Trump Says He Didn't Direct Michael Flynn To Discuss Sanctions With Russia
Chris Christie criticized President Donald Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn Sunday, saying he needs to clear up questions about whether he discussed sanctions in his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
But in the White House's retelling of Flynn's stunning downfall, his error was not that he discussed US sanctions with the Russian before the inauguration - a potential violation of a rarely enforced law - but the fact that he denied it for weeks, apparently misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other senior Trump aides about the nature of the conversations.
Flynn submitted his resignation hours after Trump said through a spokesman that he was reviewing the situation and talking to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn's conversations also raise questions about Trump's friendly posture toward Russian Federation after USA intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow hacked Democratic emails during the election.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a longtime Russian Federation critic, said Congress needs to know what Flynn discussed with the ambassador and why.
Such conversations would breach diplomatic protocol and possibly violate the Logan Act, a law aimed at keeping private citizens from conducting USA diplomacy.
Kellogg, retired General David Petraeus, a former CIA director, and Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, are under consideration for the position, a White House official said.
Kellogg convened a brief meeting of the National Security Council staff Tuesday morning and urged them to continue with business as usual.
Christie did not call for the White House to take any specific action to reduce Flynn's role.
On Wednesday, the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to brief them on the situation that to the high profile resignation. Trump has already fired the person who delivered the warning, then-acting attorney general Sally Yates, for opposing his controversial "Muslim ban". The Post also first reported last week that Flynn had indeed spoken about sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Commenting on the resignation of his former national security adviser, Trump said: "He didn't have to do that, because what he did wasn't wrong - what he did in terms of the information he saw". Flynn was part of Trump's daily briefing Monday and sat in on his calls with foreign leaders, as well as his discussions with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"Gen. Flynn has said up to this point that he had not said anything like that to the Russian ambassador".
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