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News Monday, May 8 2017

The Flynn Timeline You Need Ahead Of Yates’s Testimony

May 08, 2017

As former Acting Attorney General prepares to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, American Bridge has prepared the definitive timeline of the Trump administration’s ongoing Russia scandal as it relates to disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. As the timeline shows, the White House has haphazardly attempted to cover for Trump’s NSA clear indebtedness to Russia, despite having been forcefully warned weeks earlier by then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn had lied about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador and may have been compromised.

“Michael Flynn is a liar and this timeline makes it look like the White House has been running a cover up,” said Emily Aden, American Bridge Rapid Response Director. “Will they ever tell the truth to the American people?”  


Michael Flynn Timeline:

December 29, 2016: Flynn Had Five Phone Calls With The Russian Ambassador On The Same Day The U.S. Retaliated For Moscow’s Interference In The presidential Election

  • Michael Flynn Had Five Phone Calls With Russian’s Ambassador To Washington On The Day The United States Retaliated For Moscow’s Interference In The Presidential Election. According to Reuters, “Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, held five phone calls with Russia’s ambassador to Washington on the day the United States retaliated for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, three sources familiar with the matter said. The calls occurred between the time the Russian embassy was told about U.S. sanctions and the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had decided against reprisals, said the sources. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing internal U.S. government deliberations about the issue. […] On Dec. 29, U.S. President Barack Obama announced he had ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats suspected of being spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking U.S. political groups. The administration told Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, an hour before the decision was made public, one of the sources said. The phone calls between Flynn and Kislyak were first reported by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. A Trump official confirmed one phone conversation between the two men on Dec. 29, and said their understanding was they did not discuss the sanctions.” [Reuters, 1/23/17]

January 13, 2017: Spicer Said Flynn And Russian Ambassador Did Not Discuss Sanctions

  • Sean Spicer Said Flynn “Took That Call On The 28th And The Call Centered Around The Logistics Of Setting Up A Call With The President Of Russia And The President-Elect After He Was Sworn-In And They Exchanged Logistical Information On How To Initiate And Schedule That Call. That Was It, Plain And Simple.” According to a transcript of a Sean Spicer news briefing, “He then took that call on the 28th and the call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the President of Russia and the president-elect after he was sworn-in and they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call. That was it, plain and simple.” [Sean Spicer News Briefing via CQ Transcriptions, 1/13/17]

January 15, 2017: Mike Pence Said Flynn And The Russian Ambassador Did Not Discuss Sanctions

  • Pence: “What I Can Confirm, Having Spoken To Him About It, Is That Those Conversations That Happened To Occur Around The Time That The United States Took Action To Expel Diplomats Had Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Those Sanctions.” According to Face The Nation, “JOHN DICKERSON: Absolutely. MIKE PENCE: –should do. But what I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. JOHN DICKERSON: But that still leaves open the possibility that there might have been other conversations about the sanctions. MIKE PENCE: I don’t believe there were more conversations.” [Face The Nation, 1/15/17]

    • Mike Pence Said Michael Flynn And The Russian Ambassador “Did Not Discuss Anything Having To Do With The United States’ Decision To Expel Diplomats Or Impose Censure Against Russia.” According to Face The Nation, “MIKE PENCE: I talked to General Flynn about that conversation and actually was initiated on Christmas Day he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place. It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia. JOHN DICKERSON: So did they ever have a conversation about sanctions ever on those days or any other day? MIKE PENCE: They did not have a discussion contemporaneous with U.S. actions on– JOHN DICKERSON: But what about after– MIKE PENCE: –my conversation with General Flynn. Well, look. General Flynn has been in touch with diplomatic leaders, security leaders in some 30 countries. That’s exactly what the incoming national security advisor–” [Face The Nation, 1/15/17]

January 23, 2017: Spicer Reiterated Flynn And The Russian Ambassador Did Not Discuss Sanctions

  • Spicer Said Flynn And The Russians Only Talked About A Plane Crash, Holiday Greetings, Syria, And Logistical Information. According to CQ Transcriptions, “QUESTION: Were those conversations about anything else other than setting up that discussion? And why has that discussion not yet happened between the president and President Putin? SPICER: So there’s been one call. I talked to General Flynn about this again last night. One call, talked about four subjects. One was the loss of life that occurred in the plane crash that took their military choir, two was Christmas and holiday greetings, three was to — to talk about a conference in Syria on ISIS and four was to set up a — to talk about after the inauguration setting up a call between President Putin and President Trump.” [CQ Transcriptions, 1/24/17]

