Flynn discussed Russian sanctions before inauguration: reports

Flynn discussed Russian sanctions before inauguration: reports

National Security Advisor Mike Flynn delivers a press statement on Iran's January 29th ballistic missile test. February 1, 2017. Courtesy: C-SPAN
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned under pressure on Feb. 13 after only 24 days on the job, setting a record for the shortest tenure in the post. On Friday he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. (Courtesy: C-SPAN/file)

WASHINGTON—National Security Adviser Michael Flynn reportedly discussed sanctions against Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to the inauguration, countering the White House’s initial claims that the two men’s phone conversations was not related to policy.

The Washington Post and The New York Times both released similar reports Friday morning, citing current and former American officials.

On January 13, Sean Spicer, who was a spokesperson for then president-elect Donald Trump, told reporters that a phone conversation took place on December 28 in which the two exchanged pleasantries and discussed a telephone conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin after January 20.

“That was it, plain and simple,” Spicer said at the time.

A spokesperson for Flynn told the Post that while Flynn could not recall discussing sanctions, the National Security Adviser can not confirm the topic was not breached.

If the conversation did take place, Flynn could be in violation of the Logan Act, a rarely enforced law that bars private citizens from trying to shape foreign policy.

Kremlim spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday that the Post’s report was incorrect, according to CNN.

Flynn has currently come under scrutiny for his connections with Russia Today (RT), a state-owned media outlet that had paid Flynn to join a discussion and seated him next to Putin at a 2015 celebrating the organization.

In the closing days of the Obama administration, the intelligence community released a report accusing RT of trying to damage the image of the U.S.

The White House has not yet responded to Friday’s reports.

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