In an upcoming interview with Martha MacCallum for Fox News Channel’s “The First 100 Days,” President Donald Trump appeared to suggest that any responsibility for controversies relating to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn lie directly with former President Barack Obama.
“Well let me just tell you, I do feel badly for him. He served the country. He was a general,” said Trump when asked whether he would walk back his previous defense of Flynn given the revelation that he failed to properly disclose his role as a foreign agent with ties to the Turkish government.
Trump then launched into a tirade, appearing to blame President Obama for a lack of proper vetting by the Trump administration:
“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.”
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated that Flynn’s security clearance was issued by the Obama administration, but stopped short of placing any fault on the previous administration:
“General Flynn was a career military officer who maintained a high level security clearance throughout his career in the military. His clearance was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015.”
Michael Flynn holds the rare distinction of being dismissed by two different presidents. During the Obama administration, Flynn served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency before being ousted early after his behavior created tension in the agency.
Flynn also unceremoniously resigned his position as national security advisor in the Trump administration in February after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence in regards to contact he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
President Trump’s full interview with Martha MacCallum airs Friday night at 7 p.m. EST.