New York: After former Obama administration officials confirming that former United States president Barack Obama had warned current President Donald Trump against hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor (NSA), former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said on Monday that she alerted the White House earlier this year that Flynn could be “essentially blackmailed by the Russians.”
“We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians,” Yates told a Senate judiciary subcommittee, in a high-profile hearing on Russian meddling into the U.S. elections.
She was joined in the meeting by a senior career official in the Justice Department.
“We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this, that the Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done and the Russians also knew that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others,” Yates said, relating the contents of her conversation with White House Counsel Donald McGahn on January 26, in which she told him that she information that statements by Vice President Mike Pence, based on his conversations with Flynn, were false.
Trump had fired Flynn 24 days after his appointment as the NSA for failing to disclose discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against the Kremlin and for not telling the truth about them to Pence.
Yates, however, did not say specifically that her concerns about Flynn’s behavior was related to these conversations.
Earlier, the White House also confirmed that former president Barack Obama raised concerns about Flynn.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said, “It’s true President Obama made it known he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn’s,” adding that the concerns “shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since Flynn was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s shortcomings on foreign policy.”
Trump did not, however, pay heed to Obama’s counsel on Flynn, bringing aboard the former military intelligence officer who supported Trump during his campaign as his NSA.
Trump fired Flynn when news broke of his conversations with Russian Ambassador to Kislyak.