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DNI Ratcliffe Declassifies Transcripts of Flynn-Kislyak Conversations

DNI Ratcliffe Declassifies Transcripts of Flynn-Kislyak Conversations
John Ratcliffe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 5, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/Reuters)

Transcripts of conversations between former Trump advisor Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak were declassified on Friday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced.

The move is the latest in a series of document declassification, initiated by Ratcliffe’s predecessor Richard Grenell, pertaining to the Russia investigation. Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak in 2016 were cited by the FBI as an indication of possible collusion between Russian operatives and officials in the incoming Trump administration.

“Transparency is vital to allowing the American people to have confidence in the Intelligence Community,” Ratcliffe said in a statement. “It is my obligation to review declassification requests with the overarching priority of protecting sources and methods, while also providing transparency wherever possible.”

Flynn was prosecuted and eventually pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI investigators in 2017. However, after retaining new defense counsel, Flynn rescinded his guilty plea in early 2020, and on May 7 the Justice Department dropped its case against him.

Investigators had moved to drop their case against Flynn on January 4, 2017, saying that they had found “no derogatory information” against the Trump adviser regarding his Russia contacts. That same day, FBI agent Peter Strzok intervened to keep the case open.

The Justice Department said that a subsequent questioning of Flynn by Strzok and another FBI agent was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.  

© 2020 National Review

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