David Ignatius, a writer for the Washington Post, reported on Thursday that Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, had communications with a Russian envoy on the day Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, in retaliation for Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.
Now, Trump’s transition team are confirming that there was communication between Flynn and the envoy, but that it was simply to set up future meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Friday acknowledged that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming national security adviser, exchanged text messages last month with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Spicer said they exchanged brief holiday messages planned a future conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Obama administration now believes there have been more than one instance of communications between Flynn and Kislyak, during the course of Trump’s transition.
Trump and his team have an optics problem.
Under normal circumstances (and let’s face it – with any other candidate), this could likely be written off as diplomatic relations, setting up the groundwork to build from over the course of his presidency, or any number of benign scenarios.
What it whiffs of, once paired with Trump’s ongoing attacks against the intelligence community and the press, is that there is a stickier relationship with the Trump team and Putin’s Russia than any American citizen should be comfortable with.
Someone should grab Trump’s phone, quickly, and have him step back from this. The harder he struggles against this, the more entangled he becomes, and this will follow him into the White House, shadowing over his every move as president.
Mike Flynn's contacts with Russia and other nagging questions about Russian hacking that need answers https://t.co/ayw3F3OqqE
— David Ignatius (@IgnatiusPost) January 13, 2017