Newly discovered emails, obtained Gizmodo, have revealed that President Donald Trump’s transition team looked for ways for former national security adviser Michael Flynn to send encrypted messages to Russian officials during the presidential transition period.
The emails, unearthed through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by watchdog American Oversight, showed the transition team had been approved to use Signal, a smartphone application with end-to-end encryption that can delete messages almost instantly after they are sent, which could mean Flynn’s messages—if he did use the application—may never come to light.
“Our IT lead has confirmed that we can install an App on the [Presidential Transition Team] phones called Signal. This will provide secure voice and text,” a GSA employee wrote on November 28, according to Gizmodo.
The messages were recently obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team. Much to the chagrin of a Trump campaign lawyer, Mueller’s team obtained the emails as part of its investigation into whether the president’s campaign colluded with Russia to win the White House last year.
Earlier this month, Flynn, the disgraced former lieutenant general and national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition in December 2016. And the transition team emails indicate Flynn and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law who became his top White House adviser, spoke with Kislyak one day after the transition team talked about using Signal.
According to several reports, Flynn and Kushner spoke to Kislyak about setting up a “secret communication channel” between the transition team and Russia. Kislyak told Russian officials that the proposal was made on December 1 or 2 of last year.