Cummings Calls on Trump to Disclose What He Knew About Flynn’s Secret Calls to Russians— And When He Knew It
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 12, 2017) —Appearing this morning on ABC’s This Week with George Stehpanopoulos, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, called directly on President Donald Trump to immediately explain to the American people whether he knew about—or even directed—Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to hold secret conversations with Russian officials about sanctions imposed after Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election.
“There’s something else that needs to be asked. That is—did the President instruct General Flynn to talk to the ambassador? And did he know about it? If he knew about this conversation, when did he know it? That, to me, that is the key question. And we need to find out what that answer is. Now, keep in mind, that he really—that is General Flynn—put the Vice President in a very awkward and a very sad position. To have him go out on national media and say that these were just some casual conversations that had nothing to do with the sanctions, and then for General Flynn to be walking that back, that’s not good enough. He is the National Security Adviser. He is supposed to be the one to make sure that these kinds of things don’t happen. And here he is, embroiled in all of this.”
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Flynn may have misled Vice President Pence and other White House officials by denying that he discussed sanctions with Russian officials.
Unlike in previous instances in which the President has immediately tweeted about what he calls “fake news” reports, Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet about reports of Flynn’s secret calls. In response to questions on Friday, the President claimed he was “unaware” of these reports, but would “look into that.”
This morning, senior White House adviser Steven Miller, appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, refused to answer any questions about Flynn—including whether the President retains confidence in him—stating instead that these questions must be directed to Trump: “I think you should ask the President, the question you should ask Reince, the Chief of Staff. ... They did not give me anything to say. ... It’s a sensitive matter.”
Miller also refused to answer any questions relating to Flynn during his appearance on This Week, stating, “I don’t have any news to make to you today on this point. … I understand it’s an important matter; I understand it’s a sensitive matter.”
According to CNN, three administration officials reported that Pence relied on assertions from Flynn before Pence vouched for Flynn, and a senior White House advisor informed CNN that Pence believes “it’s a problem.” One official said Pence was trying to “get to the bottom of it,” and two senior administration officials said Pence was “very intentional” in asking Flynn about his communications, according to CNN.