White House press secretary Sean Spicer continued to dig a deeper hole for his boss Thursday when he blamed former President Barack Obama for giving security clearance to Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn in the spring of 2016.
Flynn actually had his clearance revoked in 2014 when he was “allowed to retire.” CNN’s Jake Tapper said that Spicer’s accusations are fair if it turns out the Army and Defense Department “renewed Flynn’s clearance without sufficient diligence given to that Russian trip and money.”
Tapper noted, however, that doing so is not the same as appointing and vetting Flynn to serve as the top security advisor in the country.
“Remember, Obama fired Flynn from a lower position in the national security community,” Tapper said. “You might wonder why was Flynn fired? Last July when Flynn was being considered for the VP slot, Flynn wrote an op-ed the military fired me for calling the radicals jihadis. That was different from when [former Secretary of State Colin] Powell told his son when he had been told, ‘abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management. He has been and was right wing nutty ever since.'” he said citing hacked emails.
While interviewing Ret. Rear Admiral John Kirby, Tapper asked him to walk through the process and differences between a security clearance and the vetting process to become a national security advisor. Kirby explained the clearance is merely a portion of the vetting process.
“They looked at my social media footprints and almost every transcript I gave at the Pentagon. Interviews I’d done,” Kirby revealed. “There was a very extensive process. So, if the transition team did this, they have to have a record of it and there would be no reason why they wouldn’t turn that over. It’s absolutely just ridiculous to me to pitch it away on the Obama administration. Yes, he got his clearance while President Obama was still in office, but that’s one piece of a much larger process.”
You can watch the full interview below:
Former four-star general speculates whistleblower scandal could involve Trump giving Putin an American
It remains unclear exactly what were the issues cited by the whistleblower who expressed concern at actions of President Donald Trump as a threat to national security, at least one of which involved a promise the president allegedly made in a phone call with a foreign leader.
But former Gen. Barry McCaffrey had a chilling thought about what it could possibly be — and posted his speculation on Twitter:
SHEER SPECULATION. Is it possible that the WHISTLEBLOWER issue was Trump discussing with Putin handing over our former US Ambassador to Moscow Mike McFaul to Russian authorities? https://t.co/0PnQn0upiA
House Judiciary Committee considering vote to hold Corey Lewandowski in contempt of Congress: report
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the House Judiciary Committee is considering a vote to hold President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in contempt of Congress, after a lengthy hearing on Wednesday in which Lewandowski aggressively attacked members of the committee and admitted that he routinely lies to media outlets.
This development comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told members of her caucus that she supports holding Lewandowski in contempt.
‘This person has to be very senior’: Ambassador McFaul breaks down two possible whistleblower motivations
America's former ambassador to Russia on Thursday broke down what we know about the whistleblower alleging wrongdoing by President Donald Trump.
Ambassador Michael McFaul was interviewed by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber on "The Beat."
"In my understanding, have -- having worked closely with the intelligence community, when I was in the government -- nobody that I know would go to these steps unless there was something really serious. This is not about the inappropriate use of classified material," McFaul noted. "It’s something much bigger."
"We’re talking about someone who is at a senior enough level to have this level of access, who knows the rules and knows they can lose their job or worse," Melber noted.