Trump spokesman says Flynn, Russian ambassador discussed setting up call between Trump, Putin
Incoming US national security advisor, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, held at least five phone calls with Russia's ambassador to Washington on the day the United States imposed sanctions against Moscow for its interference in the US presidential election, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The calls occurred in the short time frame between the Russian embassy was told about US sanctions and the official announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had decided against reprisals, said the sources.
While not entirely unusual, the calls raised fresh questions about contacts between Trump's advisers and Russian official.
On December 29, US President Barack Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats suspected of being spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking US political groups.
Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer said Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak spoke on the phone around the time of the sanctions announcement, but Spicer said the conversation happened a day earlier, on December 28.
“The call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and the president-elect after he was sworn in, and they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call,” Spicer told reporters Friday. “That was it, plain and simple.”