Presumptive Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden denied knowing anything about the investigation into Michael Flynn until he was reminded that he was in the room at the White House with other top Obama officials on the day the matter was discussed.
Biden’s memory was jogged by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an interview on “Good Morning America,” Tuesday.
While noting that the president called the Flynn case “the biggest political crime in U.S. history,” Stephanopoulos asked Biden what he personally knew about the case.
“What did you know about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn and was there anything improper done?” the host asked.
“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” Biden replied without hesitation. “Number two, this is all about diversion!” he cried.
To Stephanopoulos’ credit, he pressed Biden about his answer.
“You say you didn’t know anything about it but you were in a January 5, 2017 meeting where you and the president were briefed on the FBI’s plan to question Michael Flynn over those conversations which he had with the Russian ambassador Kislyak …”
On January 5, 2017, Biden attended an Oval Office meeting to discuss Russian election interference with then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, according to recently declassified documents. Then-National security adviser Susan Rice and other members of the national security council were also in on the meeting.
“Joe Biden was in the room when one of the greatest abuses of power by an administration in American history was in progress,” Trump campaign spokesman Matt Wolking said in a statement after the news broke last week. “The corrupt media will do its best to cover up this scandal and protect him, but Americans deserve to know: What did Joe Biden know and when did he know it?”
In Biden’s defense, he may not have heard about the Flynn investigation at that briefing. After the meeting, the officials who would be leaving at the end of the term were dismissed and Yates and Comey, who would continue in the Trump administration, were asked to stay. That’s when Obama brought up Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, apparently taking Yates by surprise.
In answer to Stephanopoulos’s question, Biden said, “no, I thought you asked me about whether or not I had anything to do with him being prosecuted, I’m sorry.”
But Biden had specifically said he didn’t know about the FBI’s “moves to investigate Michael Flynn” in his previous answer.
“I-I-I was aware that they had asked for an investigation,” he continued. “But that’s all I know about it and I don’t think anything else, I mean look.”
When Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he believed the Justice Department was right to drop the charges against Flynn, the candidate cited a letter signed by 2,000 former DOJ officials who called for Attorney General William Barr to resign.
“I have been absolutely stunned by the way in which he has not conducted the office properly,” Biden blustered. “I don’t know the detail of where we are right now.”
He added, “My point is a simple one. Focus on what’s in front of us. You have plenty of time to investigate this issue. I think there’s nothing there, there.”
"I know nothing about those moves [by the FBI] to investigate Michael Flynn," Joe Biden claimed.
Reminded he was in a January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with President Obama and the FBI Director about investigating Flynn, Biden admits "I was aware… but that's all I know." pic.twitter.com/SImLNoqhd7
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) May 12, 2020
Following the interview, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted that Biden had “lied about the setup of General Flynn.”
Biden just lied about the setup of General Flynn by Comey’s FBI: “I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn.”
Pressed about the Jan 5 meeting in the Oval Office on Russia, he dodged.
Why won’t Biden & Obama actually address this?
What are they hiding?
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) May 12, 2020