    • Spicer On Other Conversations Between Flynn And The Russians: “Not That I’m Aware Of. And When I Say That, What I’m Saying Is During The Transition, I Asked General Flynn That — Whether Or Not There Were Any Other Conversations Beyond The Ambassador And He Said No.” According to CQ Transcriptions, “QUESTION: Any other conversations between General Flynn and Russian members of the government? SPICER: Not that I’m aware of. And when I say that, what I’m saying is during the transition, I asked General Flynn that — whether or not there were any other conversations beyond the ambassador and he said no.” [CQ Transcriptions, 1/24/17]

January 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Informed The Trump White House That Flynn Misled About His Conversations With The Russian Ambassador

  • Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Informed The Trump White House Late Last Month That She Believed Michael Flynn Had Misled Senior Administration Officials About The Nature Of His Communications With The Russian Ambassador To The United States, And Warned That The National Security Adviser Was Potentially Vulnerable To Russian Blackmail. According to the Washington Post, “The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said. The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that ­Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the ­Russian diplomat, had told Vice ­President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the ­information.” [Washington Post, 2/13/17]

  • In A Private Meeting January 26, Yates Told White House Counsel Don McGahn That Flynn Was Lying When He Denied In Public And Private That He Had Discussed US Sanctions On Russia In Conversations With Russian Ambassador To The US Sergei Kislyak. According to CNN, “In a private meeting January 26, Yates told White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was lying when he denied in public and private that he had discussed US sanctions on Russia in conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak.” [CNN, 5/2/17]


February 8, 2017: Flynn Twice Denied Discussing Sanctions With The Russian Ambassador

  • Flynn Said “No” Twice On If He Had Discussed Sanctions With The Russian Ambassador. According to the Washington Post, “National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said. Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election. Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, ‘No.’” [Washington Post, 2/9/17]

February 9, 2017: Flynn Spokesman Said Flynn “Couldn’t Be Certain” That Sanctions Never Came Up

  • Flynn Spokesman Said Flynn “Indicated That While He Had No Recollection Of Discussing Sanctions, He Couldn’t Be Certain That The Topic Never Came Up.” According to the Washington Post, “On Thursday, Flynn, through his spokesman, backed away from the denial. The spokesman said Flynn ‘indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.’ Officials said this week that the FBI is continuing to examine Flynn’s communications with Kislyak. Several officials emphasized that while sanctions were discussed, they did not see evidence that Flynn had an intent to convey an explicit promise to take action after the inauguration.” [Washington Post, 2/9/17]

February 10, 2017: Trump Denied Knowledge Of Flynn’s Communications With The Russian Ambassador

  • Trump Said That He Didn’t Know About Reports That Michael Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russia Before He Was Sworn In; Said “I Don’t Know About That. I Haven’t Seen It. What Report Is That? I Haven’t Seen That. I’ll Look Into That.” According to The Hill, “President Donald Trump on Friday told his press pool that he didn’t know about reports that his national security adviser Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with Russia before he was sworn in. When asked about the reports, Trump said, ‘I don’t know about that. I haven’t seen it. What report is that? I haven’t seen that. I’ll look into that.’” [The Hill, 2/10/17]

February 13, 2017: Kellyanne Conway Said That Flynn Had The “Full Confidence” Of Trump

  • Kellyanne Conway: “General Flynn Does Enjoy The Full Confidence Of The President.” According to MSNBC, “KELLYANNE CONWAY: Yes, General Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president. This is a big leap for General Flynn, he is the point of contact for many of these foreign visits. If you look at the official schedule today we had the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau here. Obviously for bilateral meetings. On Wednesday, we’re welcoming [Prime Minister of Israel] Benjamin Netanyhau here to the White House.” [MSNBC, 2/13/17]

February 13, 2017: Spicer Said Trump Was “Evaluating The Situation”

  • Sean Spicer Said That Trump Was “Evaluating The Situation” Involving Flynn. According to CBS News, “The White House says President Trump is ‘evaluating the situation’ involving his national security adviser Michael Flynn. ‘[H]e is speaking to Vice President Pence relative to the conversation the Vice President had with General Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is, our national security,’ White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement Monday.” [CBS News, 2/13/17]

February 13, 2017: Flynn Resigned

  • Michael Flynn: “I Inadvertently Briefed The Vice President Elect And Others With Incomplete Information Regarding My Phone Calls With The Russian Ambassador. […] I Am Tendering My Resignation, Honored To Have Served Our Nation And The American People In Such A Distinguished Way.” According to a press release from the White House, “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. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology. Throughout my over thirty three years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States. I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way.” [Press Release – White House, 2/13/17]

February 14, 2017: Spicer Said Trump Asked For Flynn’s Resignation Because Trust Eroded, ButSaid Flynn Did Nothing Wrong

