Trump defends Mike Flynn ahead of ousted Attorney General's testimony

Sally Yates is set to speak publicly on the issue for the first time since being fired

Trump defends Mike Flynn ahead of ousted Attorney General's testimony

L-R: Donald Trump, Sally Yates and Michael Flynn

An Obama administration official who warned the Trump White House about the then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's links with Russia is set to speak publicly for the first time about the concerns she raised.

Former Attorney General Sally Yates is testifying Monday before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It is Yates's first appearance on Capitol Hill since her firing in January. Flynn has previously said he would testify in the hearings on the basis that he was granted immunity. 

President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to defend to Flynn ahead of Yates' appearance.

 

 

The line of defense used by Trump was first presented late last month by the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, who said Flynn passed a security clearance during President Barack Obama's final year in office and did not need to be vetted again before being appointed as national security adviser.

Flynn was forced to step down after just 24 days as national security adviser after multiple outlets reported that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, before Trump's inauguration.

Yates' testimony

According to TIME Magazine, Yates is likely to testify that she warned White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26th 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.

Yates was first scheduled to appear in March before the House Intelligence Committee, but the session was canceled as relations broke down between Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and his committee’s Democrats, who accused him of using his post to provide political cover for the White House.

The Justice Department also raised concerns about Yates’ scheduled appearance before the House panel, citing executive privilege.

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper is also set to testify - he attracted attention for a March television interview in which he said that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia at the time he left government in January.

NBC News also reports that former US President Barack Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn.