Hours before his resignation Michael Flynn denied any wrong doing and raised concerns about the source of White House leaks.
(WASHINGTON, DC)In the final hours before his resignation, now-former White House National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn said he “crossed no lines” in his discussion with Russia’s ambassador, but ultimately he was most concerned about the steady stream of leaks to reporters based on classified information.
“In some of these cases, you’re talking about stuff that’s taken off of a classified system and given to a reporter. That’s a crime,” Flynn told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group during a telephone interview from his White House office on Monday.
“You call them leaks. It’s a criminal act. This is a crime. It’s not just a wink and a nod,” Flynn said.
“Over the weekend,” Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reports, Flynn “was instructed not to speak to the press when he was in the fight for his political life. His staff was not even allowed to review the transcripts of his call to the Russian ambassador.”
On Monday morning, he spoke with TheDCNF at length, saying he was told to “go out and talk more.”
“He [President Donald Trump] expressed confidence,” Flynn told TheDCNF, just hours before his resignation. “That’s when he told me that we need to go out and talk more. So I’m going to do that.”
“I haven’t been fighting back because I’m not that kind of guy. I’m behind the scenes. I’ve always been behind the scenes. But this is ridiculous. It’s so out of control. I’ve become an international celebrity for all the wrong reasons.”
Flynn said he didn’t know where the leaks originated. “One has to wonder, ‘Are they coming out of people in the National Security Council? Are they coming out of people in the intel community? Or State? Or Defense?'”
Flynn called the leaks of classified information against government officials “unprecedented,” and predicted those would be the focus of future congressional investigations.
“Members of Congress are very concerned because these are leaks from classified systems. The House and Senate are looking into those things, as they should,” he told TheDCNF.
Flynn insisted that he crossed no lines in his telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak: “If I did, believe me, the FBI would be down my throat, my clearances would be pulled. There were no lines crossed.”
Flynn said there was a brief discussion of the 35 Russian diplomats who were being expelled by Obama in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 campaign.
“It wasn’t about sanctions. It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out,” Flynn said. “So that’s what it turned out to be. It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.’ I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”
The December conversation “was not to relieve sanctions. It was basically to say, ‘Look, we’re coming into office in a couple of weeks. Give us some time to take a look at everything.’”