Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

White House says Obama wasn't 'a fan' of Flynn

White House says Obama wasn't 'a fan' of Flynn

For anyone who has been following the investigation closely in recent months, much of the information Yates is expected to provide may already have been released via anonymously sourced news reports.

He was sacked in February for concealing the nature of these contacts. President Obama himself that month told one of his closest advisers that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which by then had been investigating Trump associates' possible ties to Russian Federation for about six months, seemed particularly focused on Flynn. Flynn had been fired by the Obama administration as the head of the military's intelligence branch. One official said there is no specific question on the relevant form that covers payments for speeches by foreign entities, but another said Flynn was told that any payments in connection with the trip were to be disclosed. In an April Washington Post-ABC News poll, 56% of those tested said that Russian Federation tried to influence the election.

The problem for Trump is that there is a whole lot of smoke already surrounding his campaign and its ties to Russian Federation - with Flynn at the center of it all. The warning came during an Oval Office meeting between Obama and Trump after the Republican's victory. Late last week, The Washington Post reported that Flynn has been warned by Trump transition officials about the danger of speaking with Kislyak - a detail CNN has now confirmed.

The timing of this revelation, just hours before Sally Yates is set to testify Mr Flynn's Russian ties and her own efforts to warn the Trump administration, is no fluke.

The stakes are high, and there's no indication anyone is backing down.

Trump tweeted Monday that Flynn was "given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration - but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that".

"Given the importance of the job, the President through there were better people for it, and that Flynn wasn't up for the job", a former senior Obama administration official told CNN Monday.

"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. election.

The statements from Yates, an Obama administration holdover, offered by far the most detailed account of the chain of events that led to Flynn's ouster from government in the first weeks of the Trump administration.

He said that should not be surprising, "given that Gen. Flynn had worked for President Obama, was an outspoken critic of President Obama's shortcomings, specifically as it related to his lack of strategy confronting ISIS and other threats around that were facing America".

Trump ultimately tapped Flynn as national security adviser, but fired him after less than a month.

She added: "To state the obvious, you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians".

Yates says she was giving President Donald Trump's White House this information so that it could take actions it "deemed appropriate".

Yates' appearance itself had been fraught with drama ever since House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes' delayed her House hearing at the last minute, as part of a chaotic three-week stretch that saw the House Russia investigation nearly fall apart and Nunes become the subject of a House ethics probe.

Trump on Monday morning sought to get ahead of Yates' testimony, taking to Twitter to deflect criticism that he or his administration should have kept Flynn out of the top national security post from the outset.

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