You heard it here first –
You heard it here first –
Need to ask the question…Why is the FBI suppressing this?
I mean, the validity of this is freaking easy to nail down.
Last December, the U.K. government was reportedly given extensive records of Trump campaign officials’ interactions with the Kremlin.
The Guardian reported former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia was first given to the UK intelligence services. These documents reportedly contain records of payments from the Trump campaign to banks of Russian cyber trolls tasked with spreading disinformation ahead of the 2016 election.
Court filings confirmed earlier this month that Steele passed along the information because he felt it was “of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election.”
Steele outlined how four Trump campaign representatives traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic in August or September to have “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers.” The group discussed how they would pay hackers for breaking into the Democratic Party’s computers and developing a “contingency plans for covering up operations.”
The memo reported that hackers were paid by the Trump Organization, however, the hackers were under the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen is said to have attended the meeting in Prague, though he has described the memo as “totally fake, totally inaccurate.” He also claimed he’d never been to Prague.
Steele produced 16 memos using Russian sources to describe the web of collusion between Trump aides and Russian intelligence or other officials. A copy of the memos was given to the news outlet Fusion but instructed them not to disclose the material to anyone without approval. They agreed and Steele agreed to provide a copy to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) after McCain learned the memos existed from the UK ambassador to Moscow.
The Guardian reports that the court documents revealed Steele continued to get “unsolicited intelligence” on the links between Trump and Russia. As a result, Steele drew up another memo from Dec. 13. He turned that memo to a senior British national security official and gave encrypted versions to Fusion to give to McCain.
Court statements argue Steele was under an obligation to give the information to the UK and US “at a high level by persons with responsibility for national security.” However, Steele said he never gave a copy to any news organizations, merely off-the-record briefings about the dossier to some journalists in the fall of 2016. They argue they had no involvement in BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the document.
The dossier wasn’t delivered to former President Barack Obama and then-President-elect Donald Trump until January.
Might I suggest hanging the Chump from the light-post on Constitution and 17th NW? That is, after what should be a fairly brief impeachment and trial of course.
Career counterterrorism officer says Putin pulled off a “brilliant” coup — but Trump is headed for impeachment
On an almost daily basis there are new revelations about the questionable and perhaps illegal connections between President Donald Trump’s administration (and before that his campaign) and the Russian espionage apparatus under the control of Vladimir Putin. It is no longer appears to be a question of whether the Russian government actively worked to undermine or affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but who aided it in doing so.
Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign because he did not disclose his contacts with Russia. In addition, Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, met repeatedly with the Russian ambassador and known intelligence operative Sergey Kislyak. Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Paul Manafort also had extensive contacts with the Russian government. Stone has even publicly admitted to communicating with WikiLeaks — a group known to act as a conduit for classified information — in an effort to smear Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. And Trump and his inner circle have unknown but likely extensive financial connections to Russian banks, financiers, corporations and the Russian government.
How much damage has been caused to the American people by Trump’s Russian gambit? Most important, are Donald Trump and his advisers working in support of Russian interests and against those of the Unites States? Are they traitors? How did this all transpire?
In an effort to answer these questions, Salon recently spoke with Malcolm Nance, a career intelligence and counterterrorism officer for the United States government. In his more than three decades working in that capacity, Nance served with U.S. Special Operations forces, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. He has worked in the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A frequent guest contributor on MSNBC, Nance has authored several books, including “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.”
In trying to make sense of the constant revelations about Trump’s connections to Russia, we are often hearing the truism that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” But in this case, it seems that the public is just seeing the tip of the iceberg.
You are absolutely correct. I think that the activities that have occurred and the thing that we’re seeing indicate a scandal on an order of magnitude greater than anything that’s occurred in the 20th century. What’s occurring now is as close to Benedict Arnold as I think we’re ever going to get in American history. It had better be because the only alternative to what we’re seeing with this information is, if it’s not espionage, then it will be the largest financial scandal in American history.
