Officials who served under Former President Barack Obama confirmed May 8 that he had urged President Donald Trump not to bring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn into his administration as a national security adviser. Trump did not heed Obama's advice, but fired Flynn after his repeated contacts with a Russian ambassador were uncovered.
In November 2016, Obama personally warned Trump during their private meeting after the election not to install Flynn in his new administration. Flynn, who had served in the Obama administration as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency until his firing in 2014, worked as Trump's national security adviser during his 2016 campaign, CNN reports.
Obama told Trump that the FBI's investigation into Russia's alleged meddling the 2016 election had turned up worrying evidence against the adviser.
"Flynn's name kept popping up," an anonymous senior Obama administration staffer said.
On Feb. 13, Trump abruptly fired Flynn after it was discovered that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, USA Today reports.
"Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador," Flynn said in an official statement.
As early as November 2016, Flynn had been warned by the Trump transition team that his phone calls with Kislyak would draw the attention of the U.S. intelligence community, according to The Washington Post.
In December 2016, the U.S. intelligence community reportedly recording Flynn discussing the easing of U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak, despite having been warned that the ambassador's communications were being monitored.
On May 8, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who had reportedly warned both Trump and Pence that Flynn was not being forthcoming about his conversations with Kislyak, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yates was fired from the Trump administration after she declined to defend the president's executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries.
Hours before Yates was set to testify, the president took to social media to accuse her of leaking classified information to the press.
"Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got in the newspapers soon after she explained it to W. H. Council," Trump tweeted out.
On April 28, Trump blamed his predecessor's administration for granting Flynn clearance, asserting that he would not have trusted the adviser if he had not served on the Defense Intelligence Agency.
"And when they say we didn't vet, well, Obama I guess didn't vet, because he was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration," Trump told Fox News. "So when he came into our administration, for a short period of time he came in, he was already approved by the Obama administration and he had years left on that approval."