A US counterintelligence team has reportedly looked into Donald Trump’s new national security advisor, Michael Flynn, and his communications with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The retired general called Kislyak on the same day that President Obama announced new sanctions against the country in response to allegations that president Vladimir Putin ordered hacks in an effort to influence the election in Trump’s favor. White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the call, but told reporters that Flynn and Kislyak did not discuss the US sanctions. Had they, Flynn would be in violation of the Logan Act, which says its illegal for citizens to conduct foreign policy with diplomats, as he was still a citizen at the time.
According to the Journal, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Treasury Department has investigated Flynn for this call, as well as prior communications with various Russian figures. It’s not clear if the investigation is still ongoing or what evidence, if any, was found. Flynn, now a senior White House aide, is the first person in the new administration to have gone under investigation for his ties to Russia.
On Sunday, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders released a statement, saying, “We have absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation.”
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee is currently investigating three people close to Trump’s campaign and their business ties to Russia, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page. As president, Trump now oversees the agencies that are conducting this investigation.