Trump slams intel officials, media over Flynn and Russian Federation

Trump slams intel officials, media over Flynn and Russian Federation

Citing U.S. officials, the Post publishes a report stating that Flynn did discuss U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation with Kislyak during the month Trump took office, despite administration officials' denials. Trump has tasked retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg with filling the role temporarily but is also considering two other retired military leaders to permanently replace Flynn.

Michael Flynn, former national security adviser.

The Times, citing current and former US officials, said USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they discovered Russian Federation was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee. Nunes has said he's not interested in investigating Flynn.

Trump initially thought Flynn could survive the controversy, according to a person with direct knowledge of the president's views, but a pair of explosive stories in The Washington Post in recent days made the situation untenable.

At a news conference later with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump charged that intelligence leaks to the news media were "a criminal act". The White House says Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the discussions.

The Trump administration has been aware of these concerns for some time.

Flynn has also not been cleared in the broader investigation into whether he and others in the Trump campaign were in regular contact with Russian officials during the election.

In Twitter posts on Wednesday, Trump called the reported Russian connection with his campaign team nonsense, adding: "The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy".

Flynn's January 24 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation could expose him to charges, since lying to the agency is a felony, but any decision to prosecute would lie with the Justice Department.

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Yet if there is a line too far, at which point Republicans will feel duty-bound to call for an independent investigation of their president or his administration, Trump hasn't crossed it yet.

"You can not have the national security adviser misleading the vice president and others", Ryan said.

"I think Congress needs to be informed of what actually Gen. Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions", Graham told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "At This Hour". Spicer denies the timing of the call, then later acknowledges it. Spicer says Flynn and Kislyak did not discuss sanctions.

Adam Schiff (Calif.), the panel's ranking Democrat, intends to ask Nunes at a meeting Wednesday afternoon to expand the scope of the committee's investigation into Kremlin interference in last year's election to include Flynn's communications with the Russians.

The White House had painted Trump's final decision as based on Flynn misleading Vice President Mike Pence.

On Thursday, Trump dismissed the controversy about ties between his aides and Russian Federation as a "ruse" and "scam" perpetrated by a hostile news media, and he denied any of his associates had contacts with Moscow before last year's election.

Russian Federation did not respond in its normally aggressive way to the explosion of alleged agents from its diplomatic posts in the USA and the closure of several compounds allegedly used for espionage activities, leading to suspicion that it believed that the Trump administration would act in a way more conducive to Moscow's position.

He said Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, was "a wonderful man" who has been treated "very, very unfairly by the media".

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