Flynn told FBI he didn't talk sanctions with Russian envoy: report

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 SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report House Dems ask DOJ watchdog to investigate Sessions's role in Comey firing Overnight Regulation: Trump pick would swing labor board to GOP | House panel advances bill to slow ozone regs | Funding bill puts restrictions on financial regulators 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.

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For weeks, he had publicly claimed that the subject of sanctions did not come up. 

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 SchiffDem ‘astounded’ by how much Trump casts himself as victim Congress to take up North Korea travel ban legislation as soon as next month: report It's time for Republicans to play offense while Democrats are weak 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 GrassleyGrassley: Why hasn't acting FBI chief recused himself on Flynn? Coal, nuclear vie for supremacy in key Energy Department study GOP senators want surveillance requests from FBI Russia probe MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinGraham gets frustrated in public ‘unmasking’ debate Dem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference 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 PenceSenate Democrats: ObamaCare repeal fight isn't over yet Gingrich: Trump will be reelected, then Pence will win in 2024 Funeral for the filibuster: GOP will likely lay Senate tool to rest MORE about the contents of the call, Trump said.

Updated at 7:38 p.m.