Fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates said in an interview Tuesday that "there was nothing casual" about warnings she gave the Trump administration about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Yates disputed White House press secretary Sean Spicer's characterization of her warnings that Flynn could be open to blackmail by Russia as a "heads up."
"I absolutely did not use the term 'heads up.' "There was nothing casual about this," Yates said.
"I called [White House counsel] Don McGahn and told him I had a very sensitive matter that I needed to discuss with him that day and it needed to be in person," Yates said. She added: "And Mr. McGahn got it. He knew that this was serious and that it was important."
President Donald Trump in an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt last week said McGahn met him after the meeting with Yates and it didn't sound like the Flynn issue was an emergency.
"When you call the White House counsel and say you have got to meet with them that day about something you can't talk about on the phone, and you tell them that their national security adviser may be able to be blackmailed by the
Yates said in the interview that she didn't recommend that Flynn
Yates' CNN interview was her first on television since she was fired. The interview was taped on Monday, before the news about a memo by fired FBI Director James Comey documenting a request by Trump for Comey to drop his probe into Flynn.
Yates said she was informed of her firing by a letter that arrived at her office. After directing the Justice Department to not defend the executive order she said she knew dismissal was a possibility, but that it still was a "punch in the gut" when the letter arrived.
"But to have done anything else I felt like would have been an abdication of my responsibility," Yates said. "So I wasn't looking to be fired. But given the situation that I was in, I couldn't have done anything else and lived with myself."