Mike Flynn could have been selected as vice president if not for a single bad TV appearance while Donald Trump was making his decision, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
In a Thursday morning appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Haberman noted that Flynn was “loyal” and for that reason, President Donald Trump never intended to let him go.
“Mike Flynn was loyal. That was the main category,” Haberman said. “Mike Flynn was considered for VP briefly. Did very poorly on a Sunday show outing, which was a key factor for this president and that would be the end of that. You have to look at a major moment which accelerated Mike Flynn. Chris Christie and Jeff Sessions had not recommended Flynn for any higher appointment. He did not think that was up to his potential. He wanted the State Department. One other job, defense or national security.”
Haberman said that it was only when Christie was gone, that Flynn was able to push “for those with the Trump family and other members of the transition.” That accelerated Trump’s decision to put Flynn in a higher position.
“I don’t know how much is Trump personally saying ‘I have to be loyal to my guy’ versus the advice he was, either way, the White House Counsel Office has not taken the steps we are used to seeing White House counsel take to say this is a problem,” she continued. “Flynn telling the White House ‘I’m under investigation for having registered as a foreign agent for another government and helping to kill certain proposals’ as far as we understand from reporting. That is problematic. It does make you wonder what else may come out as this is pulled out.”
“President Obama warned against this,” said CNN’s David Chalian. “Now we learn that Michael Flynn told [White House Counsel) Don McGann in early January he was under federal investigation for his work with Turkey throughout the campaign. And yet, none of that was red flag enough to not be named national security adviser. Sally Yates warning, of course, came after he was in the position. There were early warnings here. There were people in the transition operation set up during the campaign that were saying to then candidate Trump: ‘I’m not sure Michael Flynn is the right guy for the White House. You may want to keep your distance from this guy.’ The warnings were there.”
Still, Flynn was chosen. Chalian noted that FBI Director James Comey’s memo noted Trump was defending Flynn as a “good guy” right up until the end.
“He says ‘Trump was still saying after he fired him’ and we’re in the middle of February after the warnings. ‘Let this go. Mike Flynn’s a good guy,'” Chalian recalled. “He said the day he resigned. He talked about Flynn’s character. Donald Trump has seen in Michael Flynn in his relationship with him a loyal soldier who was with him and on the campaign with him. Stood up with him and impressed by the general factor. There was nothing. No matter how many red flags swaying Donald Trump away from the opinion.”
Co-host Chris Cuomo noted Trump needs to learn that his loyalty is to the people of the United States and not to the people that he likes that are around him. His second point was that Flynn has always said that he was clear about who he was working for and who he was working for.
“It was heard and acknowledged and not respected,” Haberman noted.
Cuomo closed the conversation recalling his earlier point that Trump must learn he has a duty to the American people and the Constitution. “The question is what were people choosing as a priority?”
The comments from Flynn about disclosing his investigation also contradict Vice President Mike Pence saying that he knew nothing. As the head of the transition, replacing Christie, Pence was responsible for ensuring Flynn was vetted. It was revealed Thursday morning that Flynn was working to set up back-channels between Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin.
Watch the discussion below: