House Conservatives Signal Openness To Flynn Investigations

In a Sept. 24, 2011 photo, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is seen during the Republican Leadership Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich. Amash is being challenged by Democrat Steve Pestka. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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A trio of conservative House members said Tuesday that they were open to further congressional investigations into accusations that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser Monday night, had inappropriate contacts with Russia during the presidential transition.

The Republicans, speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill at their monthly “conversations with conservatives,” said that the intelligence committees should first work with the intelligence community to get a better understanding of what communications did occur between Flynn and Russian officials, but that they supported a broader investigation if the intel communities found it warranted.

“I would support an investigation, if it’s warranted based on information from the intelligence community, and the first step would be for the intelligence committees to have that understanding with the intelligence community,” said Rep, Justin Amash (R-MI). “The rest of us in Congress wouldn’t have immediate access to the same information. So really it’s incumbent upon the intelligence community, and the intelligence committees to work together.”

Their openness to probing Flynn’s behavior went farther than other House GOP leaders — including House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA and House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) — who sounded ready to leave the matter alone now that Flynn has resigned.

At the briefing with conservatives, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said he didn’t want comment “without the facts” but acknowledged, “I don’t know how you get the facts without doing some kind of investigation so let me say that.”

“There needs to be a full accounting so we understand what happened,” Perry said.

Another prominent House conservative, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), said he agreed with Perry and Amash, adding, “I do think it’s incumbent on the Intel Committees to determine what the facts are and to see if there has to be further investigation.”

There have been similar calls on the Senate side from a handful of Republicans, including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John McCain (R-AZ), who have said that there are questions they still want answered about Flynn’s actions.

At his weekly press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan said that he didn’t want to “prejudge any of the circumstances surrounding this until we have all of the information.” Chaffetz told reporters that the “situation has taken care of itself.” Nunes stopped short of calling for an Intel Committee investigation into President Trump’s communications with Flynn about his contacts with Russia. He did, however, raise concerns about the leaks to the press about Flynn’s activities.

Some senators on Tuesday said they were willing to default to the ongoing Senate intel committee inquiry into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign, but others hinted that there might need to be a more public examination of the allegations against Flynn.

“I think most Americans have a right to know whether or not this was a General Flynn rogue maneuver, or was he basically speaking for somebody else in the White House?” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said.

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