Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testified Monday that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was compromised by his ties to Russia and was vulnerable to being blackmailed.
Sally Yates: "We believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians." pic.twitter.com/OmeB9uYurO
— Axios (@axios) May 8, 2017
Flynn resigned from his post in February after he admitted to briefing Vice President Mike Pence “with incomplete information” regarding his phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Inauguration Day.
Yates was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election because she reportedly warned the White House that Flynn had been compromised by his discussions with Kislyak about sanctions against Russia.
“We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians,” Yates said.
Yates said that the Russians “likely had proof” that Flynn misled Pence about the nature of his discussions with Kislyak, making him susceptible to being “blackmailed by the Russians.”
She testified that she told the White House that Flynn’s actions were “problematic.”
"To state the obvious, you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians," she said.
Sally Yates says she alerted the White House that Michael Flynn could be “essentially blackmailed by the Russians” https://t.co/xr55J8fyV5
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 8, 2017
Yates, who briefly served as acting attorney general after Trump took office, was fired by the president for refusing to enforce his executive order implementing a "travel ban" blocking immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.
Prior to her testimony, Trump took aim at Yates on Twitter, asking if she knew how “classified information” about the matter “got into the newspapers.”
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1494254615.0
During her testimony, Yates denied leaking classified information to the media.