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U.S. Lawmakers Seek Deeper Probe Into Flynn’s Russia Ties

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U.S. Lawmakers Seek Deeper Probe Into Flynn’s Russia Ties

Flynn, Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, called on Tuesday for a deeper inquiry into White House ties to Russia, after national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced out in President Donald Trump’s biggest staff upheaval so far.

Flynn quit on Monday after only three weeks in the job amid revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Moscow’s ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, in a potentially illegal action, and had later misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Trump asked for the former Army lieutenant general’s resignation and Flynn offered it to him, a senior White House official said.

His departure was another drama for an administration already repeatedly distracted by miscues and internal dramas since the Republican president took office on Jan. 20.

Transcripts of intercepted communications, described by U.S. officials, showed that the issue of U.S. sanctions came up in conversations between Flynn and the ambassador in late December.

The conversations took place around the time that then-President Barack Obama was imposing sanctions on Russia after charging that Moscow had used cyber attacks to try to influence the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

Flynn, a former U.S. intelligence official, quit hours after a report saying the Justice Department had warned the White House weeks ago that he could be vulnerable to blackmail over his conversations with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Democrats, who do not have control of Congress, clamored for more action over Flynn, and asked how much Trump knew about his connections to Russia.

“The American people deserve to know at whose direction Gen. Flynn was acting when he made these calls, and why the White House waited until these reports were public to take action,” Democrat Mark Warner, the Senate intelligence committee’s vice chairman, said in a statement.

Two leading Republicans in the Senate, Bob Corker and John Cornyn, also said the intelligence committee should investigate Flynn’s contacts with Russia and that he may need to testify.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the same committee, told a St. Louis radio station that the panel should interview Flynn “very soon” as part of its investigation into attempts by Russia to influence the U.S. election.

But the highest-ranking Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, sidestepped questions about whether lawmakers should look into Flynn’s Russia ties, adding he would leave it to the Trump administration to explain the circumstances behind Flynn’s departure.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons asked why Flynn was allowed to remain in his post for so long after the White House was warned of the potential for blackmail.

“This isn’t just about what happened with General Flynn,” Coons told MSNBC. “What did President Trump know? What did the president know and when did he know it?” Coons said, echoing a question made famous by the Watergate scandal, which forced President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974.

Flynn, an early and enthusiastic supporter of Trump, was a strong advocate of a softer line toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his departure from the key post could hinder Trump’s efforts to warm up relations with Moscow.

“General Flynn’s resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia,” said Senator John McCain, a leading Republican voice on foreign relations.


The Washington Post reported last week that the issue of sanctions came up in the conversations with the ambassador, although Flynn told Pence they had not.

In his first public comment about the Flynn issue since the resignation, Trump deflected the focus to leaks from his administration. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?” he wrote on Twitter.

In his resignation letter, Flynn acknowledged he had “inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”

A U.S. official familiar with the transcripts of the calls with Kislyak said Flynn indicated that if Russia did not retaliate in kind for Obama’s Dec. 29 order expelling 35 Russian suspected spies and sanctioning of Russian spy agencies, that restraint could smooth the way toward a broader discussion of improving U.S.-Russian relations once Trump took power.

To the surprise of some observers at the time, Putin did not take retaliatory measures. Trump praised his restraint.

Despite Trump’s attempts to improve relations with Putin, The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Russia has deployed a new cruise missile in the face of complaints by U.S. officials that it violates an arms control treaty banning ground-based U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles.

Flynn’s discussions with the Russian diplomat could potentially have been in violation of a law known as the Logan Act, banning private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments about disputes or controversies with the United States. However, nobody has been prosecuted in modern times under the law, which dates from 1799.

Vice Admiral Robert Harward, who served under Defense Secretary James Mattis, is the leading candidate to replace Flynn, two U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The scramble to replace Flynn began on Monday evening and continued with phone calls and meetings into the early hours of Tuesday in an effort to enable Trump to make a decision and put the matter behind him as soon as possible, said an official involved in the effort.

Also under consideration was retired General David Petraeus, a former CIA director whose reputation was tainted by a scandal over mishandling classified information with his biographer, with whom he was having an affair.

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, John Walcott, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)

IMAGE: White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (C) arrives prior to a joint news conference between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria



  1. Eleanore Whitaker February 14, 2017

    The Republican silence is deafening! What are they doing? Looking for a way to come up looking like innocent lambs? They better seek a deeper investigation and not one headed by those Koch paid savages Gowdy, Cotton or Chaffetz.

