Mike Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russian Ambassador
White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the U.S. before President Donald Trump took office, current and former American officials said, citing transcripts of intercepted communications that contradict his repeated assurances that the subject hadn’t come up in a series of phone conversations last December.
Mr. Flynn at that point had no official government position, and the conversations are an issue because if he had promised an easing of...
National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say
the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats. Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
All of those officials said Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.
“Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” said a former official.
A third official put it more bluntly, saying that either Flynn had misled Pence or that Pence misspoke. An administration official stressed that Pence made his comments based on his conversation with Flynn.
Despite Denials, Russians Were in Contact with Trump Campaign BEFORE THE ELECTION
potentially even more explosive revelation: Russian contacts with Donald Trump’s inner circle during the presidential campaign, an allegation that the Trump administration has also previously categorically denied.
the Russian ambassador recently remarked on contacts prior to the election: “Kislyak said that he had been in contact with Flynn since before the election, but declined to answer questions about the subjects they discussed."
Why would the pre-election contacts be the more significant story? The reason is, as many commentators suggest, if such contact related to Russia’s cyber campaign to help elect Trump and destabilize a potential Clinton presidency, it could raise more serious allegations, even including treason.
Compare that implication to the potential legal violation of Flynn’s speaking with the Russian ambassador after the election. As Steve Vladeck wrote at Just Security, the law prohibiting private citizens’ engaging in diplomacy—the Logan Act—may not apply to an incoming president-elect’s transition team.
Sometimes the cover up is worse than the crime. On all these counts, administration and former campaign associates may need to consider the False Statements Crime, that is, if they spoke directly with investigators who have been handling these cases. (On the status of current investigations, I recommend Susan Hennessey’s discussion over at Lawfare.)
Flynn's talks with Russian ambassador point to larger problem
Flynn, in fact, had at least five calls with Kislyak. His ties with Russia have remained a controversial part of his resume. He sat next to Putin at a dinner in Moscow in 2015, and he has long-standing ties to Russian intelligence dating to before the Trump presidential campaign.
Mike Pence Told About Flynn Warning Two Weeks After Trump, White House
The White House kept Vice President Pence in the dark for weeks about the warning it had gotten about national security adviser Flynn from the Justice Department, Pence's press secretary, Marc Lotter, said Tuesday.
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