One would think that someone would have taken Trump’s associates aside and told them, about the ambassador and others, “These guys are Russian spies using diplomatic status as cover?” Did they not understand that or did they just ignore it?
You would think that the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn — who had his own coterie of spies, by the way — would know that. But what would override that? Only one of two things would override that. This incredible belief that you give me a boatload of money and I get a boatload of money. Then you get these incredible, unbelievable returns promised to you, and you bring in more people. That’s what we’re seeing here, in this whole crew . . . and I refer to them in my book as “the Kremlin crew” . . . in that they saw relationships with Russia and the extractive energy industries as an ATM that would make them madly wealthy beyond anything if they controlled the levers of government.
The only other way to explain it is that they ideologically bought into [the idea] that Vladimir Putin is the greatest man on Earth and that the Russian antidemocratic system and autocracy is their way of life. I can’t believe that. I think they wanted to win at all costs, and at the end of “win at all costs,” whether that meant cooperating with Russia or working with them, there was the promise of outrageous quantities of money.
Why was the mainstream American media so far behind on the story with Trump and Russia? Incompetence? Fear? Laziness?
I think a combination of lazy and afraid. The Trump train was just so incredibly wild. For them, it was just a question of keeping up on a daily basis, writing these incredible stories. But putting that aside, the people who really, really understood the American media and really knew what to do and how to do it were Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence
In fact, Vladimir Putin was the director of Russian intelligence and then became the president of the country from that position. Vladimir Putin understood, from the Communist era when he was a KGB officer that the Russian propaganda system of targeting Western media — that in the digital world you could easily pull the Western media around by a nose ring. He hacked the American mindset through its own news media. I would personally say [it was] the most brilliant intelligence operation quite possibly in the history of mankind at this point, because he selected the president.
Could this be worse than the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg perhaps in terms of intelligence coups?
Granted, that gave Russia nuclear power and the hydrogen bomb. That was a pure old-school intelligence operation. But now, you could argue that Vladimir Putin has control of 4,000 atomic bombs and they did it using Americans — knowing how Americans thought, knowing how Donald Trump thought. As part of that, you also have the successful attempt to split the “Bernie bros” from the Democratic Party, and also the Jill Steins of the world out there saying, “There’s no difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”
It was a laughable and absurd claim.
“Vote for Donald Trump so that he can destroy the country.” That was the thing that got me about the Stein people. They wanted this anarchy and chaos that we are getting today. The Russians knew this. Vladimir Putin had Jill Stein at his table for the 10th anniversary of the RT network. I don’t care who you are, you can’t say, well, if you received the invitation, you would’ve gone, too. On his right arm, Vladimir Putin had the former director of defense intelligence, Michael Flynn. He had both sides of the election coin at his elbow, and he successfully used his agency and the American media to select the president. Russian intelligence attacked this nation with a cyber-warfare bomb and got members of the American public to prefer a former director of the KGB over anyone in the Democratic Party.
Do you think it is fair to say that Trump and his cadre are traitors and that they should be held accountable based on those criteria?
If we use the rhetorical definition of treason, the common vernacular definition of treason, and it turns out that anyone at any time in this campaign was aware of Russia’s operations, decided to use Russia’s operations and coordinate with Russia’s operations, that right there would be treason. That would be betraying the trust of your nation.
This situation also reflects the way the Republican Party to this point has pursued party over country in blockading these investigations about Trump and Russia. Trump is their opportunity to remake the second part of the 20th century and they’re going to support him no matter what. Also, Trump has surrounded himself with white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazi sympathizers. His cadre is part of a larger movement of extreme right-wing nationalism in Europe as well. Again, that is not being covered extensively.
Vladimir Putin is creating an axis of authoritarian regimes that he will lead. Russia’s a small country. It’s really poor. It has nothing other than oil and weapons sales. They have taken the United States and they now have two pillars in which to hold up Western Christendom by authoritarianism. Now they’re going for others. They’re going to topple Germany. They’re going to topple France. They’re going to topple the Netherlands. They’re going after Norway right now.
