Donald Trump’s administration has a pretty big Russia problem. It turns out that another Trump-appointed official lied about his ties with Russia. The new Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak twice last year, but then he lied about it to Congress during his confirmation hearing in January. While it’s not known what Sessions may have chatted about with the ambassador, a new report brings more details about Michael Flynn’s dealings with the same Russian official.
Flynn was forced to resigned a few weeks ago for a similar matter. He also lied about talking to Russia around the time the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia for interfering with the presidential election.
What did Flynn tell Kislyak?
An extensive report from The New York Times, that happens to be an absolutely good read for a longer commute, tells us that the outgoing Obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of the Russian election hacking in the weeks between Trump’s win and his inauguration.
The worry was that the incoming Trump administration might not act on the available intelligence, and even try to cover it up.
Interestingly, right near the end, the report details what Flynn talked to Russia about. The calls apparently began on December 29th, soon after the State Department informed Kislyak about the upcoming sanctions.
The ambassador “was irate and threatened a forceful Russia response, according to people familiar with the exchange,” The Times explains.
However, Russian President Vladimir Puttin said a day later that he would not retaliate, a move that Trump praised on Twitter.
On January 2nd, officials learned that Kislyak was the person to call Flynn after the State Department visit, and the two talked multiple times in the 36 hours that followed.
Because American intelligence agencies wiretap the phones of Russian diplomats, there are transcripts of the calls that show “Flynn urged the Russians not to respond, saying relations would improve once Mr. Trump was in office, according to multiple current and former officials.”
American intelligence agencies aren’t the only one that collected information on Trump’s dealings with Russia, providing reports to the then-President Barack Obama. British, Dutch and other allied spy agencies also provided intelligence on meetings in European cities between Russian officials and others close to Putin and associates of President-elect Trump.
The full report is definitely worth a read over at The Times, and we can only expect to be deemed as “fake news” by You-Know-Who-in-Chief pretty soon.