Flynn Defends Russia Call: I Said ‘We’ll Review Everything’

Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for National Security advisor gets in an elevator at Trump Tower, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

Michael Flynn maintained on Monday that he “crossed no lines” in his December phone call with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, in what was his most detailed account of the call.

In an interview with the Daily Caller on Monday, which was published the following day, Flynn said his call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak “wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out.”

“So that’s what it turned out to be. 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,” he said.

That is Flynn’s most detailed account of the phone exchange yet. In two separate interviews with the Washington Post, Flynn’s story changed regarding his memory of the call with Kislyak.

According to the Post, on Wednesday Flynn said twice that he had not discussed sanctions on the phone with Kislyak. On Thursday, before the Post published a report citing nine unnamed officials who claimed Flynn did discuss sanctions, a spokesman for the former national security adviser “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

And in his resignation letter, released to the media after the Daily Caller interview took place, Flynn wrote simply that he had “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.”

Flynn also hinted on Monday at a line that White House press secretary Sean Spicer would use the following day during a press briefing; that leaks from unnamed sources in various agencies concerning Flynn were “the real story.”

“People who are entrusted with national security secrets, classified information, are leaking it out. That’s a real concern for this President,” Flynn said.

Speaking of leaks: The New York Times reported Tuesday that Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI regarding his call with Kislyak in the first days of the Trump administration.