“I just got a message from the president to stay strong,” [disgraced former national security advisor Michael] Flynn said after the meal was over, according to two sources who are close to Flynn and are familiar with the conversation, which took place on April 25.
The comment came at the end of an especially difficult day for Flynn, during which his legal woes appeared to grow: Two congressmen — House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings, D-Md. — after reviewing classified Pentagon documents, had just accused Flynn of failing to disclose foreign income from Russia and Turkey when he sought to renew his security clearance.
The sources who spoke to Yahoo News say Flynn did not indicate how Trump had sent the message —whether it was a written note, a text message, a phone call or some other method. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) But the fact that the two men have stayed in contact could raise additional questions about the president’s reported request to former FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal investigation of the retired Army general.Ned Parker, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel report at Reuters:
Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.
The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.
Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti report at The New York Times:
Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.
Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.
Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.Vera Bergengruen reports at McClatchy:
One of the Trump administration’s first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired – and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey, whose interests, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, he’d been paid more than $500,000 to represent.
The decision came 10 days before Donald Trump had been sworn in as president, in a conversation with President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who had explained the Pentagon’s plan to retake the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa with Syrian Kurdish forces whom the Pentagon considered the U.S.’s most effective military partners. Obama’s national security team had decided to ask for Trump’s sign-off, since the plan would all but certainly be executed after Trump had become president.
Flynn didn’t hesitate. According to timelines distributed by members of Congress in the weeks since, Flynn told Rice to hold off, a move that would delay the military operation for months.