Even before then-President-elect Trump named Flynn to his post, “concerns” about his friendliness with Russia raised red flags.
White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is “under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues” due to reports that he may have lied about discussions he held with a Russian envoy prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“The knives are out for Flynn,” one administration official told the Washington Post.
But was this foreseeable? The day Trump named Flynn to his national security post, Business Insider ran the headline: “Trump’s new national security adviser is under fire for his views on Russia, his business ties to Turkey — and his tweets.”
And they weren’t alone. A few days later, Fox News ran the headline: “Trump’s National Security Adviser pick raises serious questions about Putin’s influence over US policy.”
Even before President-elect Trump named Flynn, Politico cited “concerns” over a paid speech Flynn gave in 2015 at an event honoring the Russian propaganda website RT, and even sat at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s table.
So why is Flynn under so much scrutiny now? Politico explains:
[Vice President Mike] Pence said in a Jan. 15 appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were “strictly coincidental” and had nothing to do with the Obama administration’s decision to punish Russia for meddling in the November election, which U.S. intelligence agencies agree was intended to help boost Trump’s prospects. “They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence told CBS.
An administration official told POLITICO that Pence’s remarks came after a conversation with Flynn and were guided by that conversation — leaving open the possibility that Flynn misled the Vice President just as he repeatedly denied the allegations to the Washington Post before acknowledging the topic may have been discussed.
Privately, Pence aides expressed frustration at their boss being placed in such a position.
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