Incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn told Russia’s ambassador to Washington in late 2016 to take “reciprocal” actions in response to Obama administration sanctions for election interference, rather than escalating the situation into a “tit for tat.”
“You might appreciate the sentiments that are raging in Moscow,” the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, replied to Flynn’s request.
“I know, I – believe me, I do appreciate it, I very much appreciate it,” Flynn responded. “But I really don’t want us to get into a situation where we’re going, you know, where we do this and then you do something bigger, and then you know, everybody’s got to go back and forth and everybody’s got to be the tough guy here, you know?”
The exchange is at the heart of the controversy over the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump campaign aides’ contacts with Russian officials throughout.