Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was not the target of a counter-intelligence investigation of his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., contrary to reports on Sunday suggesting that he was, according to The Washington Post.
On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn’s phone calls on Dec. 29 with Sergey Kislyak were investigated by several intelligence community agencies, including the FBI. Details of the probe were not made clear in the report. The newspaper also reported that it was unclear whether the investigation was still ongoing.
But The Washington Post appears to have a different set of sources. And those government officials appear to have more information about the status of the probe.
According to The Post, the FBI reviewed intercepts of communications between Flynn and Kislyak “but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government.”
Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak were picked up during routine surveillance of the Russian diplomat’s phone calls. And though the conversations were listened to, “Flynn himself is not the active target of an investigation,” the U.S. officials told The Post.
When news of Flynn’s phone calls broke earlier this month, the Trump transition team said that Flynn placed the calls to discuss setting up a phone call between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The phone calls occurred on the same day that the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russian agents over the Kremlin’s role in hacking Democrats’ email accounts during the presidential campaign. While Putin was widely expected to respond aggressively to the rebuke, he instead let the issue slide and invited the families of American diplomats to attend holiday celebrations in Moscow. Many observers wondered if Flynn and Kislyak had discussed the Kremlin’s response to the new sanction.
The Post’s sources told the newspaper that Kislyak and Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, would likely have been wise enough not to discuss any illicit activity during their phone calls, knowing that the conversations was being picked up by counterintelligence agents.
Several other Trump associates are reportedly at the center of an intelligence community probe for their own ties to Russia. It was reported earlier this month that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page are being investigated over possible financial connections to Russian agents. All have strongly denied the allegations.