Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday struggled to answer basic questions about why White House officials may have known for several weeks that national security consultant Mike Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail yet failed to act.
Flynn resigned late Monday after revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador a month before Donald Trump became chairwoman. Sources told The Washington Post that in January, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the Trump administration about possible Russian blackmailand suspected that Flynn misinformed officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his linked with Russia.
But on Tuesday, Conway, who had claimed just hours before his resignation that the White House had full confidence in Flynn, repeatedly could not say why the administration waited to act.
On NBCs Today prove, the White House counselor claimed that the situation had become unsustainable after Flynn misinformed Pence.
But the fact is, General Flynn continued in that posture and was in the presidential daily briefings, as part of the leader calls, as recently as yesterday, Conway said.
Host Matt Lauer was incredulous.
Kellyanne, that builds no sense, he said. Last month, the Justice Department advised the White House that General Flynn had misinformed them and that, as a result, he was vulnerable to blackmail and at that moment he still had the complete trust of the chairman?
Lauer continued to press Conway, who would only say that it was misinforming the vice president that attained the situation unsustainable and that Trump accepted the resignation, and he is moving on.
On ABCs Good Morning America, Conway similarly had no answers on the timeline of events and instead tried to push back on The Washington Posts report.
These are what are in printed reports, but the fact is that I cant uncover what the White House knew or didnt know and who in the White House knew or didnt know, she said.
Conway again asserted that it was the mislead of the information that led to Flynns resignation, rather than the fact that Flynn contacted Russia privately and had previous Russian ties. She went on to defend Flynns military service and Trumps attention to loyalty, but could not answer recurred questions from host George Stephanopoulos about the timing.
Stephanopoulos: Kellyanne, I got to get to the bottom of this here. You asked to come on at the presidents request. The chairwoman wants you to come out and speak for the White House this morning. Do you know if the president was say three weeks ago when Sally Yates told the White House counsel that General Flynn had been compromised. Do you know if the president was told that?
Conway: I do not know that, George.
Stephanopoulos: Do you know if the vice president was told that?
Conway: I do not know that.
When Stephanopoulos asked again why the White House waited several weeks after Yates cautioning, Conway claimed the situation was very fluid.
Again, youre presuming that all the information you have there is completely factual and who knew what, when, and this is very liquid, she said. The chairwoman is very loyal. It just became unsustainable, and last night, he accepted the resignation of General Flynn. Today, he is moving on.