If you view Trump as a “Manchurian candidate” in league with Russia, how does that complicate the battle against ISIS and international terrorism?
Well, as far as Trump and Russia is concerned, it doesn’t because they view ISIS as the vanguard of Islam and as being a fundamentalist basis of the religion. The worst part of it all is that this comes from Osama bin Laden. He attacked us on 9/11 in order to induce a clash of civilizations between the Christian West and Islam. In all of these insane right-wingers, none of them have any military experience, and the military people that they do have that are on board with their ideology are the ones who we consider insane. These are the Jack D. Rippers from “Dr. Strangelove,” who want to start a global war and would use their authority at whatever level. This is dangerous.
This administration has got me frightened on a strategic scale because we’re all going to suffer from this. We have a saying in the military: “The stupid shall be punished.” This nation voted for stupid, and we are going to get punished because these people have no sense of decorum, no sense of decency, no sense of living up to any of the traditions enacted over 240 years of this great nation growing.
They are the wrecking crew, and they don’t work for this nation. I really think their ideology is based on an ideology they got from Putin’s philosopher, Alexander Dugin, the man who believes that Western liberal democracy must be destroyed and a strongman authoritarianism [must] step into its place, and then you could reshape the world as you saw fit. That’s Hitler and Stalin talk.
What do you think comes next? Do you think this administration can survive this scandal? Is the partisanship so deep they’re going to weather the storm?
No. There is a very serious chance that this could split the country in a very negative way. That’s what Barack Obama did not want to happen, which is why he didn’t bring all of this out before the election: “No Drama Obama.” He thought that the norms of the United States would be of help, and that the American public, with the information that they had in hand, without any thumbs on the scale, would make the right choice for president. He was horribly wrong. Actually, he wasn’t wrong. He was only wrong by 70,000 people and three counties.
I think this will end in impeachment. If it does not, the American system of government will split in two. I mean, like the Democrats will just stonewall and say, “This is treason.” Then you’re going to get the Republicans who will say, “We’re going to use every level of power to go after anyone that doesn’t agree with us.” But at the street level, you won’t see the changes. You’ll still have the right to speak out. There won’t be any arrests like there were in Russia with Pussy Riot. But people who support Trump will do all of that. They’ll come and attack you. They will silence you. There will be self-appointed groups of people and militias that will make it clear that Trump is God.
The existence of the “Deep State” is a white-wing fantasy formulated by folks advancing absurd, typically fascist ideas in need of an enemy. It typically is advanced by folks who never worked in any intelligence agency, either Civilian or Military – basically because they didn’t have the mental stability to pass the background checks. Ergo, while the NRA and Reprobates are stupid enough to give crazy people guns…At least so far, our government isn’t turning over the keys to the nuclear arsenal to the whack-jobs – even if the Useful Fools voted in one.
What we have in this country is a group of intelligence services each assigned their area of responsibility who often are fractious and refuse to turn over intelligence to each other. George W. Bush found that out the hard way on 911 and strove mightily to fix a broken system where the FBI didn’t talk to the CIA, and the CIA didn’t talk to the NSA. While it is better than it used to be, there is still some healthy inter-agency rivalry, The fact that all 17 Intelligence agencies (about a third of those are private, not government) came up with the same conclusion on Putin’s Bitch being a traitor is stunning to anyone who understands how these organizations actually work. Basically it means that 17 different organizations, with entirely different methods, and scopes of operation limited to inside, or outside the US – independently came to the same conclusion.
Despite the pablum Americans are fed each night on the Boob-Tube, the people who work for these agencies are neither endowed with superhuman abilities, aren’t arch-villains, and don’t go around breaking the law. Two of those agencies do have technology which would boggle your mind, DARPA also develops bleeding edge technology typically used by the Military, However much of the stuff you see on TV doesn’t exist other than in some technologist’s wet dream, of just doesn’t work that way.And while there are certainly some really bad guys out there. Bad guy access to bleeding edge technology is pretty limited.
