First on CNN: Russian officials bragged they could use Michael Flynn to influence Donald Trump, sources say https://t.co/xZKpbwDxMU
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 20, 2017
CNN is reporting tonight that per multiple sources, Russian officials had “bragged” about using Michael Flynn to influence Donald Trump.
Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown said that these officials had been saying “they had cultivated such a strong relationship with” Flynn that “they believed that they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team.”
Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger said that one former Obama administration official described this as a “five-alarm fire.”
CNN’s reporting reveals just how concerning people found these remarks that were reportedly discovered in intercepted communications:
The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump’s national security adviser, current and former governments officials said…
The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials indicated the Russians regarded Flynn as an ally, sources said. That relationship developed throughout 2016, months before Flynn was caught on an intercepted call in December speaking with Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. That call, and Flynn’s changing story about it, ultimately led to his firing as Trump’s first national security adviser.
There was a report earlier today that Trump said, mere days after Flynn was fired, that the move was a mistake.
CNN’s report does contain a big caveat that “officials cautioned, however, that the Russians might have exaggerated their sway with Trump’s team during those conversations.”
It also features this response from the White House:
“We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russia,” a White House official said in a statement. “…This matter is not going to distract the President or this administration from its work to bring back jobs and keep America safe.”
Watch CNN’s report above.
[image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]