  • Spicer: “When He Lost Trust With The President, That’s When The President Asked For And Received His Resignation.” According to a transcript of Sean Spicer press briefing, “MR. SPICER: No, the issue isn’t whether or not — what he discussed. There’s been a complete legal review of that, and there’s no issue with that. The issue is whether or not he failed to properly inform the Vice President — or not be honest with him, or not remember it. But that’s the plain and simple issue. And when he lost trust with the President, that’s when the President asked for and received his resignation.” [Sean Spicer Press Briefing, 2/14/17]

  • Spicer: “Whether Or Not He Actually Misled The Vice President Was The Issue, And That Was Ultimately What Led To The President Asking For And Accepting The Resignation Of General Flynn. That’s It, Pure And Simple. It Was A Matter Of Trust.” According to a transcript of Sean Spicer press briefing, “MR. SPICER: Well, that’s not — that assumes a lot of things that are not true. The President was informed of this. He asked the White House Counsel to review the situation. The first matter was whether there was a legal issue. We had to review whether there was a legal issue, which the White House Counsel concluded there was not, as I stated in my comments. This was an act of trust. Whether or not he actually misled the Vice President was the issue, and that was ultimately what led to the President asking for and accepting the resignation of General Flynn. That’s it, pure and simple. It was a matter of trust.” [Sean Spicer Press Briefing, 2/14/17]

  • Spicer: “There’s Nothing That The General Did That Was A Violation Of Any Sort. He Was Well Within His Duties To Discuss Issues Of Common Concern Between The Two Countries. I Will Say It Again: What This Came Down To Is A Matter Of Trust.” According to a transcript of Sean Spicer press briefing, “MR. SPICER: So — oh, we’re going to pause. So, on the first, again, as I made clear, there’s nothing that the General did that was a violation of any sort. He was well within his duties to discuss issues of common concern between the two countries. I will say it again: What this came down to is a matter of trust. The President was glad that he was out there conducting his job, preparing for his job, going back and forth with his counterparts throughout the world, much as the President had done with all of these world leaders calling the President, congratulating him, looking to set up calls for him once he was inaugurated.” [Sean Spicer Press Briefing, 2/14/17]

February 16, 2017: Trump Denied Directing Flynn To Discuss Sanctions With The Russian Ambassador

  • Trump Said “I Didn’t” Direct Flynn To Discuss Sanctions With The Russian Ambassador. According to a transcript of Trump’s press conference, “Q    Did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss the sanctions with the Russian ambassador? THE PRESIDENT:  No, I didn’t.  No, I didn’t.” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

February 16, 2017: Trump Said Flynn Did Nothing Wrong, But Was Fired For Lying To Mike Pence

  • Trump On Mike Flynn Resigning: “Mike Flynn Is A Wonderful Person, And I Asked For Resignation, He Respectfully Gave It. He Is A Man Who There Was A Certain Amount Of Information Given To Vice President Pence, Who’s With Us Today, And I Was Not Happy With The Way That Information Was Given.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “QUESTION: Did you fire Mike Flynn? TRUMP: Mike Flynn is a wonderful person, and I asked for resignation, he respectfully gave it. He is a man who there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who’s with us today, and I was not happy with the way that information was given.” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

  • Trump On Mike Flynn Resigning: “He Didn’t Have To Do That Because What He Did Wasn’t Wrong. What He Did In Terms Of The Information He Saw.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “He didn’t have to do that because what he did wasn’t wrong. What he did in terms of the information he saw. What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves, in this room, were given that information. Because that was classified information that was given illegally. That’s the real problem.” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

  • Trump On Mike Flynn: “When I Looked At The Information, I Said, I Don’t Think He Did Anything Wrong. If Anything, He Did Something Right.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “Reporter: Why did you keep your vice president in the dark for almost two weeks? Trump: Because when I looked at the information, I said, I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right. He was coming into office, looked at the information, and he said, ‘huh, that’s fine.’ That’s what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to be — he just didn’t call Russia, he called, and spoke to both ways, I think, there were 30-some odd countries, just doing his job. You know, he was just doing his job.” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

  • Trump: “Turned Out He Was Just Doing His Job. So — And I Do — And, By The Way, With All Of That Being Said, I Do Think He’s A Fine Man.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “As far as the actual making the call — in fact, I’ve watched various programs and I’ve read various articles where he was just doing his job. That was very normal. At first, everybody got excited because they thought he did something wrong. After they thought about it, it turned out he was just doing his job. So — and I do — and, by the way, with all of that being said, I do think he’s a fine man.” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

