Obama knew details of wiretapped Flynn phone calls, surprising top DOJ official, declassified docs show
President Obama was aware of the details of then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn's intercepted December 2016 phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, apparently shocking then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, according to documents released Thursday as exhibits to the government's motion to dismiss the Flynn case.
Obama's unexpectedly intimate knowledge of the details of Flynn's calls raised eyebrows because of his own history with Flynn. Obama personally had warned the Trump administration against hiring Flynn, and made clear he was "not a fan," according to multiple officials. Obama fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.
On January 5, 2017, Yates attended an Oval Office meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to the newly declassified documents. They were discussing Russian election interference, along with national security adviser Susan Rice and other members of the national security council.
After the briefing, Obama asked Yates and Comey to "stay behind," and said he had "learned of the information about Flynn" and his conversation with Russia's ambassador about sanctions. Obama "specified that he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information."
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