John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, provided Congress on Friday with declassified transcripts of phone calls in late 2016 between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, he said Friday.
Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak touched off a series of events that eventually led to the retired general pleading guilty in the special counsel’s probe to making false statements to the FBI.
FBI agents interviewed Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017, regarding his contacts with Kislyak.
Former FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 2, 2017, that he was unsure whether Flynn lied to the FBI agents regarding his interactions with Kislyak.
Flynn pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2017, to making false statements during that interview. He retracted his admission of guilty on Jan. 29, and the Justice Department filed a motion to withdraw the charges on May 7.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying when he told FBI agents that he did not ask Kislyak to refrain from retaliating against sanctions that the Obama administration imposed against Russia for cyber attacks during the 2016 campaign.
The plea deal also said that Flynn acknowledged that he lied when he said that he did not recall whether Kislyak told him that Russia “had chosen to moderate its response” to the sanctions because of Flynn’s request.
Richard Grenell, who is Ratcliffe’s predecessor, began the declassification process for the transcripts last week.
Grenell declassified footnotes from the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign which showed that the FBI had evidence of possible Russian disinformation in the Steele dossier.
Grenell also declassified a list of Obama administration officials who submitted requests for intelligence reports that identified Flynn.
One mystery that the transcript release does not settle is who in the Obama administration leaked details of the Flynn-Kislyak phone call to the media. On Jan. 12, 2017, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that a senior U.S. government official provided details of Flynn’s call with the Russian diplomat.
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