Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that nobody could have been expected to catch ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s failures to disclose payments from foreign governments.
That’s a departure from White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who noted Thursday that Flynn’s security clearance was last issued during the Obama administration.
“We need to do a good job of vetting that, but that’s a complex issue, and I’m not sure anyone could be expected to find that,” Sessions told “Good Morning America.”
He told “Today” the same on Friday: “They do the best they can,” referring to the Trump transition team who vetted Flynn. “It’s impossible to know everything. I don’t know what they did in that case.”
Sessions noted to both programs that he didn’t expect to be involved in any potential investigation of Flynn, and he would not confirm that one existed. Flynn was forced to resign in February after revelations he had misled the Vice President about his discussions of sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
The chair and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday that Flynn could have broken the law by not disclosing payments from the Russian state-owned network RT, whose anniversary gala Flynn addressed in late 2015.
Flynn also retroactively filed paperwork after his ouster declaring that he had worked as a foreign agent on behalf of the Turkish government during the presidential campaign.
During his press briefing Thursday, Spicer was asked if “General Flynn came in with just the Obama administration vetting?” without any additional vetting from the Trump transition team.
“Why would you re-run a background check on someone who is the head of the Department of the Defense Intelligence Agency that had and did maintain a high-level security clearance?” Spicer replied.
“Are you comfortable with the level of vetting that was done?” Robach asked Sessions Friday.
“I’m comfortable that they’re working hard to do vetting, but it’s obvious that, often times, you don’t catch everything that might be a problem,” he replied. “I don’t know the facts of this case, and maybe there’s an explanation for it.”
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— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 28, 2017