michael flynn

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

Opponents of special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up their attacks over the weekend with a new claim that he improperly collected thousands of emails from President Trump's transition team and is using them as an illegitimate basis for much of his investigation.

Mueller's office said his team has obtained all the evidence it's using in its investigation properly. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, told Congress last week that he monitors Mueller's operation closely and has seen nothing improper.

President Trump, minutes before heading to speak at the FBI's National Academy, lashed out at the bureau, saying, "It's a shame what's happened with the FBI" and claiming there are "a lot of very angry people that are seeing it."

This week In the Russia investigations: Downshift from strategic war to knife fight, top G-Men on his back foot as lawmakers engage in oversight, Trump Jr. clammed up in Congress.

Now, a knife fight

Not long ago, this saga was about Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's surveying the battlefield like a general and with one swift coup — getting Michael Flynn to turn state's evidence — changing the whole strategic picture.

If the saga of Michael Flynn feels like it's been hanging over President Trump's head since Inauguration Day, that's because it has.

The story of how Trump's first national security adviser came to plead guilty to lying to FBI investigators and cooperate in the special counsel's Russia investigation spans two presidential terms and also touches government officials who were subsequently fired by Trump.

Susa / AP Photo

On this edition of "Political Rewind," we address the fallout from Michael Flynn’s guilty plea in the Russia probe and his cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation. He’s already pointing fingers at the White House transition team and, according to some, President Trump directly. Also, vulnerable Georgians may soon lose health care benefits that the federal government has long funded to help children, rural hospitals and major trauma centers like Grady. Will Congress act quickly to restore these programs?

Updated 12/2, 11:47 a.m. ET

President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the transition, and he is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into Moscow's interference in last year's election.

Flynn told investigators that he was instructed to engage with the Russians by senior members of the Trump transition team.

Updated at 2:45 a.m. ET

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, was questioned last month by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller, who are probing possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Story updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn may have lobbied on behalf of a vast foreign deal to build a fleet of nuclear reactors across the Middle East as he was serving as national security adviser, according to new documents out Wednesday.

Two top House Democrats questioned Flynn's use of his office in a letter they sent to business leaders with whom Flynn worked on the project.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

Less than a month after President Trump hired an outside lawyer to deal with inquiries related to the Russia investigations, Vice President Pence has followed suit.

Pence's office confirms he has hired Richard Cullen, who served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia during the term of George H.W. Bush and later worked on George W. Bush's legal team during the 2000 Florida recount.

Call Me: Why Backchannels Matter

May 31, 2017

Backchannels, or secret lines of communication, are often used by the White House as diplomatic tools. But they’re also a way around intelligence agencies, which raises questions about why White House adviser (and President Trump’s son-in-law) Jared Kushner attempted to create a backchannel with Russia before Trump transitioned into office. Trump himself has also reportedly offered up his personal cell phone number to world leaders. What are the national security concerns around private communications with other countries?

GUESTS

Leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say they have issued subpoenas for documents from two businesses operated by former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in remarks to reporters, said the subpoenas were sent to Flynn Intel LLC and Flynn Intel, Inc. with a specific list of documents they are seeking. The senators did not say what to what those documents relate.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on Monday, refusing to hand over documents subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The panel wants to see documents relating to Flynn's interactions with Russian officials as part of its probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to close down the agency's investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn just one day after Flynn was let go, according to two sources close to Comey.

Can you rely on what White House officials say on behalf of the U.S. government to be true?

The answer, even by the account of President Trump himself, is no.

Of all the crises and controversies consuming this White House, perhaps none is more fundamental than the collapse of its credibility. And a close look at some of the administration's policies, statements and controversies suggests chief responsibility of that collapse can be laid at the feet of the man who works in the Oval Office.

It was a matter of urgency, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates says, when she called White House lawyers back in late January.

She needed to tell them that Gen. Michael Flynn, then-national security adviser, appeared to be lying to the White House, making him vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

"We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians," Yates told a Senate subcommittee on Monday. "To state the obvious, you don't want your national security adviser compromised by the Russians."

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

A former Obama official confirms that then-President Barack Obama warned incoming President Donald Trump about Michael Flynn related to his job performance as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Obama and Trump met in the Oval Office shortly after the election in November.

Flynn was fired as head of the DIA during Obama's administration. It has been widely reported that it was over management issues.

Members of the Senate are hosting the next matinee Monday in the long-running saga over Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election — but even after hours of hearings, there's still much the public doesn't know.

Updated 3:40 p.m. ET

Senior lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee say Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, appears to have violated the law when he took payments from groups associated with foreign governments.

Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., spoke at a news conference Tuesday, after they received a classified briefing.

"I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz said.

Two Obama administration officials will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia attempted to help Donald Trump win the election. The Senate Judiciary Committee is one of multiple bodies — including the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the FBI — examining what exactly Russia did and whether the Trump campaign was involved, among other questions.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET Friday

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is negotiating with the House and Senate intelligence committees to testify about any Trump campaign dealings with Russia — after he is given immunity from prosecution, according to his lawyer.

Over the weekend, President Trump accused his predecessor of "wire tapping" communications from Trump Tower in New York, where then-candidate and President-elect Trump lived and worked during the campaign and in the lead-up to the inauguration.

Former President Obama has denied the allegations, as has the former director of national intelligence. A spokesperson for Trump called on Congress to investigate the claim.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be his new national security adviser. McMaster will replace retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after revelations that he had misled top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels Monday, Vice President Mike Pence reassured allies that America would uphold its commitments to the organization, but added that President Trump expected "real progress" among NATO allies in stepping up their defense spending.

President Trump, who spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, held another round of interviews for the position of national security adviser.

Trump interviewed four finalists on Sunday: acting adviser Keith Kellogg, who is a retired three-star Army general; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton; Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, an Army strategist; and Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down the position of national security adviser to President Trump, a White House official tells NPR's Mara Liasson.

Harward was offered the job after Michael T. Flynn, the former general, resigned Monday after just 24 days on the job. Trump said his confidence in Flynn had eroded after Flynn misled then-Vice-President-elect Mike Pence about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Candidate Donald Trump was a big fan of leaks, especially when they targeted Hillary Clinton and reports of her deleted emails.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said last July in Florida. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

A current U.S. intelligence official tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the transcripts of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, although the official noted that doesn't rule out the possibility of illegal actions.

The official also says that there are recordings as well as transcripts of the calls, and that the transcripts don't suggest Flynn was acting under orders in his conversations.

President Trump and his inner circle have reached their first crisis with the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, but the crisis extends well beyond one empty chair in one critical moment.

Russian intelligence officials made repeated contact with members of President Trump's campaign staff, according to new reports that cite anonymous U.S. officials. American agencies were concerned about the contacts but haven't seen proof of collusion between the campaign and the Russian security apparatus, the reports say.

The White House is narrowing its list of candidates to replace former national security adviser Michael Flynn and has already interviewed former CENTCOM deputy director Robert Harward about the vacancy, according to a senior administration official.

The official said they spoke to Harward last week and again on Monday.

"We've been getting our ducks in a row for a long time," the official said.

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