Reports: Obama Warned Trump Not To Hire Flynn As National Security Adviser

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump shake hands following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Former President Barack Obama cautioned his successor not to hire Michael Flynn as national security adviser in a one-on-one sit-down in the Oval Office two days after the November election, NBC News reported Monday.

Three anonymous Obama administration officials who spoke to NBC confirmed that Obama, who fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, warned Trump against bringing him into this highly sensitive role.

CNN and the Associated Press published stories corroborating this reporting.

Flynn resigned in February after the Trump administration said that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about multiple meetings he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. before inauguration. He is now one of several Trump campaign figures under investigation by Congress and the FBI for potentially coordinating with Russia as part of that country’s interference in the U.S. election.

One Trump White House official told NBC that Obama made it it clear he was “not a fan” of Flynn during their conversation, while another said it seemed like the former president’s comment about Flynn was meant as a joke.

News of Obama’s previously undisclosed warning came hours before former acting attorney general Sally Yates, who also reportedly warned the White House about Flynn’s ties to Russia, was scheduled to testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. CNN reported that Yates is expected to reveal she forcefully warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was lying about discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, almost three weeks before Flynn was ousted.

Trump is trying to cast the career Justice Department prosecutor as a tool of the Obama administration, writing on Twitter Monday that Yates should be asked “under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.”

Trump also blamed the Obama administration for failing to properly vet Flynn, who registered as a foreign agent after leaving the White House.

“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration, but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump wrote in a second tweet.

Trump did not mention that Obama dismissed Flynn over concerns about his temperament and complaints from employees at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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