    This time there isn’t a way to save Ryan or McConnell’s bacon. They knew all about the Russian hacking and they can deny it till the cow’s come home. But, all the chickens are about to roost.

    1. InGen12 February 14, 2017

      Take names of Repubs who are silent, bowing down to Trump and remember at the polls next year. These turds need to go!

      1. itsfun February 14, 2017

        The politicians that need to go are the obstruction leaders in the Democratic Party. People (especially one in which President Trump won) are sick of obstruction politics. Any Democratic Senator or rep in a state won by President Trump will have trouble getting re-elected if they insist on obstruction.

        1. Carole Moore February 14, 2017

          You are truly funny, considering the Repugs invented the obstruction, carried it forward for 8 years and now have stooges like you proclaiming its the Dems creating the obstruction…. REALLY??? are you that empty headed thinking you get to just sit back and make all the rules and say what’s going to or should happen??? You deserve every damn iota of resistance you get and more!! Conservatives have been using this line of bullsh__ for years and figured, it works pretty well, but it should only be a one way street that we can implement, and the Democrats have absolutely no right to utilize our game plan???? You’re a FOOL!!

          1. itsfun February 14, 2017

            Just more name calling from a tolerant liberal. Even your hero schumer said he was going to be as much of a obstructionist as he could be. Obama had something like 7 members of his cabinet on the day he got into office. After 3 weeks of Democrats games Trumps still doesn’t have a full cabinet. Your other hero dirty harry reid made his own rules for the Senate and now you whine about the Republicans doing the same. You are the fool here not me.

          2. PrecipitousDrop February 15, 2017

            Dry your salty tears, FunnyHead.
            You’ll never “get it”.

          3. I Am Helpy February 15, 2017

            Yes, you DO hate everything about America, traitor.

          4. Carole Moore February 15, 2017

            Yes dear, you are a fool, not I, but YOU, over and over and over, every time you open your mouth…..

          5. itsfun February 15, 2017

            you prove what you are every time you post and its not a nice thing. You are much worse than a fool

          6. Carole Moore February 15, 2017

            And you are a ridiculous baby, who has zero credibility with any group you post on, because you say such ludicrous and silly things… go educate yourself and stop being such a stooge..

          7. itsfun February 15, 2017

            Like I said you prove what you are every time you post. I couldn’t care less what you think of me. You are absolutely nothing to me. Just another pimple on my ass.

        2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 14, 2017

          Uh-oh. Looks like Trump’s travails awoke you from your hibernation phase for the winter. Go back to sleep. By spring, things will look much worse, so you want to get all the rest you can. Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the current nightmare at the WH disturb your slumber.

        3. I Am Helpy February 15, 2017

          HMMMM yes that makes total sense, if you never cared about the nation or the Constitution at all and are a fake patriot.

          The days of you neo-Nazi scum are numbered.

      2. Amberlbeland February 15, 2017

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        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  2. yabbed February 14, 2017

    The OrangeFatBoyPervert is humiliating this country. We are the laughingstock of the world. Russia owns us now.

  3. Lynda Groom February 14, 2017

    Is there anyone out there who still believes that Flynn did his dirty deed without the knowledge and permission of the commander-in-chief? Nobody on their own goes off and talks about changes to the sanctions before the boss is sworn in without tacit approval. However, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the republican Congress to do anything about this travesty.

  4. Mama Bear February 14, 2017

    Putin is wondering if his puppets are going to be able to pull this off (borrowed without permission from Andy Borowitz).

  5. rhetoric_phobic February 14, 2017

    Let’s toss that net over Pence and Bannon while we’re at it.
    Trump is a useful idiot with emphasis on idiot. It’s doubtful he’s alone in this.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker February 15, 2017

      Remember on Sunday in a CNN interview, Conway stated in the afternoon that Trump fully “supports General Flynn.” Not two hours later, the Trump White House stated “they were not aware of the Flynn developments” and two hours after that they were saying that “Trump was looking at what needs to be done.”

      More corporate delay tactics. FACT: Trump CHOSE Flynn. FACT: Trump knew Flynn was accusing Hillary of crimes she never committed while FLYNN was the real dirty guilty party. FACT: Trump appointed him national security adviser knowing Flynn spent time in Moscow in 2013 and took a loan which to this day can’t be disclosed because Ryan and McConnell are behind the refusal to allow the IRS to disclose Trump’s tax records.

