- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2017

President Trump on Monday defended the vetting of his embattled former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, pointing to the top security clearance he received from the Obama administration.

“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post.

Mr. Trump offered the defense of Mr. Flynn, whom he fired in February, ahead of a Senate hearing Monday focused on Mr. Flynn’s ties to Russian officials and accusations that the Trump administration conspired with Moscow to impact the U.S. presidential election.

Sally Yates, the Obama administration holdover who was acting attorney general before she was fired by Mr. Trump, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about warnings she gave to the White House about Mr. Flynn’s Russian contact.

Mr. Trump also took a swipe at Ms. Yates, whom he fired for refusing to defend in court his executive order for a temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, faces intense scrutiny for not reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars he pocketed as a consultant for Russia-linked clients.

Before joining the Trump White House, he had top security clearance as director of the National Intelligence Agency under then-President Barack Obama, who later forced him out of the post.

Mr. Trump forced Mr. Flynn to resign in February because he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top administration officials about the content of his discussions during the transition with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

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