Trump Russia probe: The key players in the FBI's Michael Flynn investigation

The retired general admitted earlier this week that he had made false statements about his contacts with the Russian ambassador

Stephen Braun,Eric Tucker
Saturday 02 December 2017 21:01 GMT

A retired US Army general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, General Michael Flynn served for less than a month as President Donald Trump's first national security adviser.

He was fired by the President in mid-February after officials said that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his phone discussions with Sergey Kislyak, at the time the Russian ambassador to the United States.

General Flynn's misleading statements about his Russia contacts and his 2016 consulting work for a Turkish client both came under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. He admitted earlier this week that he had made false statements about his contacts with Mr Kislyak.

Sergey Kislyak

As Russia's ambassador to the US, Mr Kislyak attended the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Mr Trump was nominated as the party's presidential candidate.

During the campaign, Mr Kislyak met several of the then president-elect's aides, including then Senator Jeff Sessions. After Mr Trump's election, Mr Kislyak spoke by phone several times with General Flynn in late December and discussed sanctions put in place by the Obama administration.

The calls were monitored by US intelligence agencies, and days after Mr Trump took office in January, General Flynn was interviewed by FBI agents about those talks. He admitted lying during that interview by saying, among other things, that he had never discussed sanctions.

Vice President Mike Pence

As media revelations emerged about General Flynn's talks with Mr Kislyak, Mr Pence stated publicly that he had spoken with General Flynn and been assured that the national security adviser and Mr Kislyak had not discussed sanctions.

The White House later explained General Flynn's ouster by saying he had lost the trust of both Mr Trump and Mr Pence.

President Donald Trump

After naming General Flynn to head the National Security Council in January, Mr Trump forced him from the position less than a month later. He has since praised General Flynn as a good man and has made statements, including on social media, that have appeared protective or defensive of him.

James Comey

The former FBI director, whose firing in May precipitated the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, James Comey has said that Mr Trump asked him during a private Oval Office encounter in February if he could see his way to letting the Flynn investigation go, and told him that General Flynn was a good man.

Mr Comey has said he found the request concerning and documented it in an internal memo, summaries of which were later disclosed to reporters. The White House has denied that the conversation occurred as Mr Comey described.

Sally Yates

As acting attorney general at the end of the Obama administration, Ms Yates and another Justice Department official went to the White House on 26 January to warn White House counsel Don McGahn that General Flynn was potentially compromised and vulnerable to blackmail because of discrepancies between the public accounting of the conversation with Mr Kislyak and what actually occurred.

Though White House officials including Mr Pence had stated publicly that General Flynn had not discussed sanctions with Mr Kislyak, Ms Yates has said she advised Mr McGahn that there were factual problems with that account. She has said she expected the White House to take action.

Donald Trump insists 'no collusion' after Michael Flynn admits lying to FBI

Michael G Flynn

Michael Flynn Jr, as he is known, accompanied his father on his 2015 trip to Moscow. Mr Flynn Jr worked for his father's company as part of its 2016 research aimed at developing a criminal case against Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim cleric whose extradition from the US has been sought by Turkey's government. Flynn's son was paid $12,000 (£8,900) for unspecified "administrative support" under the Turkish contract. Mr Flynn Jr also acted briefly as his father's chief of staff during the transition, but was forced to resign after his frequent tweets on conspiracy theories.

KT McFarland

The former deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration, and former Fox News analyst, was nominated in May to be ambassador to Singapore.

According to two former transition officials, Ms McFarland was referenced in court papers as the unnamed Trump transition team member who spoke with General Flynn last December about what, if anything, to say about sanctions that had just been imposed on Russia by the Obama administration in response to election meddling.

Associated Press

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