President Trump’s team knew weeks before the inauguration that Michael T. Flynn was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to a new report.
Despite Flynn’s disclosure, Trump made him national security advisor – privy to state secrets, The New York Times reported.
Flynn made the disclosure on Jan. 4 to Donald F. McGahn II, the transition team’s top lawyer and now White House counsel. A second conversation was held a few days later, sources told the Times.
His position in the White House gave Flynn access to nearly every secret held by U.S. intelligence as well as access to POTUS, despite warnings from former President Barack Obama, who fired Flynn in 2014 as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The White House declined to comment, according to the Times.
Flynn was one of the first dominoes to fall – he was fired after 24 days on the job when the investigation became public knowledge. Sally Q. Yates, who was acting attorney general until she was fired by Trump on Jan. 30, warned the White House that Flynn was ripe for Russian blackmail for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his dealings with the Russian ambassador.
According to a memo from James B. Comey, the FBI director who was fired by Trump on May 9, Trump asked the bureau to drop its investigation of Flynn – a move seen by some as an obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense. A few days before he was fired, Comey asked the FBI for more money to investigate the Trump team's ties to Russia and potential collusion between the two that affected the 2016 election results.
On Wednesday, bowing to pressure from both sides of the aisle, the deputy attorney general appointed Robert Mueller, former FBI chief, as special counsel to oversee what acting FBI Director Andrew G. McCabe called in a congressional hearing a “highly significant” investigation into Trump's and his associates' possible collusion with Russia to sway the election.