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Mike Flynn Asked Russian Ambassador Kislyak for Alliance Against Radical Islamists on Infamous Phone Call

Mike Flynn Asked Russian Ambassador Kislyak for Alliance Against Radical Islamists on Infamous Phone Call

When Donald Trump’s national security adviser-designate made his fateful phone calls with the Russian ambassador, the conversations that set in motion his downfall had a goal behind them. Drawing closer to the rival power that interfered in the 2016 election didn’t occur for its own sake, transcripts declassified on Friday show, but to create a new Mideast partnership against what retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn saw as “radical Islam.” 

“You know that the strategic goal is stability in the Middle East,” the transcripts show Flynn pressing upon Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 23, 2016. “We will not achieve stability in the Middle East without working with each other against this radical Islamist crowd. Period. I am very adamant about that.” 

Flynn would later plead guilty – and, later still, seek to reverse his plea – for lying to the FBI in January 2017 about the discussions of U.S. sanctions on Russia that he had with Kislyak on that day and others. But the calls, declassified by former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell and released under the auspices of confirmed successor John Ratcliffe, confirm an overlooked aspect of the Trump team’s early outreach to Moscow. 

The reason why Flynn was keen for Moscow to tamp down its response to the Obama administration’s final round of sanctions was to advance a longstanding desire on Flynn’s behalf to unite the two nations against a dark vision of Islam that Flynn had come to hold. First on the agenda would be to come to terms on Syria, where both nations had deployed their militaries. It was something Flynn wanted the Pentagon to explore – and something that would lead to an encounter in the Seychelles between an infamous mercenary and the head of a sanctioned Russian fund. 

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