  • Trump: “Mike Was Doing His Job. He Was Calling Countries And His Counterparts. So It Certainly Would Have Been Okay With Me If He Did It. I Would Have Directed Him To Do It If I Thought He Wasn’t Doing It. I Didn’t Direct Him But I Would Have Directed Him Because That’s His Job.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me — no, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence, very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So it certainly would have been okay with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it. I didn’t direct him but I would have directed him because that’s his job. And it came out that way — and, in all fairness, I watched Dr. Charles Krauthammer the other night say he was doing his job. And I agreed with him. And since then I’ve watched many other people say that. No, I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him if he didn’t do it, okay?” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

  • Trump: “He Did Something Wrong With Respect To The Vice President, And I Thought That Was Not Acceptable.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “The information was provided by — who I don’t know — Sally Yates — and I was a little surprised because I said, doesn’t sound like he did anything wrong there. But he did something wrong with respect to the Vice President, and I thought that was not acceptable.” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

  • Trump: “The Thing Is He Didn’t Tell Our Vice President Properly, And Then He Said He Didn’t Remember, So Either Way, It Wasn’t Very Satisfactory To Me.” According to a transcript of a press conference, “The thing is he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember, so either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me. And I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position, and that also helps, I think, in the making of my decision, but he didn’t tell the vice president of the United States the facts, and then he didn’t remember, and that just wasn’t acceptable to me. Yes?” [Donald Trump Press Conference, 2/16/17]

March 31, 2017: Trump Tweeted Flynn Should Seek Immunity

  • Trump: “Mike Flynn Should Ask For Immunity In That This Is A Witch Hunt (Excuse For Big Election Loss), By Media & Dems, Of Historic Proportion!” According to a tweet from Donald Trump, “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!” [Donald Trump Twitter Account, 3/31/17]

March 31, 2017: Flynn Sought Immunity In Exchange For Testimony

  • Flynn Sought Immunity In Exchange For His Testimony In The Probe Into Russian Meddling In The Election. According to CNN, “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to testify before federal and congressional investigators in their ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the US elections, but only if he is granted immunity. The possibility that Flynn — formerly a key adviser to President Donald Trump during the campaign — could testify potentially represents a major development in the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.” [CNN, 3/31/17]

  • Flynn Lawyer: “No Reasonable Person, Who Has The Benefit Of Advice From Counsel, Would Submit To Questioning In Such A Highly Politicized, Witch-Hunt Environment Without Assurances Against Unfair Prosecution.” According to CNN, “‘Gen. Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit. … No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution,’ Robert Kelner, Flynn’s lawyer, said in a statement late Thursday.” [CNN, 3/31/17]

April 27, 2017: Spicer Blamed Obama administration For Failing To vet Flynn

  • Sean Spicer Said Flynn “Had An Active Security Clearance That Was Issued During The Obama Administration With All Of The Information That’s Being Discussed That Occurred In 2015. So I’m Just — I Guess My Only Point Is To Explain How The Process Works And Who Adjudicated That.” According to a transcript of a Sean Spicer press briefing, “My only point is, is that when General Flynn came into the White House, he had an active security clearance that was issued during the Obama administration with all of the information that’s being discussed that occurred in 2015. So I’m just — I guess my only point is to explain how the process works and who adjudicated that.” [Sean Spicer Press Briefing, 4/27/17]

April 28 – 30, 2017: Trump Blamed Obama For Failing To Vet Flynn

  • Trump On Michael Flynn: “He Served The Country, He Was A General But Just Remember He Was Approved By The Obama Administration At The Highest Level. 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.” According to a transcript of The First 100 Days, “TRUMP: Well, let me just tell you I do feel badly for him, he served the country, he was a general but just remember he was approved by the Obama Administration at the highest level. 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. 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. Now, if somebody is approved at the absolute highest level by the Obama or a previous administration, I mean, does anybody ever ask about them?” [The First 100 Days, 4/28/17]

  • Trump: “General Flynn Got His Clearance From The Obama Administration. I Didn’t Realize This, When He Went To Russia, It Was 2015 And He Was On The Obama Clearance. When General Flynn Came To Us, As You Now Know, He Already Had The Highest Clearance You Can Have.” According to a transcript of Face The Nation, “PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Of course, it’s a total phony story. In fact, I just heard where General Flynn got his clearance from the Obama administration. JOHN DICKERSON: But you don’t mean– PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. I didn’t realize this, when he went to Russia, it was 2015 and he was on the Obama clearance. When General Flynn came to us, as you now know, he already had the highest clearance you can have. I think the same clearance as the president of the United States would have. He had this really high clearance. And, by the way, they’re so devastated because this only came up two days ago.” [Face The Nation, 4/30/17]

Published: May 8, 2017

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