Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn may perhaps have stepped down as national security adviser, but the scrutiny over his communications with Russia is just beginning.
“There are queries about what, if any, contacts Gen. Flynn had with the [Russian] ambassador prior to the election,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview hours ahead of Flynn’s resignation. “These are genuine queries and reputable inquiries that I believe Americans need to have to know.”
Flynn is one particular of numerous figures close to President Trump who can count on to face difficult queries in the Senate as an Intelligence Committee investigation starts hunting into Russian meddling just before Election Day, Warner told ABC News.
“Nothing about this resignation or resignations that could happen in the future precludes the Senate Intelligence Committee from continuing to investigate Gen. Flynn or any other campaign official who could have had inappropriate and improper contacts with Russian officials prior to the election,” Warner said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Warner and the Republican Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr late Tuesday pledged a cooperative work in investigating the query of Russian meddling.
“We are aggressively going to continue the oversight responsibility of the committee,” Burr mentioned, “including any contact by any campaign people that may well have happened with Russian government officials.”
Their comments came after the committee members met behind closed doors and, sources told ABC News, started compiling a list of names of potential witnesses. Whether or not Flynn would be known as to testify remains unknown, but Burr did not rule it out. “We will not exclude that,” he said.
In the Residence, leading Democrats said they are seeking to broaden their probe into allegations of Russian meddling for the duration of the campaign season.
“We in Congress will need to know who authorized his actions, permitted them and continued to let him have access to our most sensitive national security details in spite of knowing these risks,” mentioned Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Property Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. “We need to know who else inside the White Home is a existing and ongoing risk to our national security.”
A Cummings aide told ABC News the congressman has asked for a full classified briefing by all relevant agencies, like the Division of Justice and the FBI inside 48 hours. Cummings officials stated they are monitoring reports of a Pentagon investigation into payments Flynn received for a 2015 speaking engagement in Moscow that led him to be seated at dinner next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s group has said emphatically there was no communication in between his campaign and the Kremlin or its agents. In January, throughout the transition period, then–Vice President–elect Mike Pence appeared on Sunday talk shows to address the question head on. “Of course not,” he mentioned on Fox News when asked about communications with Russia. “Why would there be any get in touch with among the campaign? This is all a distraction, and it is all element of a narrative to delegitimize the election and to query the legitimacy of [Trump’s] presidency.”
The White Home has not commented on the propriety of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. Tuesday morning, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, “I don’t know all the specifics.”
Residence Speaker Paul Ryan also declined Tuesday morning to answer detailed questions about the matter.
“I feel we have to have to get all of the info before we prejudge anything,” he mentioned.
Warner told ABC News he believes both political parties want to “get to the bottom” of queries about doable Russian influence during the 2016 campaign.
“And the one thing that I’m obtaining that gives me heart here — the one point I discovered on this subject is that the vast majority of senators in each parties want us to get to the bottom of this,” Warner mentioned.
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