Biden Says He Was Aware of Probe on Michael Flynn

May 12, 2020 Updated: May 12, 2020

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he was “aware” of a probe of incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in early 2017.

Biden was part of a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting during which then-President Barack Obama told administration officials he knew of details from wiretapped phone calls involving Flynn.

Asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on May 12 whether he knew about the moves to probe the retired lieutenant general, Biden said, “I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn.”

He said the topic was meant to divert attention from the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos, the former aide to President Bill Clinton, pressed Biden, noting that he was present at the early 2017 Oval Office meeting.

Biden said he’d misheard the first question.

“I thought you asked me whether or not I had anything to do with him being prosecuted,” he said. “I’m sorry.

“I was aware that there was—that they had asked for an investigation. But that’s all I know about it and I don’t think anything else.”

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
Then-national security adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington on Feb. 1, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

It’s the first time Biden professed awareness of the probe into Flynn, who was hired by then-President-elect Donald Trump.

The counterintelligence probe into Flynn discovered nothing by Jan. 4, 2017, but was kept open at the request of then-FBI head of counterintelligence operations Peter Strzok, who indicated the top FBI leadership was involved in the decision.

Flynn eventually pleaded guilty to lying to Strzok and another agent in an interview later in January 2017.

But the Department of Justice moved to dismiss the case against Flynn, citing FBI officials.

“The government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn—a no-longer-justifiably-predicated investigation that the FBI had, in the Bureau’s own words, prepared to close because it had yielded an ‘absence of any derogatory information,’” said Timothy Shea, interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, in his May 6 motion to dismiss.

Trump has called the situation “the biggest political crime in American history,” while a top senator on May 11 said he wanted answers about what Obama and Biden knew of the probe into Flynn.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during an appearance on Fox News on May 12, “There are very real questions now that we know that President Obama was aware of the Flynn unmasking, and the former vice president, too.”

Unmasking refers to intelligence officials deanonymizing a U.S. citizen’s identity.

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