President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to defend ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn ahead of expected blockbuster testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee later 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 ahead of the testimony from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
Late last month, this line of defence was first presented by 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, the former deputy attorney general, 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.
Prior to Flynn’s ouster, it was reported in multiple outlets that Yates told White House counsel Donald McGahn of Flynn’s misleading statements on his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which she argued could expose him to potential blackmail from the Russian government. Flynn was forced to step down after just 24 days on the job following multiple outlets reporting he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations he had with Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration.
Just prior to the president’s tweets, Axios reported he was not pleased with administration officials expressing contempt for the ousted 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.
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