Report: Bannon, Kushner, Priebus wanted Flynn out even before he deceived Mike Pence over Russian call

When Mr. Flynn was fired in mid-February, Mr. Trump and White House officials said he had misled the vice president about his conversations with Mr. Kislyak, which led to an embarrassing television appearance in which an oblivious Mr. Pence defended Mr. Flynn’s conduct.

In reality, Mr. Trump — convinced by Mr. Bannon, Mr. Priebus and Mr. Kushner — had already decided that Mr. Flynn was a liability, and was eager to find an excuse to get rid of him, according to three administration officials familiar with the episode.

Mr. Pence was a lot less upset about how the episode was publicly portrayed — and happily provided the president and his staff with a plausible explanation for getting rid of Mr. Flynn, the officials said, even though it made the vice president appear out of touch.

In fact, the president repeatedly asked Mr. Pence to weigh in — and he flatly refused, according to two aides with direct knowledge of the interaction.