Saturday 28 January 2017

Stephen Cohen: Kremlin-Baiting Trump

Kremlin-Baiting Trump & What is the risk?
Stephen F. Cohen, @nyu, @princeton University.

Kremlin-Baiting Trump & What is the risk? Stephen F. Cohen, @nyu, @princetonUniversity.

The intelligence source said there were multiple calls between Flynn and Kislyak and other reports, including in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, have said there were "a series of calls."

However, reacting to the WSJ's report, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Monday that Flynn and Kislyak made only one phone call and that it was benign.

Spicer said the pair discussed a plane crash over the holiday that killed a Russian military choir, a potential conference on ISIS in Syria, and setting a conversation between Trump and Putin.

The details come against the backdrop of questions about whether people involved in the Trump campaign had any ties to Russia during the election.

The Senate Intelligence Committee said earlier this month that it would investigate the role of Russian intelligence on the U.S., along with any "links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns."

Flynn's call, however, was not unusual for drawing the scrutiny of FBI counter-intelligence agents, one former U.S. counter intelligence official told NBC News.

The former official, who requested anonymity to speak about sensitive information, said it was not uncommon for diplomats or other U.S. officials to garner such attention to if they are recorded talking to foreign counterparts. 

Rarely anything comes of this, however, because U.S. officials have wide latitude in how they communicate as part of their jobs.

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