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How could Pence lead the transition and not know Flynn was compromised? Maddow reacts to Yates testimony

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VP Mike Pence (Photo: Screen capture)

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said Sally Yates’ congressional testimony Monday raised new questions about Vice President Mike Pence’s role in the widening Russia scandal.

Yates, then acting attorney general, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she warned the White House counsel twice that Mike Flynn, the national security adviser, appeared to have been compromised by Russia and vulnerable to blackmail.

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The Trump administration fired Yates on Jan. 30, four days after first alerting the White House about Flynn, who stayed on as national security adviser for another 18 days.

“We had known before (Monday) that whatever happened with Mike Flynn, the White House has been telling a story about him that does not add up or make sense,” Maddow said.

She turned her attention to the vice president, who replaced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as head of the presidential transition on Nov. 11.

“Vice President Mike Pence, he was the head of the transition when the transition was notified multiple times, including in person twice by Flynn’s lawyers, and in writing by Congress, that Mike Flynn had taken foreign payments,” Maddow said.

“Foreign payments were also the subject of multiple contemporaneous press reports,” she continued. “NBC News reports that the Trump transition had direct knowledge of Mike Flynn’s payments from foreign sources, but nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence, head of the transition, he proclaims he was perfectly ignorant of that fact until weeks after Mike Flynn was fired.”

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According to the Trump administration, Flynn was forced to resign because he had misled Pence and other White House officials about his contacts with the Russian ambassador — but Maddow said that stretched credibility.

“Whether or not you care about what the vice president knew about Mike Flynn, whether you care about that subject itself or not, the bigger question is why are they telling this lie about it?” Maddow said. “Why are they lying about this stuff? They are telling stories about Mike Flynn that make no sense given we now know about the facts.”

She said Yates’ testimony, along with multiple news reports over a period of months, suggested Pence and other administration officials should have known about Flynn’s ties to Turkey and Russia despite public statements to the contrary.

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“It is not good for the White House that they cannot come up with a story about Mike Flynn that has the benefit of being true,” Maddow said. “That was a problem for them before (Monday), it became a much bigger problem for them after (Monday’s hearing). Before (Monday), we knew that he had inexplicably waited 18 days after being warned about Mike Flynn before they fired him. (Monday), that delay became all the more inexplicable and even a little bit scary.”

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2020 Election

Trump ‘is hemorrhaging support’ and is flailing badly to win it back: reporter

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President Donald Trump is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in the polls, and one veteran journalist said that he seems clueless about how to stop the bleeding.

Journalist Alex Wagner, the host of Showtime's "The Circus," told CNN on Wednesday that President Donald Trump's flailing attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci and "60 Minutes'" Lesley Stahl are not part of some grand strategy to stage a comeback in the 2020 presidential election.

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Progressives unite for last-ditch effort to delay Amy Coney Barrett vote — by impeaching Bill Barr

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Progressive activists are urging House Democrats to essentially kill two birds with one stone by impeaching Attorney General Bill Barr -- which would delay the confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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2020 Election

Sam Elliott narrated a powerful new Joe Biden ad — and it aired during Game 1 of the World Series

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"There is so much we can do if we choose to take on problems and not each other," the narrator continues. "And choose a president who brings out our best."

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