President Obama was aware of the details of wiretapped conversations of then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak back in December 2016, according to recently declassified Department of Justice (DOJ) documents released on Thursday.
Obama’s direct knowledge of the details of Flynn’s wiretapped calls even shocked his then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Obama had fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 in order to protect Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Obama’s knowledge of Flynn being wiretapped raises significant questions about what Obama knew and when he knew it with regard to the attempt to railroad Flynn and prevent him from serving as Trump’s national security adviser.
RELATED: Obama Officials Had No ‘Empirical Evidence’ of Trump-Russia Collusion, Intel Transcripts Show
“On January 5, 2017, Yates attended an Oval Office meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to the newly declassified documents, including an FD-302 FBI witness report,” reported Fox News’s Gregg Re. “They were discussing Russian election interference, along with national security adviser Susan Rice and other members of the national security council.”
After the briefing, Obama asked Yates and Comey to “stay behind,” and said he had “learned of the information about Flynn” and his conversation with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions. Obama “specified that he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information.”
At that point, the documents showed, “Yates had no idea what the president was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act. …”
The Logan Act, an obscure statute, has never been used successfully in a criminal prosecution; enacted in 1799 in an era before telephones, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States government abroad. In its motion to dismiss Flynn’s case on Thursday, the DOJ noted that the law was an unserious dead letter.
The Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn on Thursday, in the wake of internal memos revealing the intent to entrap Flynn on perjury charges in order to “get him fired” as national security adviser to President Trump.
We already know that the entire investigation of Trump and his associates was based on Russian disinformation, and that “the FBI used Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election as a pretext to investigate Donald Trump” and those around him. Obama’s direct knowledge of the Flynn wiretaps tells us what many have suspected all along, that the effort to undermine Trump went all the way to the top: Barack Obama.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis