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The former officials say Obama raised general concerns about Flynn with Trump and told the incoming president there were better people for the national security post.

President Trump has hired a private lawyer to inform Sen. Flynn denied that they had discussed U.S. sanctions, an assertion echoed by Vice President Mike Pence and the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.

The Associated Press reported last week that one sign taken as a warning by Obama officials about Flynn's contacts with Kislyak was a request by a member of Trump's own transition team to Obama's national security officials for the classified Central Intelligence Agency profile of Kislyak. The president's national security adviser, she said, had lied to the vice president about his Russian contacts and was vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

He opened the hearing with an implicit rebuke of President Donald Trump and his alternative explanations for the interference in the election.

Trump tweeted about how the subcommittee should ask Yates who he fired, about "classified information" published by news outlets "soon after she explained it to WH council". She said she was not.

Trump shouldered into the conversation in the morning, tweeting that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Lt. Gen. Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon. That was why they ignored Yates's warning, why Trump ignored Obama's warning, and only fired Flynn once the media made Flynn's being compromised by the Russians a big story.

The problem with that explanation is this: Yates talked to White House counsel Don McGahn about Flynn being compromised by the Russians on January 26 and January 27.

He continued to praise Flynn, and waited 18 days after Yates' warning before asking for Flynn's resignation after it emerged he had had extensive contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, and had not given a full account of them to other White House officials. He said Flynn's security clearance had been renewed in April 2016, and the Obama White House had not stepped in to revoke it.

Clapper was instrumental in the USA intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation sought to boost Trump's chances of winning the election by hacking into the computer of the campaign chief for Clinton.

Ms Yates was appointed by the Obama administration and was sacked by Mr Trump on January 30 for refusing to defend his travel ban.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence under Obama, testified as well on Monday. At one point, Trump even seriously considered tapping him as his running mate.

Yesterday, former acting attorney general of the United States, Sally Yates, finally got to tell her whole story.

Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer said in response that if Obama "was seriously concerned" about Flynn's connections to Russian Federation or other foreign countries, he should have withheld Flynn's security clearance.

Obama fired Flynn from his defense intelligence job.

The White House downplayed the hearing by pointing out the lack of a smoking gun - a reality that so far has been central to the administration's claims that the Russian Federation story is an invention of Democrats smarting at losing the election.

Then he plastered a message onto his Twitter banner declaring that Clapper had "reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is "no evidence" of collusion w/ Russian Federation and Trump".

But she laid out the timeline of her contacts with the White House, saying she called McGahn two days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation had interviewed Flynn to request a face-to-face meeting.

"They are attuned, it seems, more to defending the president than to taking care of national security business in an appropriate way", Whitehouse said.