‘Very senior’ Trump transition official directed Flynn to contact Russia about Israeli settlements: Documents

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was directed by a “very senior” member of the president’s transition team to reach out to Russia and other nations in an attempt to delay or defeat a UN resolution on Israeli settlements before Trump took office, according to court documents filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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The documents also detail the directions given to Flynn by a Trump transition official about how to interact with Russia regarding sanctions levied against the country by the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the election.

Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to FBI agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including about his contact with Russia.

In the statement of the offense, accepted by Flynn Thursday and released by the special counsel’s office Friday, Flynn is described as having “called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions” on Dec. 29, 2016.

That day, the Obama administration announced it was expelling 35 diplomats and placing sanctions on five Russian entities in retaliation for election meddling.

Flynn initially denied that he spoke about sanctions with Kislyak, a denial that was repeated by Vice President Mike Pence in January, but he later changed his story. Flynn resigned in February.

The document notes that Flynn and the official went on to converse about “the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals” and that Flynn then called the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and “requested that Russia not escalate the situation.”

He then relayed the details of their discussion back to the transition official.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Gen. Michael Flynn, center, with his attorney, Robert Kelner, right, leaves Federal Court in Washington, DC, December 1, 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of lying to the FBI about his back-channel negotiations with the Russian ambassador.

In an interview with FBI officials on Jan. 24, just four days after Trump’s inauguration, Flynn told FBI…

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