Barack Obama knew.
Documents released yesterday that were used to exonerate President Trump’s new NSA General Flynn, prove that President Barack Obama was aware of the details of Michael Flynn’s intercepted phone calls on December 16 with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
On January 5, 2017, then-Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates attended an Oval Office meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to the newly declassified documents, including an FD-302 FBI witness report. They were discussing Russian election interference, along with national security adviser Susan Rice and other members of the national security council.
After the briefing, Obama asked Yates and Comey to “stay behind,” and said he had “learned of the information about Flynn” and his conversation with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions. Obama “specified that he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information.”
Former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik tweeted a screenshot of the bombshell evidence, that revealed all of the players in the Oval Office with former President Barack Obama only two weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, where they discussed the wiretapping of Trump’s incoming NSA General Michael Flynn.
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) May 8, 2020
Fox News reports – At that point, the documents showed, “Yates had no idea what the president was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can’t recall if he specified there was an ‘investigation.’ Comey did not talk about prosecution in the meeting.”
The exhibit continues: “It was not clear to Yates from where the President first received the information. Yates did not recall Comey’s response to the President’s question about how to treat Flynn. She was so surprised by the information she was hearing that she was having a hard time processing it and listening to the conversation at the same time.”
Yates, who was fired by the Trump administration after taking the extraordinary step of refusing to defend its travel ban executive order in court, would later say that she was concerned Flynn would be vulnerable to blackmail because of his interactions with Russia.
The Logan Act, an obscure statute, has never been used successfully in a criminal prosecution; enacted in 1799 in an era before telephones, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States government abroad. In its motion to dismiss Flynn’s case on Thursday, the DOJ noted that the law was an unserious dead letter.
Also released as an exhibit Thursday was a head-turning two-page document outlining why the FBI opened its counterintelligence probe into Flynn in August 2016. The FBI offered only three reasons: that Flynn was “cited as an adviser to the Trump team on foreign policy issues February 2016; he has ties to various state-affiliated entities of the Russian Federation, as reported by open-source information; and he traveled to Russia in December 2015, as reported by open-source information.”
The “state-affiliated entities” line was an apparent reference to Flynn’s paid appearance at a Moscow gala for Russian state TV network RT in 2015. Flynn also reportedly received thousands more in expenses covered by the network and in speech fees from other Russian firms, including some payments that he initially didn’t disclose on ethics forms. The payments raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, although Republicans pointed out that many other prominent officials, including Bill Clinton, have traveled to Russia for highly paid speaking engagements.
A previous memo from Rice stated that Biden also stayed behind after the main briefing had ended.
Around the same time Barack Obama was discussing the wiretapping of General Flynn in the Oval Office, he was defending the actions of the FBI and the challenges agents face when it comes to being independent of politics. During one of his last press conferences, Obama assured the media that he stays out of the investigation or prosecution decisions related to the FBI, saying he’s “tried to be really strict in my own behavior about preserving the independence of law enforcement—uh, free from my own judgments and political assessments in some cases,” adding, “I don’t know why I would stop now.”
On October 28, 2013, during James Comey’s swearing-in as the new FBI director, President Trump praised him, saying,
“He’s got the resume,” and that he chose James Comey because he, “has a strong sense of right and wrong.”
Watch, as the newly anointed FBI Director James Comey, tells the audience that the FBI’s reputation for integrity is a gift. Telling them that “It is a gift that must be protected and earned every single day. “We protect that gift by making mistakes and admitting them, by making promises and keeping them, and by realizing that nothing, no case, no source, no fear of embarrassment, is worth jeopardizing the gift of integrity.
Wow—that didn’t age well.