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:
Here are 3 winners and 3 losers from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the other leading Democratic presidential primary candidates Wednesday night in the fieriest evening of the race so far.
His presence on the stage drew fire from the other candidates, but it also seemed to change the overall tone of the debate, with more attacks, counter-attacks, and passion than was generally seen earlier in the campaign.
Here’s a (necessarily subjective!) list of the winners and losers from the fray:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — Warren hit her stride right as the debate started by attacking Bloomberg for his record on the mistreatment of women, racist policies, and his tax returns. She repeatedly came back to skewer the former mayor, making herself the biggest and most notable presence in the debate. But importantly, she also continuously brought the discussion back to the issues she cares about — like expanding health care, environmental justice, and consumer protection — while getting in digs at the other candidates on the stage.
Michael Bloomberg ‘lost everything’ in Las Vegas: MSNBC analyst
Senior editor for "The Root," Jason Johnson, concluded that the biggest loser of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas Wednesday was Michael Bloomberg, but not merely because of his debate performance.
"The big new name was going to be Michael Bloomberg," he said. "This was probably the most expensive night in Vegas I've ever seen. He lost everything. This guy has spent $320 million. He had the opportunity to stand on stage, and appear to be an equal, and he looked bored. He looked disenchanted. He stumbled over obvious questions that anybody would have anticipated about sexual harassment and stop and frisk. I thought it was a bad night for him."
Pro-immigration protesters interrupt Joe Biden’s closing statement at debate
Former Vice President Joe Biden's closing statement was interrupted by protesters at Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.
As Biden began his remarks, demonstrators began shouting about the Obama administration's record on deportations.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 20, 2020