Former deputy national security adviser K.T. MacFarland has reportedly told investigators that she “may” have discussed contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak with Michael Flynn — President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser.
According to the Washington Post, MacFarland revised her previous statement to special counsel Robert Mueller denying ever having discussed with Flynn his conversations about Russian sanctions with Kislyak in 2016 before Trump’s inauguration.
She now says he “may have been referring to sanctions” in a conversation with the former national security adviser, sources familiar with the matter told the Post.
Flynn — who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI — told Mueller that another senior Trump transition official was involved in his conversations with Kislyak during the transition, and media reports identified the official as MacFarland.
Her apparent involvement in the secret sanctions discussions forced her to withdraw her nomination to be ambassador to Singapore in February.
According to the Post, her conflicting account of her knowledge of the Flynn-Kislyak contacts put her in legal jeopardy with Mueller.
Flynn served on the Trump campaign and transition team, and was Trump’s first national security adviser.
But he was forced to resign from that position less than a month into Trump’s presidency over his contacts with Kislyak, and he became one of the most scrutinized Trump associates in the Russia investigation.
He pleaded guilty to Mueller in December and has been cooperating with the special counsel ever since.
Trump has blasted the FBI’s treatment of Flynn as “unfair” and defended his actions as “lawful.”
“There was nothing to hide!” Trump tweeted in December.
Flynn and Kislyak had discussed lifting sanctions against Russia that then-President Barack Obama had leveled against Moscow over its interference in the 2016 election.
The contacts have been a key part of Mueller’s investigation into possible conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Additionally, Trump’s apparent attempt to convince fired FBI director James Comey to kill the investigation into Flynn has been a major episode in Mueller’s probe into potential obstruction of justice on the part of the president.
Flynn is expected to be sentenced in December.