So…There is no “Deep State”.
Here’s the real truth about America’s national security bureaucrats.
Here’s a handy rule for assessing the credibility of what you’re reading about national security in the Trump era: If somebody uses the term “Deep State,” you can be pretty sure they have no idea what they’re talking about.
The phrase’s appeal is undeniable. The notion of a shadowy network pulling the strings in Washington is an attractive one to an embattled White House and its political opponents, shorthand-employing commentators and conspiracy theorists alike. But uncritical use of this canard is lazy at best and counterproductive at worst. The term, which political scientists invented to refer to the networks of generals and spymasters that rule many authoritarian states around the world, has migrated from leftist critics of U.S. foreign policy to the alt-right advisers running the White House. As a card-carrying former member of America’s vast national security bureaucracy, I find it offensive. But I also find it offensive as an analyst, because it’s a deeply misleading way to understand how the U.S. government really works.
So what is—or isn’t—the Deep State?
Let’s start with standard insinuations of the phrase. There are more than 2 million civilian executive branch employees (not counting the U.S. military or portions of the intelligence community, which does not fully report employment numbers). At least half of that number work in an agency related to national security, broadly defined. When combined with the million-plus uniformed military and support system of contractors, this is an unwieldy group. A mix of hard-working patriots, clock-punchers, technocrats, veterans and scammers, these folks swear the same oath to defend the Constitution.
Hollywood bears much of the blame in portraying this group as some combination of Rambo, the All-Seeing Eye of Mordor and the cast of Homeland—an omniscient guerilla force unaccountable to any authority. Reality is less made for the big screen; if, say, “Zero Dark Thirty” had been true to life, it likely would have been a single shot of 100 hours of lawyers’ meetings. The national security bureaucracy does wield awe-inspiring capabilities that could be disastrous if abused; months sitting through the Obama administration’s surveillance policy review made that clear. But while civil servants and military personnel do pledge to defend the Constitution, it is not only the goodness of their hearts but a complex web of legal, congressional, bureaucratic and political oversight that guards against such risks. These checks are met with both grumbles and keen awareness of how they set the U.S. rule of law apart from, say, Russia. These systems are not foolproof, and could undoubtedly be improved. The flaws of the administrative state—ranging from redundancy and waste to self-interested bloat to inability to innovate to scandalous incidents of corruption—have been well documented, its day-to-day successes far less so. But find me an alternative to the national security bureaucracy, or find me a functioning state without one.
To Steve Bannon and his colleagues in the White House, the Deep State is an adversary to be destroyed. In recent remarks, the president’s chief strategist called for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” According to the Washington Post, he’s been whispering in President Trump’s ear about the Deep State’s alleged campaign to ruin him. And, truth be told, charged with leaking for its own purposes, thwarting President Trump’s policy priorities and ousting his appointees, this “Deep State” sure looks quite guilty in the context of a chaotic first six weeks in office.
But it’s far easier to blame shadowy bureaucrats than to take responsibility for your own failures. The president’s executive order on terrorism didn’t fail because the “Deep State” sabotaged it; it failed because an insular White House did not seek or heed its advice. Leaks did not bring down former national security adviser Mike Flynn; his deception of Vice President Mike Pence did. Though it is impossible to know, much of the exposure of White House infighting that so angers Trump seems far more likely to be coming from his senior aides than from low-level bureaucrats.
None of which is to say that Bannon’s view of the world is completely baseless. Bureaucracies have institutional interests they are loath to let go of, and are plagued by an inertia resistant to disruption. This is common to all large organizations, not a flaw unique to the U.S. system of government. But Trump has a tool to manage this dynamic that he has inexplicably chosen not to wield: placement of around 4,000 political appointees throughout the bureaucracy. Inserting his personal emissaries throughout the “Deep State” would give him far more political control over the civil servants he perceives to be rebelling, and at the same time give his team better access to their expertise. But not a single one has been confirmed below Cabinet level.
