May 27, 2017

3 big questions remain about Michael Flynn after Sally Yates' testimony

20 May 2017, 01:16 | Taylor George

Sally Yates: Michael Flynn was 'compromised' and vulnerable to Russian blackmail

Right-Wing Media Outlets Echo Trump's Unfounded Smears Of Sally Yates

Trump signed the ban on January 27, the same day Yates met for a second time with White House counsel Donald McGahn about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Yates in January warned White House officials that Flynn, a retired U.S. Army general, spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, the same day the Obama administration ordered sanctions on Russia for its alleged hacking of Clinton's presidential campaign. As she explained to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday, Flynn's falsehoods "created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians". This development comes after former president Barrack Obama [official website] said he had warned Trump not to hire Flynn [NYT report].

Spicer defended the White House process in handling Flynn, even though the former National Security advisor wasn't immediately removed from duty after the warnings.

Instead, Mr Trump chose to play up former director of national intelligence James Clapper's acknowledgement during the same hearing that he was not aware of any evidence of collusion between Mr Trump and Russian Federation, which United States intelligence has concluded tried to sway the U.S. election in Mr Trump's favor. "To state the obvious, you don't want the national security adviser compromised by the Russians".

Republican Sen. John Cornyn said her actions with regard to the executive order were "enormously disappointing" and accused her of undermining the powers of the President because she disagreed with Trump's order "as a policy matter".

In March, Kelner said in a statement that Flynn had a "story to tell", but said no reasonable person would agree to be questioned by the committee without "assurances against unfair prosecution".

Right-Wing Media Outlets Echo Trump's Unfounded Smears Of Sally Yates

Yates said Trump's travel ban, which targeted several Muslim-majority counties, was "unlawful", and added, "All arguments have to be based on truth".

He more or less said he'd heard that there were "rumors" Yates would be selected to work in a Clinton administration, which meant - to him - that she was a Clinton supporter and "opponent" of Trump's. The first executive order was crafted nearly exclusively by White House staff with very little input from the agencies that would be responsible for implementing and enforcing it (even after it took effect, airport officials across the country were unclear about how it was supposed to work). Yates, a career prosecutor until Barack Obama tapped her to be the No. 2 at the Justice Department, recalled the questions the White House counsel had about Flynn: Why did DOJ care?

"Let's look at the timeline", Spicer said. But President Donald Trump waited 18 days before showing Flynn the door for lying to Pence.

But if Trump's quick and dismissive reaction to her appearance is any guide, the Yates testimony put another dent in the administration's defenses.

What continues to astonish, although the subject barely was broached at the hearing, is that Flynn served in good standing and apparent high repute at the White House for more than two weeks after all this took place.

"President Obama's former Director of National Intelligence and his former acting CIA Director have both said they have seen no evidence of collusion. They informed the president after they were informed of her giving us a heads up".

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