The White House has admitted that former national security advisor Michael Flynn, along with U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with Russian officials in Trump Tower last year.
The news, first reported by the New York Times, came merely hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will recuse himself from an investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Flynn, who was fired from his position over “trust issues,” had previously misled Vice-President Mike Pence about meeting with Moscow’s U.S. ambassador, Sergei Kislyak.
Thursday afternoon, The White House told the Times that Flynn had not disclosed a December meeting with Kislyak. The meeting also included Kushner, who is now a senior advisor to the president.
The Times reports that Flynn was establishing a connection between Kislyak and Kushner before Trump took office.
“They generally discussed the relationship and it made sense to establish a line of communication,” White House spokesperson Hope Hicks told the Times. “Jared has had meetings with many other foreign countries and representatives – as many as two dozen other foreign countries’ leaders and representatives.”
Though the exact date of the meeting wasn’t confirmed, the Times reports the 20-minute meeting took place around the time the Obama administration was about to impose sanctions on Russia for meddling in the election.
Flynn, who was recorded by the FBI in phone conversations with the Russian ambassador, eventually admitted to discussing the sanctions with Kislyak, after first denying the accusations made by the Washington Post.
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