Justice Department Warned White House That Flynn Could Be Vulnerable To Russian Blackmail, Officials
The White House was informed by the acting attorney general that Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, as she also warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Sally Q. Yates and a Senior career national security official to the White House counsel delivered the message which was prompted by concerns that Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, he told the Vice President Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election.
In the last days of Obama administration, James R. Clapper Jr., who was the director of national intelligence, and John Brennan who was the CIA director, shared the same concerns as Yates and they also concurred with her recommendation to inform Trumps administration. They feared that Flynn had placed himself in a compromising position and they thought it wise to let Mike Pence know that he had been misled.
Intelligence officials and Yates were highly suspicious that Flynn could be in violation of an obscure U.S. statute that's known as the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country. Other law enforcement officials knew that there was little chance of bringing against Flynn a case related to the Logan Act. The embattled national security adviser faced an uncertain future on Monday as White House officials delivered conflicting messages about whether he still enjoys the confidence of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
The Justice Department had also warned the White House that Mr. Flynn had misled senior Trump administration officials on whether he had discussed American sanctions against Vladimir V. Putins regime in a phone call with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. shortly before the inauguration and that he could be open to blackmail by Russia. Following the growing concerns on Flynns interaction with Russia, the F.B.I. has been examining Mr. Flynn's phone calls with Russian officials and his management of the National Security Council.
Two defense officials have also reported that the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government in a trip that he had taken to Moscow back in 2015.