Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing entitled, "Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election", on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 8, 2017.
Prior to her testimony, former Obama administration officials told multiple media outlets that President Obama directly warned President-elect Trump against hiring Flynn during their face-to-face meeting in November.
The revelation from Obama advisers appeared to be sparked by Trump's attempts to shift some of the blame for Flynn's troubles to Obama by noting that the previous administration renewed the former military intelligence director's clearance even after he was sacked in 2014.
It had the makings of a Cold War whodunit: The attorney general tells the White House that the Russians have "kompromat" on the president's national security adviser - but the president, for reasons unclear, stands by the compromised official.
The statements from Yates, an Obama administration holdover, offered by far the most detailed account of the chain of events that led to Flynn's ouster from government in the first weeks of the Trump administration. The revelation came after interviews with a host of former USA officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive national security information.
Flynn, a retired general once seen as a potential Trump vice president, has emerged as a central figure in the Russian probes.
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Yates testified that she was concerned the Russians could use the discrepancy to blackmail Flynn.
Despite her warnings, Flynn remained in his position for 18 more days (a gap Democrats say is as scandalous as "the 18-minute gap in the Nixon tapes"). The former director of national intelligence testified he's hadn't, but also said he hadn't been aware of the FBI investigation. "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer-funded charade end?" he fumed in one post, while in another, he targeted Ms Yates - claiming she had "said nothing but old news!" after earlier assailing her for allegedly leaking classified information.
Known as a tough and independent prosecutor, Yates has been a target of Trump's anger since her refusal in January to support his controversial immigration ban on nationals from several Muslim-majority nations - for which he fired her. "They likely had proof of this information, and that created a compromise situation".
More substantively, her testimony to a judiciary subcommittee represented the latest incremental step yet toward a broader understanding of why so many links have surfaced between Trump world and Russian Federation.
This is very bad news for Donald Trump, and that's why Republican ran the hearing yesterday like they were on a desperate deflection mission.