done, and the Russians also knew that Gen. Flynn had misled the vice president and others", Yates said.

Yates' much-awaited testimony brought fresh attention to this administration's Russian Federation problem, which the White House has struggled to resolve by trying, among other things, to blame it on Obama, by citing the security clearance the general had had continued to enjoy despite being dismissed as head of United States military's intelligence agency, in 2014. "Additionally, why did the Obama administration let Flynn go to Russian Federation for a paid speaking engagement and receive a fee?" Had The Washington Post not broken the story on February 9 about Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation, he might still be on the job today. A source familiar with Rice's discussions told CNN that when Graham invited her, Rice believed it was a bipartisan overture and was prepared to accept.

Aside from the Flynn affair, Senate lawmakers also asked Yates and Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper if they ever reviewed classified documents in which the names of Trump associates were unmasked.

Clapper offered several new tidbits during his testimony.

Investigations are underway in both the committee and the FBI.

Christie said he spoke with President Trump the day after Flynn was removed from his post.

She would not comment on the substance of the interview but her comment allowed Democratic senators to lead her on a path that raised the unspoken possibility that Flynn had not only not told the truth to Pence, but to the bureau.

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