“I have issued an executive order that provides additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine our election processes and institutions, or those of our allies or partners.
Using this new authority, I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.
In addition, the secretary of the treasury is designating two Russian individuals for using cyber-enabled means to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.”
President Obama (December 29 2016)
December 29 2016 — On December 29 2016, US President Barack Obama retaliated against Russia for hacking American computer systems and trying to influence the 2016 presidential election by ejecting 35 Russian spies and imposing harsh sanctions. Surprisingly, Russia did not respond in kind. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE (December 29 2020) — This single decision started a chain of events that would become the main story for the next four years. Is it finally over? Do not bet on it just yet! In the last episode of this never-ending saga, General Colin Powell is urging the U.S. military to recall Michael Flynn and put him on military trial for sedition.
END of UPDATE
On December 1 2017, Mike Flynn admitted to one count of knowingly making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements when interviewed by two FBI agents in January 2017.
According to the charges, Michael Flynn is accused of:
Falsely telling FBI agents that on or about 29 December 2016 he did not ask Russia’s then ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day”
Failing to recall that Mr Kislyak had later told him Russia was moderating its response to the sanctions as a result of his request.
Two other false statements [UN vote on Resolution 2334 and undeclared business with Turkey] are not relevant to this story.
The reasons for Flynn’s lies are not entirely clear. I worked out the timeline of what exactly happened between December 28 and December 31 2016.
During this time period, Mr. Flynn was in the Dominican Republic.
Other senior members of Mr. Trump’s transition team, including Ms. McFarland, were with the president-elect at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Kushner was vacationing in Hawaii with his family.
December 28 2016 — President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day.
The executive order announced sanctions against Russia in response to that government’s actions intended to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
The Obama Administration formally alerts the Russians (before Kislyak’s text to Flynn) as well as the Trump Transition Team.
Lisa Monaco — Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser — tells her successor — Tim Bossert — that “the Russians have already responded with strong threats, promising to retaliate.”
Russia ambassador Sergey Kislyak contacts Mr Flynn. He sends Mike Flynn a text stating, “Can you call me?”
December 29 2016 — The Obama administration announces its retaliation, ordering sweeping new sanctions.
K. T. McFarland, writes in an email to Thomas P. Bossert that sanctions announced hours before are aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory and make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia.
“Key will be Russia’s response over the next few days,” Ms. McFarland writes in an email to Bossert.
Bossert forwards McFarland’s message to six other Trump advisers, including Flynn; Reince Priebus, who had been named as chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, the senior strategist; and Sean Spicer, who would become the press secretary.
In the morning, Spicer tells reporters that the president-elect would be meeting with his national security team, including McFarland, that day.
A phone call that included Trump, Flynn, McFarland, Priebus and Bannon is scheduled for 5 p.m., shortly after McFarland’s email exchange.
Flynn, who is on vacation in the Dominican Republic, claims that he did not see the (Dec. 28) message from Kislyak until December 29.
Upon seeing the text, Flynn responds that he would call in 15-20 minutes.
Mr Flynn contacts KT McFarland at Mar-a-Lago in Florida to discuss a response.
On that call, Flynn and KT McFarland discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals.
KT McFarland and Flynn also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.
Flynn calls the Russian ambassador back, urging Russia not to escalate the situation.
Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn spoke with KT McFarland to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.
December 30 2016 — Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time.
Mr. Trump praised that decision in a tweet, writing: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart.”
December 31 2016 — Kislyak calls Flynn to and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to Flynn’s request.
After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia’s decision not to escalate the situation.
Obama Retaliates Against Russian Hacking With Sanctions
Obama’s Last News Conference: Full Transcript and Video — NYT JAN. 18, 2017
On This Day — President Obama Announces Tough Sanctions Against Russia For Elections Interference (December 29 2016)
Three Years Ago — President Obama Announces Sanctions Against Russia For Elections Interference (December 29 2016)
Four Years Ago — President Obama Announces Sanctions Against Russia For Elections Interference (December 29 2016)