Will Barack Obama be questioned over his private meeting with Donald Trump about Michael Flynn last November? President Obama met with the president-elect to cover an array of topics at the White House two days after Trump’s unexpected win in the 2016 election. As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian ties with the Trump campaign heats up, he’ll want to explore every avenue related to Trump and Flynn that he can.
Vanity Fair notes that Barack Obama and Donald Trump conversed privately about some of the most pressing international issues, such as the Paris climate agreement, North Korea’s nuclear threat, and the Iran sanctions deal. Add to that, they discussed Michael Flynn, someone Obama warned Trump about. As Mueller inches closer to the current president in his probe, he may want to know what Obama said to Trump regarding Russian interference in the election.
Solomon Wisenberg was part of independent counsel Kenneth Star’s probe into President Bill Clinton and reveals that he wouldn’t be surprised if Barack Obama is asked to testify in the Mueller investigation to learn what exactly was discussed about Michael Flynn.
Obama sources don’t think Mueller will call on the former president to testify. Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and special assistant to Obama, says that once Trump became the Republican nominee, high-level intelligence officials were briefing him “periodically” then “regularly” after he was elected. Price elaborates by saying that the briefings are documented in great detail and if Mueller wants to know what information was given to the president-elect on any given day, he can just request the records. The director of National Intelligence handles the process and involves a slew of analysts being present. In that aspect, Obama’s attendance wasn’t necessary.
“The process is led by the director of National Intelligence, but it involves analysts from CIA, NSA, and FBI. So there wasn’t a need for President Obama, in that meeting, to delve into the nitty-gritty of what the intelligence community assessed and how they assessed it,” Price explains.
Trump’s meeting with Obama on November 10, 2016, might be of interest to Robert Mueller https://t.co/DM6DftWcCb
— The Hive (@VFHIVE) December 1, 2017
Michael Flynn was the head of the Defense Department’s intelligence agency for two years in the Obama administration. When Donald Trump was campaigning, Flynn was a strong supporter of the billionaire real estate mogul. He called Barack Obama a “weak and spineless leader” who “coddles” terrorists. It’s well-known that Obama tried to thwart Trump’s consideration of selecting Flynn as his national security adviser since he believed someone of “higher caliber” belonged in the position, an Obama operative who was present during the briefing told Vanity Fair. The ex-president’s worries had more to do with Flynn’s apparent lack of competency, credibility, and character instead of possible Russian interference.
“But yes, as far as the guts of the meeting in the Oval, on that Thursday, it was just the two of them,” the former Obama operative said.
Another investigator, who assisted Starr in the Clinton probe, touched on the political risk of Robert Mueller contacting Barack Obama. There’s the aspect of sessions being leaked to the public and Trump deeming the investigation partisan. There are other ways for Mueller to obtain the information he needs if he chooses to go in that direction.
“Sometimes you bring anybody into the grand jury you can, but there are political ramifications to doing that with a president, a vice president, senior Cabinet officials,” the Starr investigator shares. “Sometimes you can get information without talking to these people — you can talk to Obama’s lawyer, for example, and say, ‘I don’t want to interview him if we don’t have to, but if we did, tell me what he would say.’ We used that tactic a lot in Starr’s office.”
Input from Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor in the Whitewater investigation, recognizes partisanship might be called out. However, she feels that if it’s necessary to getting all the facts, Mueller would question Obama.
Jared Kushner questioned by Robert Mueller’s investigators about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. https://t.co/z1AwQD6v3w
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 30, 2017
Fox News reports that Mueller has been questioning Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, about Flynn. Mueller’s objective was to learn if Kushner had any information about the former national security adviser that could be “exculpatory.” As the news source reveals, Flynn is the focus of multiple investigations.
It’s unlikely that Barack Obama will be sworn in as a witness for the Mueller investigation regarding Michael Flynn, but it’s not being ruled out.