May 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Michael Flynn asked Russia for "reciprocal" action against Obama-era sanctions

Michael Flynn outside
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, asked the ex-Russian ambassador to the U.S. to take "reciprocal" action against Obama-era sanctions over election interference in late 2016, Politico reports, citing transcripts released to Congress on Friday.

Why it matters: The Justice Department dropped its prosecution of Flynn earlier this month, after he pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to FBI agents about discussing sanctions with Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador.

The big picture: Almost 2,000 former DOJ officials and former President Obama have accused Attorney General Bill Barr of politicizing the DOJ for its decision to drop charges against Flynn.

Between the lines: President Trump and his allies have long claimed that the Russia investigation — in which Flynn lied about his contact with Kislyak — was a political hit job by the Obama administration.

  • Flynn said in conversation with Kislyak as an incoming adviser that he wanted to avoid escalation over the sanctions, per the newly declassified transcripts.

What they're saying: “The transcripts also reveal why Flynn was properly the subject of a counterintelligence investigation and how the DOJ’s effort to dismiss the case against him is so transparently political and destructive to the interests of justice," House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Friday.

  • "As a result of lying to both the FBI and the Vice President, Flynn posed a severe counterintelligence risk because the Russians knew the real contents of Flynn’s communications and that he lied about them to some of the most senior officials in the U.S. government."

Go deeper: The facts on Michael Flynn, the FBI, and Bill Barr’s bombshell

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