Sean Spicer Claims Delay in Firing Followed Protocol

Barack Obama in Milan this week

The White House on Tuesday tried to discredit former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, suggesting her testimony a day earlier about President Donald Trump's first national security adviser is tainted because she was a Hillary Clinton supporter, although officials provided no evidence for such a claim. Obama had warned Trump, then president-elect, not to give the post of national security adviser in his administration to Flynn just after the Republican's surprise victory in the November 8 election, a former Obama aide said.

The Senate now in the middle of an investigation into the potential ties between Donald Trump's campaign and Russian operatives, so to add extra emphasis to his claims that there was no collusion, the president temporarily changed his Twitter header image to one of his tweets about the case.

The former head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that she had warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had not been forthcoming to both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian officials.

Two days after Spicer's comments, the president was asked about Flynn during a 77-minute news conference in the East Room of the White House.

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

She said she was briefing the Trump White House so that officials could take "the action that they deemed appropriate" and that she believed the Russians already had the same information. This development comes after former president Barrack Obama [official website] said he had warned Trump not to hire Flynn [NYT report]. She said she was not.

Trump shouldered into the conversation in the morning, tweeting that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Lt. Gen. Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon. "[She was] appointed by the Obama administration and a strong supporter of Clinton". The following day, McGahn asked Yates to come back for another meeting.

I think a goal of Republicans' questioning Yates about the order was to defend the White House from the conclusion that it recklessly ignored Yates' guidance about Flynn.

On the morning of January 26, acting Attorney General Sally Yates called White House counsel Don McGahn with a matter so sensitive it couldn't be discussed by phone. In a telephone conversation shortly before the announcement - monitored by USA intelligence as part of regular surveillance of Kislyak - Flynn discussed the measures and suggested the possibility of sanctions relief once Trump was president.

Known as a tough and independent prosecutor, Yates has been a target of Trump's ire since her refusal in January to support his controversial immigration ban on nationals from several Muslim-majority nations-for which he fired her.

The president also said the "biggest story" to emerge on Monday "is on surveillance". But then, Trump has yet to own a mistake he's made.

During his presser on Tuesday, a reporter asked Spicer about Flynn's participation in the Putin phone call, saying, "While he's under investigation, why is he being allowed to participate as the national security adviser?"

Yates testified at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing that focused primarily on Flynn, and did not shed much light on other aspects of investigations of allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 USA election and whether there was collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow.

After those skeptical questions, Trump took no visible action against Flynn until a public outcry forced him to.

Trump has said he has no nefarious ties to Russian Federation and isn't aware of any involvement by his aides in Moscow's interference in the election.

In Monday's hearing, Clapper reiterated his original statement from March, in which he said he had seen no evidence of collusion between Trump officials and Russian Federation.

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