Trump Knew About Flynn Problem Weeks Before Pence
Flynn could be prosecuted if he lied to FBI
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2017 4:17 AM CST
Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn shake hands in the White House Friday.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – President Trump knew that Mike Flynn had misled VP Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador weeks before Pence was informed, it emerged Tuesday as the national security adviser's resignation continued to rock the administration. Pence spokesman Marc Lotter tells the Washington Post that the vice president "became aware of incomplete information" on Feb. 9 following a Post story on the issue. The White House, however, says Trump and other top administration officials were briefed on the Justice Department's concerns about Flynn at least two weeks earlier. "It's not that he was being left out. It was a legal review," an administration source tells CNN. In other developments:

  • The FBI interviewed Flynn in late January after it warned the Trump administration that he could be blackmailed, the New York Times reports. If authorities determine that he lied during that interview, he could face felony charges.

  • In an interview with the Daily Caller hours before his resignation, Flynn insisted there were "no lines crossed" in his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. "It wasn't about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out," Flynn said, referring to former President Obama's expulsion of Russian diplomats in December. "It was basically, 'Look, I know this happened. We'll review everything.' I never said anything such as, 'We're going to review sanctions,' or anything like that."
  • Legal experts tell Politico that Flynn faces a real risk of prosecution if he wasn't truthful with the FBI, and claiming to have forgotten parts of the conversation probably won't work. Lawyer Mark Zaid says a puzzling aspect of the case is that, as a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn must have known that conversations with ambassadors from countries like Russia would be under surveillance.
  • Republican senators are among those calling for a full investigation of the Flynn affair, but he still has his defenders, including Rush Limbaugh. On Tuesday, the radio host described pressure on Flynn as a "political assassination" by the media, the Hill reports. "They think they have blood in the water, they've got a scalp, and they think they can get another and then another and then another and then another until finally they get Trump," he said.
  • The BBC reports that Pence and other top US officials will be in Europe later this week to reassure American allies—though NATO allies will apparently be untroubled by the departure of Flynn, who was seen as "a bizarre and destabilizing appointment."

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