Kremlin Denies Trump's National Security Adviser Discussed Sanctions With Russian Ambassador

The Washington Post reports White House national security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation with Moscow's ambassador during the month before Trump took office.

Vice President Mike Pence's assertion in a televised interview that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn hadn't discussed USA sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador was based on what Flynn had told him, an administration official said. But the official said Flynn now says that while he does not recall talking about sanctions, he can't guarantee the matter did not come up.

"There is no crime", Krauthammer said.

On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Flynn had explicitly discussed the sanctions with Kislyak during a series of phone calls in December based on interviews with current and former senior officials. They said the reports of his calls to the Russian ambassador contribute to "questions concerning his suitability for continued access to classified information". The New York Times pointed out that the conversations "raise the prospect that Mr. Flynn violated a law against private citizens' engaging in diplomacy, and directly contradict statements made by Trump advisers".

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The story confirms what was initially suspected in December, when Flynn was suspected of talking to Russian Federation about Obama's sanctions on the day they were announced, which he denied at the time.

Two other Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Jeanne Shaheen, asked USA intelligence agencies to review Flynn's security clearance, saying the reports raise "questions concerning his suitability for continued access to classified information".

MIKE PENCE: -my conversation with General Flynn. "They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia", Pence told host John Dickerson. Last month, people close to Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, described Flynn to the New York Times as a bad leader. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russian Federation 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.

On cable news, Fox News' Fox & Friends also spent no time on the reports during the February 10 edition. And to date, the sanctions remain in place.

Publicly, including at the Moscow conference, Flynn has suggested he believes the US should work with Russian Federation to combat radical Islamic terrorism, which he has described as a "cancer".

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits federal officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign governments.

  • Carolyn Briggs