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Michael Flynn and other campaign staffers made multiple calls to Russians
The retired general was at the center of a number of breaking stories.
In new revelations, Reuters reports that Flynn and other Trump campaign members were in contact with Kremlin officials on at least 18 occasions, by phone and email, during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race. Six of these calls were with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
According to the report, one of the purposes of the call was to establish “a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy.”
Flynn, a retired general, was forced by the president to resign after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about conversations he’d had with Kislyak, in which he allegedly discussed the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia.
The officials who disclosed the findings to Reuters claim that none of the communications reviewed have uncovered collusion for the purposes of winning the presidency.
In an entirely separate story, McClatchy published a report claiming that in the days before Trump took office, Flynn blocked an Obama administration military plan against the so-called Islamic State that was opposed by Turkey’s government—who Flynn had previously worked for, receiving an undeclared $500,000 consultation contract.
The implication is that Flynn potentially represented in the interests of a foreign government—his former client—when in the White House.
According to a New York Times report released last night, the Trump team was aware that Flynn was under investigation for secretly working for the Turkish government, yet nonetheless brought him on board as national security adviser, a position wherein he’d be privy to the highest levels of classified information.
These stories all came after The Washington Post published an audio recording of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from June 15, 2016, one day after the intelligence community alleged Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy muses in the tape.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.