White House paints Yates as a 'political opponent'

Before assuming office, Mr. Flynn discussed with the Russian ambassador in Washington the possibility of relaxing USA sanctions, according to leaked media reports of intelligence intercepts, but there is no official version of what transpired in those conversations.

Tapper was reacting to Yates' testimony Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she laid out the timeline of events between informing the president that Flynn was potentially compromised and the president deciding to seek Flynn's resignation.

"After that time, they did what you should do frankly - is an element of due process", Spicer said.

"Why did the president wait 18 days to fire Mike Flynn after the White House was informed of his conduct and warned that he was a potential target for Russian blackmail?" asked Kaitlan Collins of The Daily Caller.

It's clear from recent revelations that President Obama and his holdovers had a morbid fear of Lt. Gen. Flynn, an anti-Islamic terror hawk, and were gunning for him early in the transition, long before rumors he was involved in any alleged Russian conspiracy.

Mr Obama also warned Mr Trump against hiring Mr Flynn to be part of his national security team when he met his successor in the Oval Office two days after the November election, two former Obama administration officials said on Monday. He also labeled her "not exactly someone excited about President Trump". Flynn resigned February 13 after being asked to step down.

As Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said to Yates, "Without that published report, and without the free press telling us a lot of what went on, Michael Flynn might still be sitting in the White House as national security adviser, because by January 30th, you were forced to resign, correct? And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians". "Biggest story today between (former Director of National Intelligence James) Clapper & Yates is on surveillance".

Notably, Trump's own White House requested the House and Senate investigations after he took to Twitter on a Saturday morning and accused Obama of tapping the phones in Trump Tower. "We told them that the vice president and others were entitled to know that the information they were conveying to the American people was not true".

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