Flynn denies talking sanctions with Russia

Flynn denies talking sanctions with Russia
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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn said he didn't talk about sanctions on Russia when he spoke with the country's U.S. ambassador late last year.

Flynn, who resigned Monday night, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group on Monday that the conversation did include talk of the 35 Russian diplomats who were expelled by then-President Obama in December, but not Obama's sanctions.

“It wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out,” Flynn said.

“So that’s what it turned out to be. It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.

“If I did, believe me, the FBI would be down my throat, my clearances would be pulled. There were no lines crossed.”

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Flynn resigned after reports that he misled top White House officials about his calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, shortly after Obama sanctioned Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats in retaliation for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
 
Flynn blamed his resignation late Monday on the "fast pace of events" that led him to "inadvertently" give Vice President Pence and others "incomplete information" about his phone conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

“For the vice president, I feel terrible. I put him in a position. He’s a man of incredible integrity. I think the world of him. He is so good for our country,” Flynn said in the interview with the Daily Caller. 

“I should have said, ‘I don’t know. I can’t recall,’ which is the truth. Looking back, that’s what I should have done.”

Flynn claimed his conversation with Russia in December was "not to relieve sanctions."

"It was basically to say, 'Look, we're coming into office in a couple of weeks. Give us some time to take a look at everything,'" he said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday the president asked Flynn to resign from his post because of eroding trust, not because he violated the law. Spicer said Flynn had done nothing wrong in talking to counterparts around the world, including from Russia.
 
"There is not a legal issue but rather a trust issue," Spicer told reporters, adding that circumstances surrounding Flynn's talks with Russia created a "critical mass and an unsustainable situation." 
 
Flynn said in the interview that Trump told him Monday morning — hours before he resigned — to publicly speak more often.
 
“That’s when he told me that we need to go out and talk more,” Flynn said.
 
“I haven’t been fighting back because I’m not that kind of guy. I’m behind the scenes. I’ve always been behind the scenes. But this is ridiculous. It’s so out of control. I’ve become an international celebrity for all the wrong reasons.”