REPORT: Trump National Security Adviser Contacted Russian Ambassador Last Month
Following a report in the Washington Post last night alleging retired Gen. Michael Flynn had spoken to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times in late December, CNN reported this morning that the Trump transition team confirmed the phone calls did take place.
According to incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser exchanged texts and phone calls last month to wish the ambassador a Merry Christmas and to set up meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the Post piece, it was speculated that the messages between the two men could have been in relation to the sanctions that President Barack Obama imposed on Russia in response to the country’s efforts to influence the election. Putin announced shortly after that he would not take any retaliatory action.
According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
If the Trump team’s contacts helped discourage the Russians from a counter-retaliation, maybe that’s a good thing. But we ought to know the facts.
Spicer denies that this was the case, saying the message were only in order to set up meetings and talk about Christmas.
UPDATE 5:49 PM ET: CNN is reporting that Flynn and the Russian Ambassador spoke on 12/29, as originally reported in the Post, and not 12/28 as Spicer told them.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 13, 2017
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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