The Post, citing unnamed USA officials, says there's no indication Flynn made any promises to the ambassador.
On Thursday as this news was breaking, Flynn walked back his previous disavowal, saying that although he didn't remember talking about sanctions, he wasn't positive whether or not that subject was broached. Federal officials told the Times that they read the transcript and Flynn did discuss lifting sanctions.
Flynn can not rule out that he spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions, an aide close to the National Security Adviser said Friday.
The Obama administration imposed fresh sanctions against Russian Federation in December following revelations the Kremlin tried influencing the 2016 presidential election in Trump's favor. Flynn reassured Kislyak that the sanctions would be reviewed once Trump was in the White House.
"An administration official told POLITICO that Pence's remarks came after a conversation with Flynn and were guided by that conversation - leaving open the possibility that Flynn misled the Vice President just as he repeatedly denied the allegations to the Washington Post before acknowledging the topic may have been discussed". The problem, however, is that Flynn's move potentially violates a USA law called the Logan Act, which disallows private citizens from engaging in diplomatic measures on behalf of the government, according to the New York Times.
Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reportedly discussed the possibility of lifting sanctions on Moscow, which some US officials said might have been inappropriate and possibly even illegal.
Mr Pence also said the Trump presidential campaign had no contacts with the Russians ahead of the election. But Flynn's defenders reasonably countered that there were good public-policy reasons for a future national security adviser to talk with the ambassador of a major power about future policies.
A senior administration official told ABC News last month that the White House has "absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation". "What I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions".
Some of the officials in the Post story stressed the Obama administration was divided over how to interpret the calls.
"It's clear that concerns about General Flynn's ties to Russian Federation were well warranted". Though Flynn didn't explicitly promise, the officials felt the mere suggestion was "inappropriate and potentially illegal".
Flynn's contact with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the US, were seen by critics as a potential violation of the law. Now Flynn is backtracking on his version of events, saying he can not rule out having spoken about sanctions in his talk with the Russian ambassador, according to an aide to Flynn.
That runs directly counter to the information The Post gathered from nine (!) intelligence officials who were granted anonymity to speak candidly.