White House was warned Trump aide Flynn a blackmail risk

"We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians", Yates told a Senate judiciary subcommittee, in a high-profile hearing on Russian meddling into the USA elections.

McGahn wanted to know why the Department of Justice was concerned if one White House official was lying to another, according to Yates.

She said she had warned him that Mr Flynn had apparently misled the administration about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. Trump, unmoved, hired him as national security adviser.

White House officials rejected the notion they tried to throw up a roadblock to her appearance before members of Congress. Spokesman Sean Spicer said March 28 that the administration had no objections and that he hoped Yates would testify - as she is scheduled to do at 2:30 p.m. ET Monday.

What criminal statutes did Flynn potentially violate? Something about the content of Flynn's calls with Russian officials had prompted the department's national security division to take a closer look.

Not only did Yates best the White House and its GOP allies on the facts, particularly when it comes to Trump ignoring her and President Obama's concerns that Flynn was compromised and susceptible to Russian blackmail, but she also destroyed them on the optics, which may be even more important to the former reality TV host.

"Logic would tell you that you don't want the Russians to have leverage over the national security adviser", Yates said.

Flynn had been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shortly beforehand, at the White House and without counsel present, she recalled.

Trump has dismissed the probe, as well as separate investigations by the FBI and the House of Representatives, and has repeatedly said his campaign had no ties to Russian Federation. The AP interviewed a host of former USA officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"To me, the evidence was overwhelming, and very compelling, that the Russians did this", Clapper testified, when asked about Trump's most recent assertions.

On CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront", Democratic Sen.

Clapper was also asked why the original report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not include the so-called "Russian dossier" which cropped up weeks later in the Trump administration.

"Why wouldn't you a fire a guy who did this?"

President Donald Trump, the human embodiment of the word narcissism, has a unusual tendency to tweet most freakish and factually incorrect things, be it a baseless story about former Miss Universe or a recent attack on ex-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, at all hours of the night. He said he had often left it to the FBI director, James B. Comey, to decide when to tell him about open criminal investigations.

Clapper's testimony was based on information gathered up until the time he retired on January 20.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, was asked whether Trump's business interests in Russian Federation might be a cause for concern.

The implication from both officials' testimonies was that there may, indeed, be evidence of collusion - this after months of the White House arguing that Clapper was clear there is no evidence.

Yates' appearance itself had been fraught with drama ever since House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes' delayed her House hearing at the last minute, as part of a chaotic three-week stretch that saw the House Russia investigation nearly fall apart and Nunes become the subject of a House ethics probe.

Hopefully, as the inquiries unfold, more Republicans will follow the example of Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, whose thoughtful questions to Clapper and the other witness, former acting attorney general Sally Yates, put his GOP colleagues to shame. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told Yates in a comment that immediately lit up Twitter.

And Texas GOP Sen. Yates was let go after she refused to endorse the ban, or fight court challenges against it, over doubts about its constitutionality. Nevertheless, several Republican senators on Monday attempted to smear her as a partisan Democrat.

The banner in question has now been taken down from Trump's Twitter page. A bipartisan inquiry is also well underway in the House and Senate.

The longtime prosecutor had kept a low profile until her brief tenure as acting attorney general, when she instructed government lawyers not to defend the president's first executive order on immigration temporarily barring entry to the United States for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries and refugees.