Kremlin says Flynn didn’t sway Putin decision on sanctions

Michael Flynn
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI, the first Trump White House official to make a guilty plea so far in a wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin says a conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and the Russian ambassador to the United States did not influence Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to sanctions imposed by Trump’s predecessor.

Former adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about reaching out to Russian officials.

Prosecutors say Flynn in December asked Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak, “not escalate the situation” after the outgoing Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia in retaliation for suspected election interference. Just days later, Putin opted not to retaliate.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday it was “absurd” to suggest that the phone conversation could have influenced Putin’s decision and added that “such requests could not have been passed on” to the president.