A U.S. person has informed the Justice Department that he or she provided information that led to subpoenas for the phone records of three White House aides, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The person is believed to be Michael T. Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who has been fighting off an attempt by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to indict him for lying to federal investigators.
The New York Times, citing three unidentified people familiar with the matter, reported that the person told the Justice Department that Mr. Flynn informed them earlier this year of allegations that Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign had reached out to a man who had discussed setting up a “back channel” for communications with Russia during the 2016 campaign. The sources said the person later shared the information with congressional committees about Russia.
Aides to Mr. Trump’s advisers have denied making the calls. But an intermediary in Ukraine has acknowledged making contacts with at least one top Trump aide, Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser, the Times reported. The intermediary has said he could not recall whether Ms. Conway was the White House staffer in question.
“I do not recall ever having any conversations with Michael Flynn or Kellyanne Conway,” Dimitri S. Soudas, the senior White House official who oversaw campaign communications, said in a statement. “I was not aware of, nor did I participate in, any communications with any foreign government during the campaign or transition period,” he said. “I was not involved in the decision to dismiss Mr. Flynn.”
A spokesman for Mr. Flynn, who was fired from his post as national security adviser in February, said he would not comment on the matter.
Justice Department officials were aware in late July of allegations that Mr. Flynn might have provided information to the person, who was not identified, the Times reported. Mr. Mueller, Mr. Flynn’s legal troubles and the accuracy of his initial account have made them nervous about his ability to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the newspaper said.
Mr. Flynn and his lawyers want to know what evidence Mr. Mueller might have on his allies, the Times reported.
Ms. Conway, an adviser in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said in an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday night that she had not spoken with any foreign officials during the campaign. Asked whether she might have spoken with a representative of the Ukraine, she replied: “No, never.”