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White House: Yates was a 'political opponent of president'

White House: Yates was a 'political opponent of president'

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday defended the administration's decision to wait almost three weeks to dismiss former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn after the Justice Department warned he could be susceptible to Russian blackmail. But Trump would ultimately seek Flynn's resignation less than a month into his tenure, following news reports that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States.

"I think if you flip this scenario and say what if we just dismissed somebody because a political opponent of the president had made an utterance, you would argue that it was pretty irrational to act in that manner", Spicer said.

In a Senate testimony on Monday, Yates said she was clear about her concern and feared Flynn "could essentially be blackmailed by the Russians".

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is talking about Hillary's emails and the travel ban-which Yates refused to defend in court, a decision that led President Trump to fire her.

But McFaul, who has been heavily critical of President Trump and Flynn, wondered how a Russian blackmail operation against Flynn would have actually played out.

Yates is expected to testify that she warned McGahn that Flynn's contacts " and the discrepancies between what the White House said happened on the calls and what actually occurred " had left him in a compromised position, according to a person familiar with her expected statements.

Spicer added that he was not aware of any security restrictions placed on Flynn after the warning.

After the hearing Monday, Trump claimed in a tweet that Yates said "nothing but old news".

Reactions to the death of Fox News founder Roger Ailes
A sign displays the news that former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, on the outside Fox News headquarters in NY . Ailes leaves behind his wife, along with their son, Zachary Ailes. " Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him".

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives for a White House senior staff swearing in ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Washington.

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

Still, in the short term, the testimony of Yates likely means another lost day ahead for the White House as it uses up time and political energy brushing off a new round of questions and allegations about ties to Russian Federation.

On Feb. 2, Spicer said, McGahn was able to look at the sensitive material.

He added that Flynn was sacked because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the calls, not because the calls themselves were inappropriate.

"Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows - there is "no evidence" of collusion with Russian Federation and Trump", the president said. "They informed the president after they were informed of her giving us a heads up". During that period, Flynn accepted tens of thousands of dollars from a Russian state-sponsored television network.

"This was a problem because not only did we believe that the Russians knew this but that they likely had proof of this information", she said.

The White House didn't care that Flynn was compromised.


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