Obama warned Trump about Flynn, former officials say

Condoleezza Rice visits 'FOX And Friends' at FOX Studios

The information on Monday, from officials who requested anonymity in order to disclose the private conversation, came hours before former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was to testify to Congress about concerns she raised to the Trump administration about contacts between Flynn and the Russian ambassador.

He was sacked in February for concealing the nature of these contacts.

The Associated Press meanwhile reported last week that one sign taken as a warning by Obama administration officials about Flynn's contacts with Kislyak was a request by a member of Trump's own transition team made to national security officials in the Obama White House for the classified Central Intelligence Agency profile of Kislyak.

But Mr Spicer said that should not come as a surprise "given that General Flynn had worked for President Obama [and] was an outspoken critic of President Obama's shortcomings specifically as it related to his lack of strategy confronting Isis and other threats around that were facing America".

Yates is expected to testify that she warned McGahn 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.

Cruz, who seemed to take issue with Yates not agreeing with the lawfulness of Trump's executive order that would bar entry to the country from several majority Muslim countries, seemed to indicate that the president can impose limitations on people entering the country based on national security grounds, citing a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which grants the president authority to bar "any class" of foreigner from entering the United States.

In February, Spicer told reporters that Yates had "informed the White House counsel that they wanted to give a heads up to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict".

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"General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration - but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that", he tweeted Monday morning.

Yates was the attorney-general for only 10 days - an Obama Administration holdover whose role was to quietly manage the Justice Department until the Trump Administration could quickly replace her. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired by the Obama administration in 2014.

He had been pushed out by Obama in 2014 from his job as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, during the Democratic president's term in office. Mr. McGahn asked Yates how Flynn did in the interview, but Yates said she could not answer.

Flynn was sacked from the DIA in 2014 for what officials familiar with the issue said was a disruptive management style that included instructing analysts to find intelligence substantiating improbable theories that some subordinates came to call "Flynn facts".

She said Monday she did not - and that she had revealed no classified information herself.

Marshall Billingslea, a former Pentagon and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official, wanted the information for Flynn, his boss. President Obama himself that month told one of his closest advisers that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which by then had been investigating Trump associates' possible ties to Russian Federation for about six months, seemed particularly focused on Flynn. She was sacked when she said the Justice Department would not defend Trump's executive order seeking to bar travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Yates began testifying before a Senate subcommittee that plans to grill her about discussions she had with the White House - testimony that was delayed for more than a month after a previously scheduled appearance before a House committee was cancelled amid a legal dispute over whether she would even be allowed to discuss the subject. Not most of the Republican senators on the committee, though.

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