Officials working in President Barack Obama’s administration said the former president warned President Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn.
The officials said Obama warned Trump about hiring Flynn during their 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office less than 48 hours after Trump was declared victorious in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
An Obama official said the former president’s concerns were related to the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling into the election.
“Flynn’s name kept popping up,” a senior Obama administration source told CNN.
One Trump administration official on Monday told NBC News that Obama made clear he was “not a fan of Michael Flynn” during the meeting. Another official said Obama’s remarks seemed like it was made jokingly.
Flynn was Trump’s first appointment as national security adviser. He was forced to resign after 24 days when information surfaced that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his involvement with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Flynn also previously served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency until he was forced out in 2014 due to internal disagreements.
Flynn’s involvement with Russia also extended to financial issues. On March 31, Flynn filed revised financial disclosure forms that included payments from three Russian companies with ties to the Kremlin prior to joining Trump’s campaign.
Flynn was paid $45,000 as a guest speaker by RT, the Russian state-sponsored news outlet regarded by the U.S. government as a propaganda instrument. He was also paid $22,500 by two companies with close ties to the Kremlin for speeches. The speeches occurred in December 2015, shortly before he formally became a foreign policy adviser to Trump.
The payments were not listed on Flynn’s first financial disclosure submitted to the federal government after Trump tapped him to be the national security adviser.
Trump has attempted to deflect blame by accusing Obama’s administration of giving Flynn security clearance.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump tweeted on Monday.
Susan Rice, Obama’s former U.S. national security adviser, said Flynn went through a process in the Defense Intelligence Agency to retain his security clearance, which is different from the vetting done for the appointment of a White House official.
“The Trump administration like every previous administration had an expectation and an obligation to vet to their satisfaction those individuals that the president was appointing to high positions, which is a separate and much more elaborate process than a security clearance,” Rice told CNN
.By Andrew V. Pestano