President Trump faced a challenging week with his executive order not being reinstated by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court, his counselor Kellyanne Conway receiving criticism for giving a personal endorsement for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line as a government figure, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn facing new questions about his past discussion of sanctions with a Russian ambassador before Trump was inaugurated and later providing mixed messages about whether it was true.
The Washington Post reported on February 9th that National Security Adviser Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions imposed against Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016 which became interpreted by some U.S. senior officials as inappropriate.
During an interview on February 8th, Flynn denied that he had ever had discussions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.
However, Flynn’s spokesman offered a different reaction on February 9th and said that Flynn “had no recollection of discussing sanctions and couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Reuters reported on January 23rd that Michael Flynn held 5 phone calls with Russia’s ambassador on the same day President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia over their interference in the U.S. elections.
Obama’s sanctions against Russia were imposed on December 29th.
Reuters cited 3 sources familiar with the matter in their January 23rd story.
Speaking on Fox New Sunday which aired today, Democratic Maryland Senator Ben Cardin said that “we need to get to the bottom of this” and admitted that it goes beyond National Security Adviser Flynn.
“The relationship between Russia and our elections is something that needs to be independently investigated. I’d call for an independent commission similar to what we had in 9/11. Russia attacked us” Sen. Cardin explained on Fox News Sunday.
“We need to have an independent investigation, and General Flynn’s comments just add to our concern about the relationship with Russia” Senator Cardin added.
Senator Cardin said that we have one president at a time and emphasized that President Obama conducted a major foreign policy initiative by enacting sanctions on Moscow for their attack on the U.S.
“And if someone was trying to undermine that in our private conversation with the president-prime minister of Russia, that’s wrong” said Sen. Cardin who called for an investigation in Congress.
National Security Adviser Flynn has past relations with Russia that includes a trip to Moscow during his past tenure as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency when he went inside the headquarters of Russian intelligence GRU and was later paid to speak on Russian state funded media network RT.
U.S. President Donald Trump was slow to embrace the reported findings from the U.S. intelligence community about Russian interference during the U.S. presidential election.
After he met with the heads of the U.S. intelligence community during a private meeting on January 6th, President Trump issued a statement that somewhat acknowledged their was some form of cyber hacking undertaken against the Democratic National Committee during the election, although he didn’t directly point the finger at Moscow and concluded, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”
“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations, including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines” Trump said in his January 6th statement.
Johnathan is a Seattle based writer who writes about finance, politics, and tech.