We just crossed the one-year anniversary of then-national security adviser Mike Flynn meeting privately in his West Wing office about his communications with Russian operatives during the 2016 Election and transition period.
Flynn answered questions without his lawyer and without telling Donald Trump or any White House officials. 10 months later, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying during that meeting one year ago.
Sources familiar with the situation told NBC News that Trump only learned about the interview two days later. “No one knew that any of this was happening,” said one White House official who was in the administration at the time.
Another White House source says that Flynn was unaware that the interview was about his own personal behavior, and that is why he didn’t bring his lawyer to the meeting.
According to reports working to piece this whole timeline together, it was then deputy Attorney General Sally Yates that blew the whistle on Flynn’s dishonest meeting:
Two days after the interview, then-deputy attorney general Sally Yates warned White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn may be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russian government because he had lied to top White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence.
McGahn briefed Trump, along with then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, about his meeting with Yates later that same day.
That’s when Trump learned Flynn had been interviewed with the FBI, sources told NBC News.
Yates, who was fired Jan. 30, has testified before Congress that McGahn asked her how Flynn had done in his interview, and she said she told the White House counsel she could not comment on that.
Sources have told NBC News the White House concluded at the time that Flynn had lied in that interview and was indeed under investigation, meaning Trump would have known Flynn was in legal trouble when he fired FBI director James Comey on May 9.
So what does that mean? Well, mostly, it means that Trump fired Comey because Comey was investigating Flynn, and most likely, Trump as well. That could amount to obstruction of justice charges fairly easily if Mueller can put together all of these moving pieces and prove it.