White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a news briefing Tuesday that President Donald Trump did not tell National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russia during his transition into office.
“No, absolutely not, no, no, no,” Spicer said to a reporter who asked whether Trump had instructed Flynn to discuss Russian sanctions during a conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn resigned late Monday night, following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. His departure upends Trump’s senior team after less than one month in office.
Flynn’s resignation — which one White House official said was offered at the request of the president — came after reports that the Justice Department had alerted the White House weeks ago that there were contradictions between Trump officials’ public accounting of the Russia contacts and what intelligence officials knew to be true based on routine recordings of communications with foreign officials who are in the U.S.
Spicer told reporters at the news briefing that the issue wasn’t whether Russian sanctions were discussed. It was an issue of whether Flynn misled Pence and other officials about the nature of the call.
“When he lost trust with the President, that’s when the President asked for and received his resignation,” Spicer said.
Watch Spicer’s full news briefing in the player above.