Attorney General

Former acting AG testifies she warned White House counsel that Flynn could be blackmailed

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Sally Yates

Sally Yates. Photo by U.S. Government, via Wikimedia Commons.

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates told a Senate subcommittee Monday that she had warned the White House counsel in January that Michael Flynn, who was Trump’s national security adviser, could be blackmailed by Russia.

Yates said she told White House counsel Donald McGahn on Jan. 26 that Flynn had not told the truth about his conduct, and that made him susceptible to blackmail, the Washington Post reports. Yates didn’t specify the conduct at issue, but sources have said it concerned conversations between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Russia. The New York Times, USA Today and Politico are among the additional publications covering Yates’ testimony.

Flynn was fired more than two weeks later, when reports of Yates’ warning became public. He had served as national security adviser for 24 days and is under investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general in connection with a payment he received from a Russian-funded television network and for lobbying on behalf of a Turkish businessman with ties to the country.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer had previously said Yates’ meeting with McGahn was more of a “heads up” about an issue concerning Flynn, and a legal department review found no “legal situation.”

Yates also testified on Monday that foreign efforts to undermine U.S. elections constitute “a serious threat to all Americans.”

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