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Michael Flynn and other campaign staffers made multiple calls to Russians

19 May 2017

The FBI is investigating a conversation between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak wherein they discussed establishing a back channel for communication between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that would circumvent the monitoring of USA national security officials.

The 18 interactions are considered to be part of the larger body of information that is now comprising investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election by both the FBI and investigators in Congress. Among other things, they spoke about "establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the US national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations", Reuters heard from four current usa officials.

As bad news continues to strike at the Trump administration, Reuters broke a story just minutes ago that there are now at least 18 separate known contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, before and immediately after the election, prior to Trump taking office.

US President Donald Trump fired Flynn in February on grounds that he had misled US Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak.

Summary: Reuters said that Donald Trump's presidential campaign was in contact with Russian Federation at least 18 times during the last months of the 2016 race.

The 18 calls and electronic messages took place between April and November 2016 as hackers engaged in what U.S. intelligence concluded in January was part of a Kremlin campaign to discredit the vote and influence the outcome of the election in favour of Mr Trump over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

On Feb. 14, Trump allegedly asked former FBI director James Comey during a private meeting to drop the bureau's investigation into Flynn. Trump and his aides have repeatedly denied any collusion with Russian Federation. The remaining 12 involved calls, texts, or emails to various Russians who are regarded as being close to President Vladimir Putin.

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Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk was one of those Putin allies believed to have spoken with members of the Trump campaign, the sources said.

"Of course not", Pence said when asked whether anyone from the campaign was ever in touch with Russian Federation. And throughout it all, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook would neither confirm nor deny contact between the Clinton camp and the Kremlin.

"I am not acquainted with any of Donald Trump's close associates, therefore no such conversation could have taken place", he said in an email to Reuters.

On April 3, European and Arab officials disclosed that Erik Prince, brother of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos and founder of the controversial Blackwater security firm, met with a Russian official to discuss opening up a back channel line of communication between Trump and the Russian government.

Over the last several months, leaks have revealed that the Trump campaign had numerous contacts with Russian Federation prior to the election and immediately after.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. If need be, USA officials investigating the contacts could request that their identities be revealed.