And here’s where Bannon’s blame game breaks down: Past presidents have learned there are limits to what a pen and a phone (or a tweet) can implement without calling on the resources of the administrative state. This is not a threat but a fact. Their oath is to the Constitution, not the president, but they are effectively there to make him look good. And he has no alternative: There is no substitute state to defeat ISIS, renegotiate trade deals, build walls, round up illegal immigrants or catch terrorists if Trump works to dismantle the national security bureaucracy. Making the “Deep State” an enemy will cripple his administration.
To many in the media, the “Deep State” has become a convenient label for any quasi-official entity or view that is not enabling the Trump agenda. The former president, Congress, the judiciary, the grass roots community, unions, the Blob, Black Lives Matter and the “mainstream media” have all been lumped with the national security bureaucracy to help explain the unexplainable first weeks of this administration. “Evidence” of such is usually offered in the form of political alignment of the bureaucracy with these groups, leaks of policy deliberations at inconvenient moments, or the lack of success of the president’s desired policy outcomes.
Many assume that civil servants are liberal on various domestic political issues. The reality is more complex, particularly in the national security field, and as veterans make up an increasing proportion of the federal workforce. Various polls proclaimed federal workers would resign if Trump won the election in numbers ranging from 14 percent to nearly 30 percent. Despite some very public anecdotes, the anticipated wave of federal departures has not yet occurred.
Those employees who remain are frequently accused of “thwarting” President Trump’s agenda. This is a serious accusation, but one that hasn’t manifested evidence or shown any distinction from bureaucratic shirking problems that have plagued every prior administration (Obama’s travails with the Pentagon come to mind). Government sausage-making is no silent coup. Presidents do not rule by a Picard-like “make it so,” and agencies have an obligation to present policy advice based on the best facts available. When the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence unit failed to find that the countries implicated in the president’s refugee executive order present a terror threat, the analysts were just doing their jobs—not defying the president. When government lawyers shared legal concerns about the so-called travel ban, they were just offering their best advice. To Trump, perhaps the end result feels the same: He is not getting all he wants and the bureaucracy is telling him no. But this happens to all presidents. The difference with Trump is that he can’t handle the truth.
But those leaks! Here’s the thing about leaks: They are anonymous, and no one issues a friendly survey after a leak querying why the leaker did it. So maybe there is a weekly bowling party where the Deep State gathers to plan its agenda-thwarting leaks. Or maybe the Trump White House is doing what the Trump campaign did with regularity: leaking. Or maybe the leaks would dry up if any sort of formal policy process were launched at the National Security Council and there were other means to air policy concerns. Or maybe leaks are nothing new, having been rounding condemned and unprecedentedly prosecuted in the prior administration, and we just got around to calling it the Deep State. You and I have no idea, and that is the point.
For some, discussions about the Deep State can be a form of wish-casting. Would the military disobey unwise orders from President Trump? Will Defense Secretary James Mattis “save” us from extreme actions in foreign policy? More likely, each will stay in their lane and there will be no scenario in which the system of checks and balances has broken down so badly that they are compelled to initiate a major crisis with the president. For there are checks and balances we should want to be empowered, rather than turn to conspiracy: the judiciary, the media, a healthy political advocacy culture, Congress, the policy and legal advice of institutions, the statutory roles the military and intelligence communities, voters and more. These roles, bound up in our Constitution, do not an activist Deep State make, nor should anyone want them to…
So the next time you hear someone using the term “Deep State,” send them a copy of this article. Ask them to stop using it. Tell them the term betrays their ignorance, and obscures and misleads far more than it illuminates. And if that doesn’t work, well, we Deep Staters will take matters into our own hands.
The latest whine from the Chumph is that President Obama had his telephones tapped prior to the Election.
The bad news for the Chumph, is his lines were indeed tapped. The worse news is why. And Obama had nothing to do with it, other than being one of the recipients of evidence of Trump and his campaign selling out America to the Russians.