  6. itsfun February 14, 2017

    If Flynn lied to the Vice President, he should have been fired. How could the President ever trust him again.

    1. I Am Helpy February 15, 2017

      He didn’t lie. He did what he was asked to do. Trump and Pence are guilty of treason. Almost all Republicans are complicit.

      I hope that helps!

    2. Eleanore Whitaker February 15, 2017

      Flynn didn’t lie to the VP. The VP admitted he was told about Flynn’s lies a week ago. Try again Itsy. You are like the bandits who rob a bank and then when the cops are waiting for you to exit the bank with your ill gotten gains, grab an innocent bystander for a shield.

      Sorry but Pence admitted openly in one of the campaign rallies he knew about Flynn. How could he not? Flynn stood on the same stages during Trump rallies while Flynn chanted, “Lock her Up! Lock her Up!” Pence is seen in those appearances, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

      Sorry but your hick politicians fell for the Trump cancer. Now, they are as infected as his supporters.

  7. Thoughtopsy February 14, 2017

    Ahhh the stench of treason with Russia continues.
    How much more of this is required before the hypocritical Republicans launch a full investigation?
    Oh that’s right… full investigations are only for getting facts wrong in press briefings about embassy attacks, and email server management.

    Who would possibly believe that Trump didn’t directly order this to reassure his best buddy, Putin? Not only is it obvious that he has no idea what the law says (or indeed what laws are for) but its far too easy to imagine him getting worried that Obama is bashing his best friend (who has a pee tape on him) and saying to Flynn: “Get a message to Putin that I’ll fix it once I’m in.” without any consideration of whether it’s legal, fair, or smart.

    Because that’s how President F**kface Von Clownstick rolls, yo.
    And that is exactly what he’s done since then.
    And that is exactly how he handled knowing a month ago that Flynn “lied”… by not firing him then. Why? Because it wasn’t a surprise to him that Flynn did what he said.

    NB: This also means Pence is absolutely in on this too.

    Bunch of immoral and unethical lying bullsh1t artists.

  8. bobnstuff February 14, 2017

    There will be little investigation by the Republicans. Trump gets a pass once again. Trump was shocked by Flynn’s actions. With luck Flynn recorded his instructions from Trump and have it in a safe place. Flynn might just need a get out of jail free card.

  9. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 14, 2017

    Trump wanted so much to add “President” to his Admiration Files, that he failed to think before getting himself into a mess which will only get worse—TRUST ME.
    For Trump to say he became suspicious of Flynn only recently is a joke—an unoriginal one—and Spicer is obliged to regurgitate this farcical notion, and the regular Trump supporters are gullible enough to fall for it. The trouble is is that the level of suspicion about Trump has become much greater, which highlights the dangers of always relying on deception and having a propensity for being greedy.

  10. PrecipitousDrop February 15, 2017

    Tomorrow, NYT will print that the Trump campaign had regular daily contact with Russian intelligence officials for over a year before the election.
    Flynn’s resignation, it seems, is one of the least of their worries.

  11. Eleanore Whitaker February 15, 2017

    I’m betting that now that Ryan and McConnell are double teaming to prevent the disclosure of Trump’s taxes, someone in the IRS will risk losing their job to do just that. This isn’t about party anymore. It is about a cancer known as greed among Republicans who believed all they had to do was micro control the entire country.

    They forgot that the US government has checks and balances that can override partisan interference and demand disclosure of Trump’s tax records AND also investigate a president for wrongdoing. Congress is not needed for that.

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  12. RED February 15, 2017

    I just hope the trials get all of them this time, all the criminals who are both in our government currently and the ones currently on the other side of the revolving door. I certainly understand nuance and complexity and gray areas but for me there are many things where justice and righteousness are crystal clear, i.e. you run an insurance company and a child dies from you denying care, GUILTY. And it’s one place I could probably be convinced we need some mandatory minimums, at least at first, you know get real clear message that we aren’t going to tolerate our children and ourselves being sacrificed for a select few to steal obscene immoral disgusting amounts money. And hopefully there won’t one of the sick Con morons make idiotic comments like “they earned it” or some garbage like that. Those kind of comments alert a person immediately that you are dealing with a complete ignoramus and someone who is completely bereft of any knowledge of economics or reality.

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