Spicer: Trump Did Not Instruct Flynn To Talk About Sanctions With Russia

AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that President Donald Trump had not instructed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions on the phone with the Russian ambassador to the United States before the President’s inauguration.

Flynn resigned Monday night, days after the Washington Post reported on his call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Hours before Flynn’s resignation, the Post reported that the then-acting attorney general had informed the White House that Flynn could be at risk of Russian blackmail.

“No, absolutely not. No, no, no – no,” Spicer said at a press briefing Tuesday when asked if Trump had instructed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak.

Spicer said that Trump “had no problem” with the content of Flynn’s call, merely that his administration had been misled about it by Flynn.

“I think the President had no problem with the fact that he acted in accord with what his job was supposed to be doing,” Spicer said. “He had the ability to talk about issues of importance, whether it was that or the 30 other countries that he spoke to, that was part of his job. As has been noted by many people, that’s what the national security adviser and, frankly, other positions do. They begin the process of preparing their incoming job by talking to counterparts, people who previously held the job, et cetera. If he had not done that there would be questions as to whether he’s properly prepared on day one.”

“The issue isn’t whether or not– what he discussed,” Spicer continued. “There’s been a complete legal review of that and there’s no issue with that. The issue is whether or not he failed to properly inform the vice president or not be honest with him, or not remember it, but that’s the plain and simple issue. And when he lost trust with the President, that’s when the President asked for and received his resignation.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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