The Trump administration is blaming the Obama administration for the actions of the president’s former national security adviser.
At the press briefing Monday, Sean Spicer confirmed that Barack Obama warned Donald Trump about hiring Mike Flynn just days he won the election, but maintained “there were steps” his administration “could have taken” if they were truly concerned about Flynn’s behavior.
“The president doesn’t disclose details of meetings he has, which in this case was an hour-long meeting,” Spicer said. “It’s true President Obama made it known he wasn’t exactly a fan of General Flynn’s, which frankly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone given that Gen. Flynn had worked for President Obama and was an outspoken critic of his shortcomings — specifically related to his lack of strategy concerning ISIS.”
“The question you have to ask yourself is: if President Obama was clearly concerned, why didn’t he suspend Flynn’s security clearance, which they had re-approved months earlier? Additionally, why did they let Flynn go to Russia for a paid speaking engagement and receive a fee? There were steps they could have taken.”
“The idea that President Obama didn’t like the guy doesn’t seem shocking,” Spicer added.
Sean Spicer: “It’s true that President Obama made it known that he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn’s” https://t.co/o4ia72fZiA
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 8, 2017
Obama fired Flynn from his position as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Trump appointed him as his national security adviser in January after he spent months on the campaign trail with him, including speaking at the Republican National Convention in July. Trump has repeatedly defended his character since he was fired by the White House in January.
“If you knew what we knew at the time, which was that his security clearance and been re-approved in April of that year — and not only did they re-approve it, they took no steps to suspend it — the question has to be: what did they do if they had real concerns?” Spicer said to reporters.
“You don’t vet — on a security clearance, that’s why you have a security clearance. Everyone in the government goes through the same process, so that same process worked for Gen. Flynn as it did for me. There’s no difference.”
Spicer also said Trump stands by his decision to fire Flynn in January.
“I don’t think we’re going to relitigate this. The president made the right decision back then and he stands by that.”
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
Sally Yates, an Obama administration holdover who was the acting attorney general for just 10 days of the Trump administration before she was fired for refusing to uphold his travel ban, will testify before a Senate subcommittee about her discussions with the White House regarding Flynn Monday. Trump implied she leaked classified information to the Washington Post in a tweet hours before.
When asked if she is trustworthy, Spicer said “that’s not for us to decide.”
“I think the tweet speaks for itself. You don’t have to read too much into it.” (RELATED: Trump Implies Sally Yates Leaked Classified Information)