Michael Flynn told The Daily Caller hours before resigning he "crossed no lines" while speaking with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and questioned who in the intelligence community was leaking his classified calls.
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.
...“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 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.”
Flynn said he apologized to Vice President Mike Pence about his earlier contention that there were no discussions about the expulsion order, which was part of the Obama sanctions.
“For the vice president, I feel terrible. I put him in a position. He’s a man of incredible integrity. I think the world of him. He is so good for our country,” he said. “I should have said, ‘I don’t know. I can’t recall,’ which is the truth. Looking back, that’s what I should have done.”
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.’”