Former national security adviser Michael Flynn told FBI agents that he did not discuss sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador prior to President Trump’s inauguration — contradicting information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The denial could put Flynn at risk of a legal charge — lying to the FBI is a felony — but the decision to prosecute would rest with Trump's Justice Department. The Post's report cites current and former officials.
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsPelosi calls for DOJ probe of Priebus on FBI, Russia Roger Stone: Marijuana crackdown would be 'huge mistake' Ex-Education head: Trump transgender rollback ‘thoughtless, cruel’ MORE has so far rebuffed calls that he recuse himself from any investigation involving contact between Trump associates and Russia.
Flynn stepped down Monday night following revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about the contents of a series of calls to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
On Jan. 26, two days after the FBI's interview with Flynn, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed White House counsel Douglas McGahn about the true contents of the call, warning him that officials were concerned Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia over the discrepancy.
The transcripts of the call have become a fierce point of contention on Capitol Hill, where the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are both investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election — including contact between campaign officials and the Russian government.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam SchiffAdam SchiffA guide to the committees: House New national security adviser pick marks big change on Russia Trump’s feud with the press in the spotlight MORE (D-Calif.) have demanded a full briefing on the matter from the Director of National Intelligence, including unredacted copies of the transcripts, by the end of the month.
In the Senate, the leaders of the Judiciary Committee — Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator grilled over DeVos vote during town hall Big Pharma must address high drug prices ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinA guide to the committees: Senate Dem: Trump's China trademark looks like a quid pro quo Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (D-Calif.) — have also demanded a briefing and copies of the transcripts from Sessions and FBI Director James Comey.
Trump on Monday defended the embattled former general, arguing that he was simply "doing his job" by making the phone calls to Russia.
"Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn't doing it," Trump said.
Flynn was fired "because of what he said" to Vice President Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PencePence should clean up transgender mess he left behind in Indiana George Soros denies funding town hall protests WATCH LIVE: Trump speaks at conservative conference MORE about the contents of the call, Trump said.
Updated at 7:38 p.m.