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Obama Had Plans to Stop Flynn

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool

Now that the Department of Justice has officially called for the criminal case against General Michael Flynn to be dismissed, his leftist enemies are holding onto any last justification they have for his targeting.

The narrative for years has been that President Obama "warned" incoming President Trump not to hire Flynn as his national security advisor.

"President Barack Obama personally warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn to serve as his national security adviser, three former Obama administration officials said," the Associated Press reported in May 2017. "In an Oval Office meeting with Trump two days after the November election, Obama told his successor that there were more qualified candidates for the crucial White House post, according to one official. Flynn was fired as head of military intelligence by the Obama administration in 2014 amid questions about his management style and reports of insubordination. He became a fierce critic of Obama's policies and a fervent Trump supporter."

This wasn't a warning, but instead a political and personnel preference voiced by Obama two days after the election. He didn't like General Flynn, who publicly opposed his policies and certainly didn't want to see him rewarded with a high profile White House position. Obama knew Flynn had intentions to reverse years of bad and dangerous foreign policy doctrine. The former president intended to do his part to keep that from happening. This was plan A.

When President-elect Trump ignored President Obama's suggestion and hired Flynn anyway, Obama went to plan B.

Between November 8, 2016, and January 20, 2017, Flynn was unmasked dozens of times by 39 Obama administration officials. Vice President Joe Biden, CIA Director John Brennan, DNI James Clapper, UN Ambassador Samantha Power and others were regularly engaged in the process.

Obama officials have justified the unmasking by saying they were concerned by Flynn's conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and that he may be compromised. Yet, that argument falls apart with the slightest scrutiny. If Obama officials were truly worried about U.S. national security being compromised by Flynn, who they essentially (although falsely) deemed a Russian agent, they would have told President Trump about the concern. That's not the warning President Obama sent to incoming President Trump two days after the election.

At the same time of most of the unmasking, the FBI had a case open on Flynn dubbed Crossfire Razor.

After listening to his phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak, FBI agents found "no derogatory information" and concluded classified information had never been shared. This prompted agents working on the case to move toward closing the case by early January, but disgraced FBI Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division Peter Strzok demanded the case be left open due to "seventh floor involvement." That was code for FBI Director James Comey and President Obama. It was time for plan C.

On January 5, 2017, one day after Strzok instructed the case be kept open, President Obama held an Oval Office meeting with heads of the intelligence community. According to then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice and congressional documents, Obama knew about the FBI's wiretapping of Flynn's calls, wanted to know if he should be "treated differently" and asked FBI Director James Comey to keep him updated on developments.

On January 24, 2017, Comey sent a number of FBI agents to the White House to speak with Flynn.

"I sent them. Something we, I probably wouldn't have done or gotten away with in a more organized investigation, a more organized administration. In the George W. Bush administration or the Obama administration," Comey said during an interview in December 2019. "In both of those administration's, there was process so if the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official you would work through the White House counsel and there were discussions and approvals and it would be there and I thought, it's early enough. Let's just send a couple of guys over."

Handwritten notes, released a few months after Comey's comments, show that meeting was a set up to "get Flynn to lie" or to "get him fired." The goal wasn't to extract information to protect the United States from a national security threat.

After Comey sent the agents, President Trump was informed by the FBI, which he trusted as a new president at the time, that Flynn had "lied." Flynn was fired and ultimately would face criminal prosecution from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Obama finally had his way. His so-called "warning" about Flynn wasn't about protecting the country. It was about settling a personal score and purposely damaging an incoming administration.


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