Trump did not instruct Flynn to talk about Russian sanctions, Spicer says
Feb 15 2017 by Lorena Waters
The entire campaign and presidency up to this point have had to answer questions about both, so it seems a little disingenuous that national security adviser Michael Flynn would resign from his post for lying about Russian Federation.
"This was an act of trust - whether or not he actually misled the vice president was the issue", the press secretary said, saying Trump's trust in Flynn had "eroded".
Yet when pressed on the timeline of events leading up to Flynn's dismissal and whether Flynn resigned on his own or at the behest of President Trump, Conway offered an incoherent explanation. Flynn's conversations also raise questions about Trump's friendly posture toward Russian Federation after US intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow hacked Democratic emails during the election.
President Trump knew about National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's call with a Russian diplomat and his subsequent mischaracterizations to the Vice President for "weeks" before making the decision to ask for his resignation, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
Leading Democrats demanded a special investigation into possible links between the administration and Russian Federation, including whether Mr Trump had any knowledge of the discussions Mr Flynn had on USA sanctions with the Kremlin's ambassador in Washington.
Mr Trump was not asked about Mr Flynn by the two reporters he called on, and evaded follow-up questions about the controversy as he left the room. "The White House counsel can not lead this investigation and the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, can not be the person to lead that investigation".
Senior Democrat Adam Schiff said Mr Flynn's departure would not end questions about contacts between Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.
Senate intelligence committee leaders are already looking into allegations of links between Russian Federation and the USA presidential campaigns - including Mr Trump's - following reports that Moscow intervened in the 2016 election.
When the president heard the information as presented by White House counsel, he instinctively thought that General Flynn did not do anything wrong and the White House counsel's review corroborated that.
Officials said Mr Flynn apologized to Mr Pence twice, including in person on Friday. "The president was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others", Spicer said (bolding is mine).
The Washington Post was the first to report the communication between former acting attorney general Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, and the Trump White House. It had already denied he discussed sanctions with any official.
Trump never voiced public support for Flynn after that initial report but continued to keep his national security adviser close.
"That was simply concluded", Spicer said.
It was not immediately known what questions the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked of Flynn or what he told law enforcement officials.
The White House officials sent contradictory messages, meantime, about Flynn's job status.
"It is imperative that the President select a new National Security Advisor who is empowered by clear lines of authority and responsibility and possesses the skills and experience necessary to organize the national security system across our government", he said. You've got General Kelly on the Homeland Security front, you've got Mattis on the DOD front, he's got an entire national security staff apparatus that briefs him, Director Pompeo at the Central Intelligence Agency and others from the DNI's office that come brief him on a whole host of issues.
Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media, said in interviews with several news outlets that Reince Priebus was in over his head and blamed him for the poor rollout of Trump's travel ban.
Spicer said other "questionable incidents" had contributed to Flynn's firing. At the core of the controversy is whether or not Mr. Flynn told the Russian ambassador in Washington that Mr. Trump would reverse the new sanctions that Mr. Obama was imposing on Russia for allegedly interfering in the USA elections.
Meanwhile, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said Tuesday that his panel will not investigate the circumstances leading up to Flynn's resignation on Monday (13 February).
"It wasn't about sanctions". "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!"