Trump defends Michael Flynn ahead of blockbuster Sally Yates testimony
President Donald Trump used Twitter on Monday to defend ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn before expected blockbuster testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommitteelater in the afternoon.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump wrote.
Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general who was fired as acting attorney general after refusing to defend an executive order by Trump in January, is set to testify about Flynn on Monday.
The line of defense used by Trump was first presented late last month by the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, who said Flynn passed a security clearance during President Barack Obama’s final year in office and did not need to be vetted again before being appointed as national security adviser.
Trump followed up with a subsequent tweet, offering up a question for members of the Senate subcommittee that Yates will testify in front of at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to” the White House counsel, he wrote.
Flynn was forced to step down after just 24 days as national security adviser after multiple outlets reported that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, before Trump’s inauguration.
Before Flynn’s ouster, it was reported in multiple outlets that Yates had told White House counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn had made misleading statements on his contact with Kislyak that she argued could expose Flynn to blackmail from the Russian government.
Just before Trump’s Monday tweets, the news website Axios reported that Trump was not pleased with administration officials expressing contempt for Flynn. As reporter Jonathan Swan wrote, Flynn “isn’t missed” by White House officials, even though Trump has repeatedly defended him after pushing him out of the administration.
“Trump wants any of his staff who’ve been feeding negative lines about Flynn to the media to stop immediately,” Axios reported late Sunday.