Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacting Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. In response, many people wonder if the phone calls were allowed by the Obama administration. If Comey's FBI cleared Flynn of any wrongdoing and the calls were allowed by the Obama administration, why wouldn't Flynn just come out with this sooner?
Either way, the Obama Department of Defense Secretary doesn't believe that President Trump broke the law when they contacted Russian officials.
Obama-era Defense Sec. Leon Panetta: It’s a ‘stretch’ to say Trump officials broke law with Russian contacts pic.twitter.com/drDpzLBlWb
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) December 1, 2017
Per NTK Network:
“We have one administration at a time,” Panetta said, warning that the Trump transition team undermined long-standing political norms in the United States by engaging in diplomacy while the Obama administration was still in office.
However, the former defense secretary doubted that dealings with the Russians rose to the level of criminal violations.
“[Their contact with Russia] was very unusual. Whether it breaks the law or not, I think that’s probably a stretch,” Panetta predicted.
Regardless previous administrations maintained contact with other countries through back channels.
For instance, in 2008 Obama had contact with the Hamas terrorist group. Also, former President Obama sent former Ambassador William Miller to Iran in 2008 to set up secret “back-channel.”