President Trump's national security adviser may be in hot water over his talks with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office.
Obama in December slapped sanctions on Russian Federation because of its alleged spying in the United States and because the USA intelligence community expressed a high degree of certainty that Russian Federation attempted to meddle in the US elections.
Chris Cillizza writes "The Fix", a politics blog for the Washington Post.
According to current and former US intelligence and law enforcement officials, Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the ambassador, exchanged texts and at least five phone calls in the moments before and the day after Obama announced his actions on Russian Federation, which were in retaliation for its election hacking.
Flynn "indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up", the spokesman said.
Kislyak, for his part, has said he enjoyed unchecked communication with Flynn via text message, by phone and in person.
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That forced Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer who had long maintained a top secret-level security clearance, out of his NSC post, explained the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters. This contradicts Flynn's flat denials and the Trump administration's characterizations of the nature of the call. Sources continued to tell the Associated Press that day that there had been a call on December 29.
The question, of course, was why Flynn made those calls. A fact check later unveiled each segment was shot in different locations on different dates and the two could not have possibly met during it. Trump has also vaguely and explicitly denied ever having contact with Putin in more recent interviews. The sanctions in question have so far remained in place.
Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly did not retaliate against the USA for the expulsions, a decision Trump quickly praised. Hours later, an official acknowledged one such call.
Flynn also has been a booster of closer ties with Russian Federation, whose government, under President Vladimir Putin, has been reviled as repressive and corrupt by Democrats and Republicans.
David Corn, Political Editor of Mother Jones, told The Independent, it was now clear that Mr Flynn had not only discussed sanctions with Russian Federation - something that would potentially breach U.S. law - but then misled the public and the media about the conversation. The Logan Act, an obscure 1799 statute, makes it illegal for civilians to negotiate with foreign government in disputes involving the US government.
The talks took place happened in the month before Trump's January 20 inauguration - and they reportedly are being reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with other intercepted communications involving Russian officials.