A federal judge ordered the publication on Thursday of the FBI report regarding fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn‘s admitted lie about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The FBI 302 (the full report can be found below) said that Kislyak and Flynn talked about setting up a video teleconference (VTC) between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump after the 2016 election.
Kisylak tried to call Flynn while he was on vacation in the Dominican Republic in December 2016. Flynn texted Kislyak back saying he had bad reception, but would call him soon. Per the report:
During the call, KISYLAK asked Flynn to set-up a VTC between President-elect TRUMP and Russian President PUTIN on January 21st. In addition, FLYNN and KISYLAK discussed the U.S. sending an observer to a terrorism conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, that would be attended by Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syrian opposition groups.
Flynn then decided right after Trump took office that an “observer from the U.S. Embassy in Astana” would go to the terrorism conference. The 302 said that “FLYNN noted Russia wanted to take the lead for peace in the Middle East, but the U.S. needed to be the leader, particularly to keep Turkey under the U.S.’s wing. FLYNN added there was a complete lack of engagement from the prior administration.”
Flynn pleaded guilty in Dec. 2017 for lying to the FBI. Flynn and Kislyak had multiple phone calls in which they discussed whether Trump could ease sanctions on Russia. Flynn also admitted that he to lied on his foreign lobbying registrations about his work on behalf of Turkey.
Flynn, still awaiting sentencing, made waves on Thursday. His defense attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony announced that they had been fired.
The attorneys said in a motion to withdraw that “General Flynn has notified the undersigned counsel that he is terminating Covington & Burling LLP as his counsel and has already retained new counsel for this matter.”
“[W]ithdrawal at this time would not be prejudicial to any of the parties or otherwise inconsistent with the interests of justice.” Judge Emmet Sullivan, who memorably wondered aloud if Flynn had committed treason and apologized for doing so, denied the motion because the attorneys failed to comply with local court rules.
The motion was dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can attempt to withdraw again.
[Image via Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]
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