The Trump White House is now blaming former President Obama for embattled former National Security Adviser’s Michael Flynn’s place in the Trump administration.
“My only point is that when General Flynn came into the White House he had an active security clearance issued during the Obama administration with all of the information that’s being discussed that occurred in 2015,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during the Thursday press briefing. “So, I guess my only point is to explain how the process works and who adjudicated that.”
Flynn was fired from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, during the Obama administration.
According to a 2014 report, at that time, 5.1 million Americans had security clearances, a large percentage of which are carried out by independent contractors.
Flynn was one of Trump’s top advisers during the campaign. He had a short tenure as National Security Adviser before resigning following revelations that he had lied about back channel conversations he held with Russian officials before Trump’s inauguration.
Even after Flynn’s resignation, Trump referred to him as a “wonderful man” who “has been treated very, very unfairly by the media.”
Since then, revelations have showed that Flynn was also working on behalf of the Turkish government at the height of the Trump campaign, and had traveled to Moscow and accepted $30,000 from the Russian government without disclosing it on his security clearance forms.
Documents made public on Thursday showed that he had been warned in 2014 that taking such payments from foreign governments without getting advance permission would be illegal.
He’s currently under investigation by the House Oversight Committee and the Inspector General of the Department of Defense.
The Trump administration has been bullishly supportive of Flynn and earlier this week, stonewalled Congressional requests for documents on his tenure.
During the press conversation on Thursday, reporters peppered White House Press Secretary over questions about the Trump administration’s vetting process — and the fact that Michael Flynn was placed in such an influential position given these violations.
Spicer responded by blaming the Obama Administration for issuing Flynn’s security clearance.
“So the issue is, you know, he was issued a security clearance under the Obama Administration in the spring of 2016,” Spicer said. “So obviously there’s an issue the Department of Defense and Inspector General are looking into. All of that clearance was made during the Obama administration with the knowledge of the trip that he took. That’s how the process works.”
Spicer did not answer questions about the current administration’s vetting process for their employees, whether the Trump administration believed they had made mistakes in their own vetting process of Flynn, or why, according to his own defense, the Trump administration apparently did not vet Flynn beyond his existing clearance.