It works like this – Anytime you make a phone call to the Intelligence Services of a country considered to be an enemy of America…The NSA taps your ass.They got those numbers on permanent tap-dial on the lookout for American traitors like the Chumph, or spies. The really bad news? You call the CIA’s exchange for any other First World Country…
They got your dumb ass on tape, too. You make a call to you friendly Russian spy in the FSB, their version of the CIA and KGB all rolled into one…You are tapped.
The even worse news, is all of our allies have access to the same technology and recordings. So they all know you are a traitor, Chumph.
Now for the devastating news. Did Obama set you up?
Yeah he did.
He did it by making those intelligence reports of your treason available to every US Government official with clearance high enough to see it, and redacted versions to everyone else.
Meaning it is almost impossible to make that information disappear.
Everyone with a high enough clearance level in the US Government has a copy of the transcript of every conversation the Chumph, or his co-conspirators in Treason made with the Russians. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the information wasn’t distributed to our high level NATO allies. That means hundreds, if not thousands of people in the Government have the evidence to convict the Chumph of treason. And that includes the Military.
Even worse is evidence that at least 20 Republican Congressmen and Senators also were involved in the conspiracy, colluding with the Russians during their elections.
Indeed, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if there aren’t recordings of back-door conversations between Putin and Trump.
And I have no knowledge of what is in those Intelligence reports other than what has been made public.
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence.
Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.
The disclosures about the contacts came as new questions were raised about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s ties to the Russians. According to a former senior American official, he met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, twice in the past year. The details of the meetings were not clear, but the contact appeared to contradict testimony Mr. Sessions provided Congress during his confirmation hearing in January when he said he “did not have communications with the Russians.”…More Here…
You’d be rioting in the streets, quite honestly.
I don’t quite get why Cummings is going to the coronation. I don’t get why he isn’t raising holy hell. I don’t get why there isn’t a massive sit down demonstration in the House, denying the Rethugs the ability to conduct business …Until this information is given to the American people.
The Israelis know Putin’s bitch is compromised. And are the first, I suspect of many of our allies who will treat the Trump administration as enemy sources.
This will cripple US intelligence in certain areas.
Israeli officials have concerns that any intel shared with U.S. will leak to Russia — who’ll leak to Iran
Israeli intelligence officials are reportedly concerned that any intelligence information shared with their American counterparts will eventually leak to Russia — thanks to the cozy relationship President-elect Donald Trump may have with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The fears stem from a reported recent meeting involving Israeli and American intelligence officials, according Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth. Those involved in the talks said that the Americans warned Israel to “be careful” starting Jan. 20, the day Trump takes over the Oval Office.
The American intelligence officials reportedly briefed their Israeli colleagues on the hacks targeting the Democratic National Committee, claiming they had “highly credible information” that Russian intelligence agencies conduct the cyberattacks and subsequently leaked the emails to WikiLeaks to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
According to the report, the Americans also informed Israeli officials that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump. The Americans did not divulge what type of leverage Moscow had, but it was assumed they were referencing the 35-page memos collected by a former MI6 agent.
The Americans reportedly recommended Israel avoid sharing any sensitive documents with the U.S. until a time when Trump establishes he is not sharing information with Russia, or working closely with Putin.
More telling is the fact Trump’s proposed National Security Adviser, Michel Flynn – is having frequent conversations with the Russian Ambassador…
Multiple calls were made on the day the U.S. announced retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the election.
Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, held multiple phone conversations with Russia’s ambassador to Washington on the day the United States announced retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, two people familiar with the issue said.
The conversations appear to raise further questions about contacts between Trump’s advisers and Russian officials at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies contend that Moscow waged a multifaceted campaign of hacking and other actions to boost Trump’s election chances over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
On Dec. 29, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 election.
Whether Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak discussed those sanctions is unclear.
An 18th-century U.S. law, the Logan Act, bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments that are in disputes with the United States.
The phone calls were first reported by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.