This post has been updated.
Democrats in Congress questioned whether Michael Flynn should remain in his post as national security adviser following several reports that he talked about U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump took office, despite denying any discussion of the issue.
“If this new report is accurate, it raises grave questions about whether General Flynn was dishonest with the American people, whether he misled his own White House colleagues, or whether White House officials knew about his secret dealings with Russia and misled the public themselves,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement.
“Last week, we asked Chairman Chaffetz to obtain General Flynn’s security clearance application and any updates, and now there is more urgency for the Oversight Committee to make this request,” Cummings continued. “If this new report is true, we need to ask not only whether General Flynn should be leading our national security efforts, but whether he should even hold a security clearance.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House’s intelligence panel, questioned whether Flynn should serve in the federal government if the reports are proven true.
“The allegation that General Flynn, while President Obama was still in office, secretly discussed with Russia’s ambassador ways to undermine the sanctions levied against Russia for its interference in the Presidential election on Donald Trump’s behalf, raises serious questions of legality and fitness for office,” Schiff said in a statement. “If he did so, and then he and other Administration official misled the American people, his conduct would be all the more pernicious, and he should no longer serve in this Administration or any other.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Foreign Services Committee called for Flynn to step down.
“It’s clear that concerns about General Flynn’s ties to Russia were well warranted. It’s unacceptable that during the transition, General Flynn discussed lifting sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. This action would be deeply troubling under any circumstances, but considering Russia’s effort to tip the election toward President Trump, the General’s actions are disqualifying,” Engel said in a statement. “And if General Flynn negotiated with Russia to change American policy, he may be in violation of the Logan Act, which bars such conduct. The President must relieve General Flynn immediately.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called for Trump to suspend Flynn and launch an investigation into the national security adviser’s actions.
“It’s a crime for someone outside of our government to negotiate with foreign entities on our nation’s behalf,” Swalwell said in a statement. “For the safety and security of our nation, President Trump must immediately suspend Flynn and halt his access to classified information until a full investigation occurs.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told Trump to “get his White House under control.”
“There is no good way to explain today’s report that Michael Flynn was coordinating sanctions relief for Russia before his boss was inaugurated. Either Donald Trump directed his National Security Adviser to undermine U.S. foreign policy on Russia, or Michael Flynn went rogue and did it on his own. Then he either lied to the Vice President or the Vice President went on television to lie to the American people. Whatever transpired, the President needs to get his White House under control,” Murphy said in a statement. “I’m glad the FBI is continuing its investigation, because these troubling reports raise more red flags about the administration’s intentions and integrity.”
Flynn and other members of the Trump administration repeatedly denied that he discussed U.S. sanctions during calls with the Russian ambassador. But several anonymous U.S. officials told media outlets that Flynn did indeed talk about sanctions with the Russian diplomat.