National security adviser Michael Flynn has apologized after reportedly discussing U.S. sanctions with Russia’s ambassador before President Trump entered office, according to a new report.
Flynn directed most of his remorse to Vice President Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceTrump to meet with Australian prime minister next month Ex-acting AG Sally Yates to testify at Senate Russia hearing in May US calls on N. Korea to stop 'destabilizing actions and rhetoric' MORE, USA Today said Monday, after Pence defended him and told CBS last month that Flynn never spoke about sanctions during his calls to Russia.
USA Today said it confirmed the Flynn-Pence phone call with a White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
Reports emerged last week that Flynn spoke with Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Russia before Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
Two U.S. officials told the Washington Post on Feb. 9 that Flynn led Kislyak to believe the sanctions would be reevaluated once Trump entered the White House.
“Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” one official said.
The Post’s report seemingly contradicts administration officials, who denied Flynn and Kislyak ever discussed sanctions during their series of December phone calls.
Pence told CBS anchor John Dickerson during a Jan. 15 interview that Flynn never broached the topic with Kislyak.
“General Flynn has been in touch with diplomatic leaders, security leaders in some 30 countries,” he said. "That’s exactly what the incoming national security adviser should do.”
“But what I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.”
The Obama administration imposed fresh sanctions against Russia in December, following revelations Moscow tried tilting the 2016 presidential race in Trump's favor.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday said Trump must fire Flynn if the allegations surrounding the former Army lieutenant general are true.
“Michael Flynn’s conduct was alarming enough before his secret communications with the Russians were exposed,” she said in a statement. "National security demands that General Flynn be fired immediately.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said during a MSNBC interview Monday that Flynn “enjoys the full confidence of the president” despite the controversy over his actions.
A CNN report Monday said Flynn has no plans to resign from his post and does not expect to be fired. However the report, which cites a senior administration official, also raises questions about Flynn's future in the Trump administration.