Thanks Obama! Sean Spicer is now blaming the Obama administration for Michael Flynn's security clearance

The White House press secretary says the vetting of Trump's former national security adviser was Obama's job

By Matthew Rozsa
Published April 27, 2017 7:11PM (EDT)
Michael Flynn (Afp/getty/Chris Kleponis)
Michael Flynn (Afp/getty/Chris Kleponis)

Perhaps it's appropriate that Donald Trump won't fire Sean Spicer due to his great ratings because on Thursday the press secretary's spin on the Michael Flynn scandal was a real doozy.

While Spicer implicitly admitted that the Trump transition team did not do any vetting of Flynn -- ousted as national security advisor in February -- he blamed former president Barack Obama for even hiring Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012.

After acknowledging that it is "appropriate" for the Department of Defense's Inspector General to investigate the payment that Flynn received from Russia's state-owned television network before becoming national security adviser, Spicer asked that the press "walk through" the process by which Flynn received security clearance.

"General Flynn was a career military officer who maintained a high-level security clearance throughout his career in the military," Spicer explained. "His clearance was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015, as you point out. So the issue is, he was issued a security clearance under the Obama administration in the spring of 2016. The trip and transactions that you're referring to occurred in December of 2015, from what I understand."

He added, "So obviously there's an issue that, as you point out, the Department of Defense Inspector General is looking into. We welcome that. But all of that clearance was made during the Obama administration, and apparently with knowledge of the trip that he took. So that's how the process works, and I welcome the Department of Defense's IG's review."

Not surprisingly, many people took to Twitter to express incredulity at Spicer's reasoning.

This isn't the first time that Spicer has used spurious logic to rationalize the Trump administration's handling of the Flynn debacle. On Tuesday Spicer argued that because documents pertaining to Flynn's hiring were submitted before Trump became president, the administration was not required to provide them to the public.

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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