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FBI requests records of former Trump adviser's associates: CNN

FBI subpoenas for people who worked with Michael Flynn are part of investigation into Russian meddling in US elections
CNN described the subpoenas as a 'significant escalation' in the probe into the Russian involvement in US elections (Reuters)

The FBI has requested the business records of associates of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the context of the probe into Russian influence on US elections, CNN reported on Tuesday citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter.

Flynn, a former confidant of President Donald Trump, was fired 18 days after taking office for failing to disclose that he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador in Washington while Barack Obama was still president. Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told Congress on Monday that she warned the White House early on that Flynn is compromised and could be blackmailed by the Russians.

Yates herself was fired by Trump for refusing to defend the “Muslim ban” in court.

After Flynn was fired, it was discovered that he had registered with Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit for lobbying work that “benefited the Republic of Turkey”.

The FBI’s subpoenas for people who worked with Flynn are a part of the bureau’s investigation into the Russian meddling in US elections, according to CNN.

The media outlet described the request for records of people who worked with Flynn as a “significant escalation” in the FBI’s probe into possible ties between Moscow and Trump campaign officials.

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US intelligence agencies accuse Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails. The emails were made public before the presidential elections by Wikileaks, which has been described by the CIA as a “Hostile Intelligence Service”.

Democrats partly blame Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump on the leaks.

Flynn had received $45,000 for appearing at an event celebrating Russian news agency RT in Moscow.

On Tuesday, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a move that drew criticism from Democrats who accused the US president of attempting to abort the investigation into Russian involvement in the elections.

During the campaign, Trump had expressed admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin. But the White House’s relations with Moscow apparently cooled after Trump ordered strikes on a Syrian government airfield following a chemical attack in Idlib province blamed on government forces.