Russians Reportedly Bragged They Could Use Michael Flynn to Influence Trump
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 23:01
Mr Michael Flynn and other advisers to US President Donald Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and e-mails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, according to current and former US officials familiar with the exchanges.
The Russians saw Flynn as an ally, and while officials expressed their concerns, they also raised the possibility that the Russians may have exaggerated their clout on Trump's inner circle.
An Obama-era White House staffer said: "This was a five-alarm fire from early on, the way the Russians were talking about him".
Although Flynn's tenure as National Security Adviser lasted only a few weeks into the Trump administration, his abrupt ouster has not quieted down the leaks and speculation regarding his ties to Russian Federation.
"We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russian Federation", a White House official told CNN in a statement, adding: "This matter is not going to distract the president or this administration from its work to bring back jobs and keep America safe".
The White House fired Flynn several weeks after Trump took office for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak.
In fact, Flynn's appointment as national security adviser raised eyebrows from the get-go.
Flynn's lawyer declined to comment.
"This matter is not going to distract the President or this administration from its work to bring back jobs and keep America safe". He led the Defense Intelligence Agency at the time and met his counterparts at the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU.
It now appears that Moscow had been cultivating Flynn for months before he became a member of the Trump administration. After Comey's firing, Democrats called for an independent investigation, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein answered the call by appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take over the probe that was originally overseen by Comey.
It was reported in January that Flynn is the subject of an FBI investigation, due to his alleged ties to the Russian government, and the New York Times reported on Wednesday that Trump's transition team knew Flynn was being investigated by federal officials when the president appointed him to serve as National Security Advisor.