News

Politics & Policy

Transcripts: Flynn Asked Kislyak Not to ‘Escalate’ Conflict over U.S. Sanctions

Michael Flynn at the White House in February (Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)

Michael Flynn asked Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to respond to U.S. sanctions on Russia on a “reciprocal basis,” according to transcripts of conversations between the two men released on Friday.

The conversations between Kislyak and the incoming Trump national-security adviser in late 2016 were cited by the FBI in its investigation into alleged collusion between Russian operatives and Trump administration officials. At the time, the Obama administration had imposed sanctions on Russia over its attempted interference in the U.S. general election.

“What I would ask Russia to do . . . because I know you have to make some sort of action [in response to the sanctions] — to only make it reciprocal,” Flynn told Kislyak on December 29, 2016, adding that he didn’t want the Russia’s response to “escalate” the situation into a “tit for tat” conflict.

“I understand what you’re saying, but you know, you might appreciate the sentiments that are raging in Moscow,” Kislyak responded.

“I know, I — believe me, I do appreciate it, I very much appreciate it,” Flynn replied. “But I really don’t want us to get into a situation where we’re going, you know, where we do this and then you do something bigger, and then you know, everybody’s got to go back and forth and everybody’s got to be the tough guy here. You know?”

After surveilling several conversations between Flynn and Kislyak, the FBI moved to drop its investigation into Flynn on January 4, 2017. The FBI had concluded that the conversations contained “no derogatory information” that would implicate Flynn in collusion. But that same day FBI agent Peter Strzok intervened to keep the case open.

Flynn later pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI during the course of the investigation, before reversing his plea early this year. The Justice Department dropped the case on May 7.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More
Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More