A leak of classified information to the media regarding Michael Flynn’s phone calls in late 2016 with a Russian diplomat was likely not derived from a so-called “unmasking” request, according to analysis from two former U.S. law enforcement officials, and a review of newly released government documents.
Republicans have for over three years suggested that requests that Obama administration officials made for information on Flynn during the presidential transition period were somehow tied to the leak provided to The Washington Post for a Jan. 12, 2017, story about Flynn’s phone calls with Sergey Kislyak, a Russian diplomat.
Post columnist David Ignatius reported that a “senior U.S. government official” said Flynn spoke by phone with Kislyak, the then-Russian ambassador, about U.S. sanctions against Russia.
The story touched off of a series of events that eventually led to charges against Flynn for making false statements to the FBI. The Justice Department filed a motion to toss out the case, citing evidence that the FBI withheld information from Flynn’s lawyers. Attorney General William Barr defended Flynn’s call with Kislyak in a May 8 interview as “laudable” and said the former national security adviser was the target of an FBI “perjury trap.”
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