Trump signed the ban on January 27, the same day Yates met for a second time with White House counsel Donald McGahn about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn's forced February resignation followed media reports that he had discussed US -imposed sanctions on Russian Federation with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period, which was contrary to the public representations of the Trump White House. Trump's detractors say it is beyond doubt that Muslims were the ban's intended target, but the administration says it is motivated strictly by national security concerns, an area where USA presidents have wide powers.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, specifically about the doings of Michael Flynn.
Spicer described Yates, who was an Obama appointee, as "someone who is not exactly a supporter of the president's agenda".
The controversy began during the transition period when Flynn spoke over the phone with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Yates said Trump's travel ban, which targeted several Muslim-majority counties, was "unlawful", and added, "All arguments have to be based on truth". White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer minimized the warnings saying that "If President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn't they suspend his security clearance, which they approved just months earlier?" President Trump can be forgiven for ignoring her warning.
At just 24 days, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had the shortest tenure as White House National Security Adviser of anyone to ever hold that post. "The national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians", Yates testified.
"President Obama's former Director of National Intelligence and his former acting CIA Director have both said they have seen no evidence of collusion".
Yates was appointed Deputy Attorney General under President Barack Obama, but had previously been appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. He said then she informed the White House counsel's office that there were materials relevant to the situation involving Flynn.
When pressed, Spicer said Yates was "widely rumored" to have backed Clinton, although Yates was barred from any public political activity.
The presence of her co-witness, Washington veteran and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, also had the effect of bolstering Yates' comments. But President Donald Trump waited 18 days before showing Flynn the door for lying to Pence. Flynn was sacked as head of military intelligence by the Obama administration in 2014 amid questions about his management style and reports of insubordination. He's dismissed FBI and congressional investigations into his campaign's possible ties to the election meddling as a "hoax" driven by Democrats bitter over losing the White House.