obstruction of justice?
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly going over the 18 days between when White House officials learned that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmailing and when he was finally fired on Feb. 13, 2017 with a fine-tooth comb, NBC News reports. Questions surrounding the more than two-week period are at the heart of a potential obstruction of justice case against President Trump himself, people familiar with the investigation revealed.
"The obstruction of justice question could hinge on when Trump knew about the content of Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the transition, which were at the crux of [then acting Attorney General Sally] Yates's warning [to White House Counsel Don McGahn], and when the president learned Flynn had lied about those conversations to the FBI," NBC News writes based on conversations with such sources.
Yates told McGahn on Jan. 26 that Flynn had lied to senior members of President Trump's administration about sanctions conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At that point, Vice President Mike Pence had already mistakenly reassured the public that Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak, making Flynn vulnerable to blackmail since Russia would have then become aware he had misled senior administration officials. McGahn, also on Jan. 26, reportedly briefed Trump himself about Yates' warning. Trump has claimed he didn't ask Flynn to resign after that initial conversation because McGahn did not make it "sound like an emergency."
"Mueller is trying to determine why Flynn remained in his post for 18 days after Trump learned of Yates' warning, according to two people familiar with the probe," NBC News adds. "He appears to be interested in whether Trump directed him to lie to senior officials, including Pence, or the FBI, and if so why, the sources said." Read the full scoop at NBC News.