President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn, according to two former Obama administration officials.
Obama had previously fired Mr. Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He allegedly told Trump that he would have profound concerns about Flynn becoming a top national security aide.
Trump ignored that warning and eventually named Flynn as the head of national security. Flynn was quickly forced to resign after it was revealed he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he held with a Russian ambassador during the Trump campaigns attempt to win the U.S. Presidency.
Trump and Obama met in the Oval Office on November 10 for a 90-minute session in which President Obama promised to do everything in his power to support the transition to Trump’s administration.
During a broad discussion of personnel issues, Mr. Flynn’s name up and Obama voiced his concerns over Flynn’s management of the D.I.A. and his connections to Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.
Obama also made it known that he was well aware of Flynn’s well-publicized trip in 2015 to Moscow and his various connections to Russian diplomats.
Just In Time For the Senate Committee
The revelation of the warning was revealed just after Sally Q. Yates testified in front of the Senate committee that she later raised her own concerns about Mr. Flynn’s Russia contacts with the incoming Trump administration.
Trump has tried to downplay those concerns on his favorite venue of choice, Twitter.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump tweeted.
“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.” An early version of the message misspelled “counsel,” Trump added.
Spicer Attempts To Defend Hiring Michael Flynn
During a press briefing, Sean Spicer said Obama “wasn’t exactly a fan of General Flynn’s,” since Mr. Obama fired Mr. Flynn in 2014.
“If President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn’t they suspend his security clearance, which they approved just months earlier?” Mr. Spicer said.
“Not only did they reaffirm it, but they took no steps to suspend it,” Spicer said.
Spicer didn’t address the fact that others in the GOP had concerns about Flynn’s role as National Security Advisor. Most specifically, Governer Chris Christie’s attempts to recommend that Flynn not be handed the role.
The warning went unheeded by the Trump administration and created quite the international political mess in the process.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.