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Russian officials thought they could use Flynn to influence Trump: report

The Hill logo The Hill 5/20/2017 Max Greenwood
GOP rep: Hiring Flynn was ‘indefensible’ failure of judgment © Provided by The Hill GOP rep: Hiring Flynn was ‘indefensible’ failure of judgment

Russian officials boasted during the 2016 presidential race that they had cultivated such a strong relationship with former adviser Michael Flynn that they could use him to influence then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, CNN reported Friday.

The bragging reportedly troubled U.S. intelligence officials, some of whom sought to stymie what kind of information was given to him after Trump was elected and Flynn was tapped as his national security adviser.

Flynn resigned from the top White House post in February amid revelations that he had discussed sanctions with Russia's ambassador in the month before Trump took office and failed to disclose the nature of those communications with top administration officials.

Intercepted communications of Russian officials signaled that they viewed Flynn as an ally, CNN reported. U.S. officials also cautioned that the Russians may have exaggerated their relationship with Flynn in the communications.

Federal investigators are currently probing Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, as well as possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trump asked FBI Director James Comey in February to shut down his agency's investigation into Flynn, which Trump later denied. Trump abruptly fired Comey last week.

Trump has repeatedly denied collusion between his campaign and Russia, and has assailed the ongoing investigations as a "witch hunt" and a political ploy by Democrats to undermine his presidency.


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