Dem Senators Call For Independent Investigation Of ‘Collusion With Russia’

AP

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led a group of 11 Democratic senators in calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint special counsel to investigate what they characterized as “collusion with the Russian government by General [Michael] Flynn and other Trump campaign, transition and administrative officials.”

The senators wrote to Sessions in a letter that centers on the recent report that Flynn, who was asked to resign from his post as national security adviser on Monday, discussed sanctions on the phone with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump was inaugurated, and subsequently misled members of the Trump administration about the nature of the phone call.

Blumenthal was joined in the letter Wednesday by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Eighteen days passed, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s account, between when the White House knew about Flynn’s misleading them, and their asking for his resignation.

“Just as alarming as the legal or ethical wrongdoing is the strong likelihood that other members of President Trump’s team were involved in similar conduct, and the apparent cover-up by General Flynn together with other officials in the Trump administration,” the letter read.

“An independent investigation is now necessary to determine what General Flynn did, who knew about it, and when,” the letter continued. “To maintain the confidence, credibility and impartiality of the Department of Justice, we urge you to immediately appoint an independent special counsel to investigate collusion with the Russian government by General Flynn and other Trump campaign, transition and administrative officials.”

The senators later told Sessions that they require answers to a series of questions regarding the nature of Flynn’s calls to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; the legal reasoning used by White House counsel Don McGahn to assure the White House Flynn had not broken any laws; what Trump knew about the calls, and when he knew it; and who else, if anyone, was involved with the calls.

“At stake is the integrity and honesty of our most trusted public officials and the viability of our justice system,” the letter concluded. “Absent swift action by a special counsel, evidence of this troubling conduct will be at high risk of concealment. An impartial, objective, comprehensive and thorough investigation must be done as soon as possible.”

Read the full letter below: