Hill testimony of Flynn's deputy appears at odds with court filing

Flynn deputy contradicts herself in testimony
Flynn deputy contradicts herself in testimony


    Flynn deputy contradicts herself in testimony


Flynn deputy contradicts herself in testimony 01:54

Story highlights

  • Court documents state that Flynn spoke to a senior transition team official
  • CNN has reported that McFarland was the transition official who spoke to Flynn

Washington (CNN)Former national security adviser Michael Flynn's deputy told a key Senate committee she "was not aware" of any communications between Flynn and the Russian ambassador -- an assertion that appears to contradict a court filing unsealed Friday, according to documents obtained by CNN.

Written comments from K.T. McFarland, who was previously Flynn's deputy and is now President Donald Trump's nominee to be ambassador to Singapore, contrast with court documents unsealed Friday after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
"Did you ever discuss any of General Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak directly with General Flynn?" Sen. Cory Booker asked McFarland in July in written correspondence with the committee, which is overseeing her nomination.
"I am not aware of any of the issues or events as described above," McFarland wrote.
    The court documents detailing the charge against Flynn state that he spoke to a senior transition team official about what to discuss with Kislyak after the Obama administration issued new sanctions against Russia on December 29.
    McFarland was not mentioned in the court filings, but CNN has reported that she was the transition official who spoke to Flynn.
    Sean Bartlett, a spokesman for the committee's ranking Democrat, Ben Cardin of Maryland, said that before the full Senate votes on her nomination, his boss believes "McFarland should publicly clarify the information she said and sent the committee that now appears to be incomplete. The onus is on her."
    A representative for McFarland could not be reached for comment.
    The New York Times first reported the apparent discrepancy in McFarland's comments.
    McFarland's role faced even greater scrutiny following an earlier New York Times report that McFarland wrote an email on December 29 stating the sanctions would make it harder for Trump to improve relations with Russia, which "has just thrown the USA election to him."
    A White House lawyer told the Times that McFarland meant that was how Democrats were painting Russia's role in Trump's election victory.
    But the email and conversation with Flynn prompted the top Democrats on the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on Sunday to call for McFarland to testify before the congressional Russia committees and special counsel Robert Mueller. McFarland recently has spoken with investigators for the special counsel probe led Mueller, CNN has reported.
    "Ms. McFarland needs to come in, and not just testify in front of Mueller, but testify in front of the congressional committees," Senate intelligence committee ranking Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia said on CNN's "State of the Union."
    McFarland joined the Trump administration as deputy to Flynn on the National Security Council.
    But after Flynn's abrupt resignation three weeks into Trump's term, McFarland's role was thrown in doubt. Following the hiring of National Security Adviser HR McMaster, McFarland stepped down from the National Security Council in April and accepted a nomination to become the US ambassador to Singapore.
    Her nomination is still hanging in limbo in the Senate.
    McFarland was formally nominated by the White House in June, and she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July.
    McFarland appeared alongside three other ambassador nominees, all of whom were confirmed in August. While the Foreign Relations Committee cleared McFarland's nomination in September, she is still awaiting a floor vote.
    During her July confirmation hearing, questions about contacts with Russian officials were not raised.
    McFarland was asked two Russia- related questions — one about a 2013 statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved a Nobel Peace Prize, which she said was a "little tongue-in-cheek" to criticize Obama's "red line" in Syria.
    The other was whether she believed Russia had interfered in the 2016 US election.
    "Yes," she responded.