A conversation between President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser and the Kremlin’s ambassador to the U.S. that took place the day President Obama announced sanctions on Russia was not cleared by the White House, administration officials told NBC News.
Trump aide Sean Spicer confirmed Friday that Ret. Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn spoke to Ambassador Sergei Kislyak on the telephone, and said the intent was to set up a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump once he becomes president. The contact began, Spicer said, on Christmas Day, with Flynn and Kislyak exchanging holiday greetings via text message.
On December 28 — the day before the sanctions announcement — Kislyak sent Flynn a text message asking if they could speak by phone, Spicer said, and Flynn accepted. The call occurred the next day, Spicer said. He denied that it had anything to do with the sanctions. Spicer said there was nothing unusual about the call, but White House officials told NBC News it was not coordinated with them.