President-elect Donald Trump's top national security adviser has reportedly been in regular contact with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., an anonymous government source said on Jan. 13.
A senior U.S. official reportedly told The Associated Press that President Barack Obama's administration has learned of the communications between Michael Flynn, Trump's national security advisor, and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which occurred multiple times, including on the day Obama imposed sanctions against Russia amid reports that the country hacked and meddled during the U.S. presidential election.
Sean Spicer, incoming White House press secretary, confirmed the two men spoke on the phone on Dec. 28, the day before the sanctions were imposed.
"The call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the president of Russia and the president-elect after he was sworn in, and they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call," Spicer told reporters on Jan. 13. "That was it, plain and simple."
Later, a member of Trump's transition team clarified that a second phone call took place earlier in December, and that Kislyak called Flynn again on Dec. 28. Flynn returned the call when it would have been Dec. 29 in Moscow, the team member said.
Though it is relatively common for incoming presidential administrations to speak with foreign leaders, the alleged frequent conversations before and after the sanctions have drawn questions as to whether Trump was involved in Russia's decision not to act against Obama's move.
The phone call reports come while government officials investigate an unverified 35-page collection of memos alleging that Trump has deep personal and financial ties to Russia, and that the foreign government has compromising information about him, according to Politico.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will look into Trump's alleged ties to Russia, Republican Chairman Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina announced on Jan. 13. It is unknown what approach the FBI is taking, as Director James Comey has declined to comment on the matter.