Despite warnings on Flynn, Trump dismisses Russian collusion

Tuesday, 16 May, 2017

"She gave very formal notice and both she and former director [James] Clapper made it clear when I asked them, when you say one thing on a tape and then you lie to the vice president and say something publicly, couldn't that be material for blackmail?"

Yates had two in-person meetings and a phone call with White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26 and January 27, respectively. But she said she didn't know if the White House took steps to restrict Flynn's access to sensitive or classified information.

When pressed, Spicer said Yates was "widely rumored" to have backed Clinton, although Yates was barred from any public political activity.

Yates told the hearing she had been concerned that "the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

The White House didn't care that Trump's national security adviser was compromised by the Russians.

Spicer said that after the White House first viewed the evidence and materials on February 2, which were first flagged by Yates on January 26, there were various meetings and discussions that took place leading up to the request for Flynn's resignation on February 13.

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Flynn quit after after news reports revealed that Yates had warned McGahn in late January that Flynn had misled White House officials about details of his conversations with the Kremlin's United States ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And, as this CNN profile of her notes, "she spent years defending Obama administration policies, championing changes to the criminal justice system and curtailing the federal government's use of private prisons" from within the Justice Department.

But they did cast new doubt on Trump's judgment in choosing Flynn, a controversial Washington figure, for such a crucial job in the first place - on a day when it emerged that outgoing President Barack Obama counseled him to pick another national security adviser.

In the almost three weeks that passed between finding out Flynn misled the Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the USA and Flynn's resignation, Spicer said, there were no known restrictions to his access to information. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision, which led the White House to issue a second order.

Meanwhile, the USA administration fiercely denied Trump's contested travel ban deliberately single out Muslims during an appeals court hearing Monday - despite the president's campaign call for a blanket Muslim ban. Yates said that in her meetings, McGahn "demonstrated that he understood this was serious".

Mr Trump has repeatedly branded the issue of Russian interference "fake news" despite the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that President Vladimir Putin himself was behind the meddling.

Spicer also addressed questions about Sen.