Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | Michael Flynn | justice | department | national security adviser

Wash Post: Justice Dept Feared Flynn Compromised by Russians

Image: Wash Post: Justice Dept Feared Flynn Compromised by Russians

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

Monday, 13 Feb 2017 09:05 PM

The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month the Justice Department and the FBI feared National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Monday night.

Officials believed Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, the Post added.

According to the Post, Sally Yates told the White House she believed Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The message from Yates was prompted by concerns Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others he did not discuss sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the Post reported.

According to the Post, the FBI had intercepts and wrote a secret report summarizing Flynn's discussions with Kislyak.

Yates, then the Justice Department's deputy attorney general, considered Flynn's comments in an intercepted call to be "highly significant" and "potentially illegal," one unnamed official told the Post.

Then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA director John Brennan shared Yates' concerns and concurred with her recommendation to inform the Trump White House, the Post reported.

Yates and other intelligence officials suspected Flynn could be in violation of an obscure U.S. statute known as the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country, but knew there was little chance of bringing a case against him using a statute that has never been used in a prosecution, the Post reported.

The internal debate over how to handle the intelligence on Flynn and Kislyak came to a head Jan. 19, Obama's last full day in office.

Yates, Clapper, and Brennan argued for briefing the incoming administration so the new president could decide how to deal with the matter. The officials discussed options, including telling Pence, the incoming White House counsel, the incoming chief of staff or President Donald Trump himself.

Clapper and Brennan left their positions when Trump was sworn in Jan. 20. Yates stayed on until Jan. 30, when she was fired for refusing to defend Trump's executive order temporarily barring refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries.

A senior Trump administration official told the Post the White House was aware of the matter, adding: "We've been working on this for weeks."

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The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month the Justice Department and the FBI feared National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Monday night.
Michael Flynn, justice, department, national security adviser
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2017-05-13
Monday, 13 Feb 2017 09:05 PM
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