Fmr. Acting AG Yates: Russia Knew Flynn Had Misled VP Pence

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) –  Months after being sacked by President Donald Trump for refusing to defend his travel ban in court, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee.

Yates, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, said she warned the White House in regards to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s  contact with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. nearly three weeks before he was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence. That contradicts with the Trump administration said took place.

“I had two in person meetings and one phone call with White House counsel about Mr. Flynn,” said Yates.

Yates said she let them know the underlying contact that Flynn had engaged in was generally problematic by itself during the first meeting with White House counsel.

“The Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done and that Russia also knew that Flynn had misled the vice president and others…and that they likely had proof of this situation,” said Yates in talking about the first meeting. “We were giving them all of this information so that they could take action.”

Yates said she was concerned Flynn and the vice president might be put in a precarious situation.

“We had two concerns – compromise was the number one concern. The Russians can use compromised material in a variety of situations – our concern was that you have a very sensitive position as a national security adviser. Another motivating factor was that the vice president deserved to know,” said Yates.

Her appearance before a Senate panel comes as former Obama Administration officials confirm President Obama personally warned President-elect Trump against hiring Flynn. President Obama had previously fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The Senate panel is one of three congressional probes into Russian meddling in the election and possible ties between Trump associates and Moscow.

“As the intelligence community assessed in its January of 2017 report, Russia will continue to develop capabilities to use against the United States and we need to be ready to meet those threats,” said Yates.

The Trump administration insists there is no collusion with Russia and call on lawmakers to investigate alleged leaks of classified information from Obama administration officials.

When asked about why she would not defend President Donald Trump’s travel ban against Muslim majority countries she said she found it “unlawful” – something that cost her her job.

“I looked at this. I made a determination. I believed it was unlawful. I also thought that it was inconsistent with the principles of the Department of Justice and I said no,” said Yates.

Related: Appeals Court Weighs In On Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

Yates was set to testify before a House committee back in March. That changed with the Justice Department, under the Trump administration, sent a letter to her attorney warning that there was a limit to what she could reveal.

President Trump took to Twitter to comment on the Russia probe.

The president also took to social media to tout the House approved Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare which now faces a tough battle in the Senate.

Sunday night President Barack Obama was in Boston where he received the annual Profile in Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Library. During his thank you speech, he made a case for preserving his signature health care law. He said congressional leaders should show political courage and not repeal it.

“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, but it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick,” Mr. Obama said.

During the speech, the former president pledged to continue to work to help the nation himself. He also thanked his wife, Michelle, and former Vice President Joe Biden, both of whom were in attendance.

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