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Carolyn Kaster / AP

On the eve of Sally Yates' testimony before the Senate on her warnings about Mike Flynn, the President wants any of his staff who've been feeding negative lines about Flynn to the media to stop immediately.

White House officials have been eager to throw the former national security advisor under the bus, but a source familiar with the President's thinking says he still thinks highly of Flynn and has never authorized any of his staff to undermine the retired general. Trump still defends his former national security advisor and wasn't happy to see an Axios story Sunday afternoon saying administration officials have been attacking Flynn to reporters.

How Trump reasons it, per the source:

  • General Flynn is a good man who served his country admirably.
  • The Russia story is "fake news" and Flynn did nothing wrong by having the conversations with the Russian ambassador. (Though obviously the President has acknowledged publicly that it wasn't appropriate for Flynn to either mislead the Vice President or not remember the phone call where they discussed sanctions.)
  • When Flynn went to Russia in 2015 to deliver a paid speech and take a photo with Putin, he was acting under an Obama security clearance. This is a point the President wants to stress and you can expect to hear the White House press team repeat it.

The context: White House staffers have been anonymously telling reporters for weeks that Flynn was a bad advisor with an agenda, as I reported earlier today in Sneak Peek. Such comments were not confined to one faction of the White House - the willingness to throw Flynn under the bus has been broadly shared.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

4 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.

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