Democrats call for Michael Flynn's ouster after reported Russian Federation talks
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 12, 2017,
Feb 12, 2017, 17:43
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn discussed Russian sanctions with the country's ambassador to the US a month before President Donald Trump took office, according to a Washington Post report.
Since the Post published its report, the White House has passed up several opportunities to publicly back up Flynn.
Though the content of the telephone conversations is not known, the Washington Post has alleged that Flynn discussed undermining the sanctions, which former President Barack Obama imposed, as a result of suspected Russian hacking.
White House policy adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday dodged a question about whether President Trump still has confidence in his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. But in a Thursday interview, a spokesman for the national security adviser told the newspaper that Flynn "indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up".
Three administration officials said Pence only knew what Flynn told him - that he had not talked about sanctions - before Pence stood before cameras last month and vouched for Flynn.
The claims were addressed again in a Washington Post report on Thursday, in which "senior USA officials" interpreted Flynn's statements to Kisalyak as "inappropriate and potentially illegal" promises of an easing in sanctions.
Flynn, a veteran of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has courted controversy with extreme statements that critics say border on Islamophobia, but has taken a more flexible line on Russian Federation and China.
Pundits initially questioned whether Pence was lying on Flynn's behalf.
U.S. President Donald Trump (L-R), joined by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisor Steve Bannon, Communications Director Sean Spicer and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. A Pence official said the vice president and Flynn had a conversation in person on Friday morning.
While Trump has tempered his seemingly pro-Russia stance since the campaign-he recently said the sanctions will remain in place-many worry that Flynn maintains too favorable of a relationship with Russian officials.
That suggests that Flynn misled Pence. And it bans unauthorized US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments when they're not in power, when they're not yet in a position to do so in the United States. At the time, Trump expressed his view that the country should "move on to bigger and better things", while a member of the Obama Administration said that while Trump could reverse the sanctions by executive order, he did not believe it would be a sensible course of action. During an interview on Face The Nation last month, Pence was adamant that Flynn "did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russian Federation".
The Flynn conversation occurred when Trump's incoming administration was accused of having constant communication with the Russian government.