It "shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, given that General Flynn had worked for President Obama, was an outspoken critic of President Obama's shortcomings", Spicer said. The White House, Spicer explained, was skeptical of Yates because she was "not exactly a supporter of the president".
In dramatic testimony Monday, Obama holdover Attorney General Sally Yates testified that she warned the incoming White House its newly installed national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was "compromised" by a lie and therefore a potential "blackmail target" of the Russians.
Monday's testimony came as part of a Senate investigation into Russian meddling in last year's USA presidential election, which Trump won over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
When asked for evidence of to back up his assertion, Spicer said Yates was "widely rumored to play a role" in Clinton's Justice Department had she won the election.
Spicer called former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates - who warned the White House on January 26 about Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak - a "political opponent of the president".
In March Clapper told "Meet the Press" that as DNI, he had seen no evidence of collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign team.
That was factually incorrect: During the hearing, Clapper did not say that there was no evidence of collusion between Russian Federation and Trump associates. 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.More news: Djokovic, Nishikori march on in Madrid
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He said Yates was appointed by the Obama administration and that she was "a strong supporter of [Hillary] Clinton". He had lied to the Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his conversations with the Russian ambassador, and the Russians knew he had lied.
What happened in the 18 days between when the White House received a warning about Flynn and his firing?
It didn't seem like the most promising venue for memes, but yesterday's Senate committee hearing on Russian influence in the 2016 election provided two of them nevertheless.
"This was a problem because" it "created a compromised situation" where the national security adviser "essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".
Spicer frequently has chided the White House press corps for failing to ask more questions about the source of illegal leaks to the press. The longtime prosecutor had kept a low profile until her brief tenure as acting attorney general, when she instructed government lawyers not to defend the president's first executive order on immigration temporarily barring entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees.
Did Flynn break any laws and, if so, will he face criminal charges?
She would not comment on the substance of the interview but her comment allowed Democratic senators to lead her on a path that raised the unspoken possibility that Flynn had not only not told the truth to Pence, but to the bureau. Flynn eventually resigned his post, nearly three weeks after Yates offered her warning.