| New York Post
President Barack Obama knew about Michael Flynn’s intercepted phone calls in late 2016 with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — and brought up the issue during a White House powwow about Russian election interference, declassified documents show.
The documents, released Thursday as part of the Justice Department’s move to dismiss its case against Flynn, show that Obama’s detailed knowledge of the December 2016 calls apparently surprised then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, according to documents cited by Fox News.
Obama’s understanding of Flynn’s calls during the Oval Office meeting on Jan. 5, 2017, “raised eyebrows,” according to Fox News, due to the president’s history with Flynn — whom he had fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency three years earlier, saying he was “not a fan,” multiple sources said.
Obama’s knowledge of Flynn’s calls — which weren’t considered criminal by the FBI at the time — was also concerning because FBI officials secretly discussed whether their aim was to get Flynn fired, or to “get him to lie,” as they interviewed him at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017, according to the report.
The Jan. 5 meeting, just 15 days before Donald Trump took office, included Obama, Yates, then-FBI Director James Comey, former Vice President Joe Biden, then-CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to declassified documents cited by Fox News. Obama asked Yates and Comey to “stay behind” following the meeting, saying he had “learned information about Flynn” and his discussion with Kislyak.
“Obama specified that he did not have any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information,” the documents show.
Yates, meanwhile, “had no idea” what Obama was referring to, but figured it out “based on the conversation,” according to the documents.
“Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can’t recall if he specified there was an ‘investigation,’” the document continues. “Comey did not talk about prosecution in the meeting.”
Yates, who was later fired by the Trump administration, wasn’t sure where Obama got his information, the documents show. “Yates did not recall Comey’s response to the President’s question about how to treat Flynn,” the account continued. “She was so surprised by the information she was hearing that she was having a hard time processing it and listening to the conversation at the same time.”
The Logan Act, which forbids private citizens from engaging in unauthorized correspondence with foreign governments, was enacted by Congress in 1799. It has never been successfully used in a criminal prosecution, Fox News reports.