Speed Reads


CNN's Jake Tapper excoriates the Trump White House for blatant 'buck-passing' on Michael Flynn

On Thursday, the House Government Oversight Committee released documents showing that the Defense Intelligence Agency told retired Gen. Michael Flynn, right after former President Barack Obama fired him as DIA director in 2014, that he was constitutionally prohibited from taking money from foreign governments without explicit permission. He went on to take money from at least Russia and Turkey, and there is no record that he sought or received permission, the DIA says.

That news is shocking enough in itself, Jake Tapper said on CNN Thursday night, but it was accompanied by "some astounding attempts as well at buck-passing by the Trump White House." Flynn's lawyer said he did give the Pentagon prior warning of a paid speech he gave at a gala for Russian state news agency RT in Moscow. "You'll notice that that statement from Flynn's attorney does not address the issues of permission or the issue of payment," Tapper said. "Now, all of this might seem embarrassing for the White House, which — I think it's clear to say — did not do an adequate job of vetting the national security adviser before giving him the position."

Tapper noted how big a voice Flynn was in the Trump campaign, transition, and early days of the Trump administration, then played a clip of Flynn chanting "Lock her up" at the Republican National Convention. "That didn't age well," he deadpanned. Next, he played White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeatedly blaming Obama on Thursday for Trump's Flynn problems, because the Obama administration gave Flynn security clearance as late as last year.

Tapper wasn't having it. "To be fair to Sean, it is a legitimate question as to whether the Army and the Defense Department under Obama renewed Flynn's security clearance without sufficient diligence, especially given that Russian trip and the Russian money," he said. "But that is not the same thing as appointing and vetting Flynn to one of the top national security positions in the U.S. government — and remember, Obama fired Flynn from a lower position in the national security community." He explains why Obama fired him in the clip below. Peter Weber