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Despite Hubbub Over Michael Flynn, Clapper Says No Collusion with Russian Federation

19 May 2017, 09:19 | Darin Griffith

Sally YatesMore

Sally Yates

Yates did not say what Flynn had discussed with ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a number of December 2016 phone calls, which were secretly monitored by United States intelligence.

What does Flynn's Russian Federation connection reveal about the greater Trump campaign's links to our longtime adversary?

Before assuming office, Mr. Flynn discussed with the Russian ambassador in Washington the possibility of relaxing US sanctions, according to leaked media reports of intelligence intercepts, but there is no official version of what transpired in those conversations. He called the DOJ officials back to the White House the next day and asked them a perplexing question, Yates recounted to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee Monday afternoon: Why does it matter to DOJ if one White House official lies to another White House official? "And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

"If they didn't take any action, that would certainly be concerning", Yates said.

Ms Yates was sacked as acting Attorney General by Mr Trump over the unrelated matter of her refusal to defend his first attempt at a travel ban, which would have restricted travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. She said she was not. And Yates was very clear about her intentions.

"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 Gen. Flynn was possibly compromised", Yates said. She didn't refuse to enforce the travel ban until January 30 - the same day she was sacked.

In 2016, Clapper testified, 1,934 Americans were "unmasked".

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Prior to her testimony, former Obama administration officials told multiple media outlets that President Obama directly warned President-elect Trump against hiring Flynn during their face-to-face meeting in November. Sean Spicer added that if Barack Obama's administration was truly concerned about Michael Flynn, then they could have suspended his security clearance. Flynn served under Obama as defense intelligence chief before Obama dismissed him from that post.

Investigations by several congressional committees have been bogged down for weeks amid accusations by Democrats that Republicans have stalled progress to protect the White House.

The discussion between President Obama and President-elect Trump was revealed on Monday by NBC, citing three Obama administration officials.

After being asked multiple times if the White House took any steps to reduce Flynn's role or access to classified information after receiving Yates' warning, Spicer finally said, "I'm not aware of any".

Mr Obama, who had fired Mr Flynn as the head of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), told Mr Trump that he would have profound concerns about Mr Flynn becoming a top national security aide.

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.

Clapper was instrumental in the USA intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation sought to boost Trump's chances of winning the election by hacking into the computer of the campaign chief for Clinton.



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