A working group of U.S. intelligence agencies have investigated National Security Adviser Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russian government officials, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The story, which cites unnamed federal sources, broke on Sunday, just hours after Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, was sworn into office.
[dcquiz] According to the newspaper, it is not clear when the investigation began, if it is still ongoing or if it has produced anything that incriminates Flynn, who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama.
Flynn’s phone conversations late last month with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., are a central focus of the probe, which is being conducted by the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Treasury Department and office of the director of national intelligence.
Flynn spoke several times by phone with Kislyak on Dec. 29, the same day that the Obama administration imposed sanctions against Russia for its role in hacking into Democrats’ emails during the presidential campaign. He has had other contacts with the Russian diplomat.
As The Journal notes, the National Security Agency routinely monitors foreign government officials’ communications.
Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak were leaked to the media earlier this month. Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, has said that Flynn contacted Kislyak to discuss a time to set up a conversation between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Sarah Sanders, a spokeswoman for the White House told The Journal: “We have absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation.”
Flynn has been accused of having too cozy a relationship with the Russian government. In 2015, he appeared at a gala hosted by Russia Today, a news agency controlled by the Kremlin. Flynn shared a table with Putin at the event.
Flynn is the fourth Trump associate being investigated by counterterrorism agents.
Last week it was reported that the mutli-agency working group was looking into ties that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and informal advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page had with Russia.
The agencies are reportedly investigating whether money was routed from the Kremlin into Trump’s campaign coffers. Manafort, Stone and Page have all strongly denied taking any money from the Russian government or coordinating with the Kremlin in any way.