Federal officials questioned former national security adviser Michael Flynn last month about whether he talked about sanctions with a Russian official, a government official told Fox News.
The interview with FBI agents reportedly came after a Jan. 23 press conference where White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Flynn did not discuss the matter with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, said intelligence officials had already intercepted conversations in which they discussed the sanctions.
Flynn sought to persuade the Russian ambassador not to “overreact” to then-President Obama’s punitive measures against Moscow for the alleged meddling in the U.S. election, the sources said. Flynn reportedly suggested that the Trump administration would be friendlier to Moscow.
The Wall Street Journal reported that it is unclear what was discussed in the meeting with the FBI agents, but said that it is a crime to lie to the FBI.
“The [Senate] Intelligence Committee is already looking at Russian involvement in our election,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “It’s highly likely they’d want to take a look at this episode as well. They have the broad jurisdiction.”
Shortly before his resignation, Flynn told The Daily Caller his conversation with the ambassador “wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out… It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.’’
Law enforcement sources close to the matter told Fox News that the broad investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian officials is active and ongoing. Senior law enforcement sources told Fox News last month that Flynn's contacts with the Russians escalated after the election.
Seperately, intercepted phone calls show that members of Trump’s presidential campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials, The New York Times reported.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said intelligence officials intercepted these contacts around the same time they were looking into the Democratic National Committee. The officials said that they have yet to find any sort of cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians into the hacking effort.
The Times report said that it was unclear what was discussed in the conversations. The intercepted calls are reportedly separate from Flynn’s phone calls.
Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager for a few months, was reportedly one of those who made a call that was intercepted. Manafort denied the allegation, saying “I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers."
The White House has denied the claims that any individuals from his campaign were in touch with Russian officials prior to the election.