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Iran Press TV

Trump's national security adviser under attack for Russia ties

Iran Press TV

Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:31AM

US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has come under attack for reportedly contacting Russia and discussing then-President Barack Obama's sanctions against the country.

The White House launched an investigation into Flynn's alleged ties with Moscow over the weekend, according to Reuters.

The retired US Army general, who once headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, is accused of discussing the removal of bans with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak weeks before Trump's January 20 inauguration.

Flynn denied the accusations at first. Vice President Mike Pence even went on television to deny the allegations.

However, when The Washington Post reported last week that officials had found evidence of a possible contact, Flynn changed his tone and said he may have discussed the sanction but he could not remember with 100 percent certainty.

An official told Reuters that the development has troubled Pence, who based his defense of Flynn on a simple conversation and not concrete facts.

Flynn has since apologized to Pence and others over the gaffe, the report added, citing another administration official.

Any discussion of sanctions would amount to a breach of laws against private citizens engaging in foreign policy.

The problem seems to have troubled Trump as Stephen Miller, his top policy adviser, has refused in a number of interviews to explicitly state whether Trump backed Flynn or not.

"That's a question for the president," he told reporters when asked if the president still had confidence in his national security adviser.

'Revoke Flynn's security clearance'

Meanwhile, Representative Elijah Cummings, who is a ranking Democratic on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Flynn should lose his security clearance over the issue.

He made the remarks in an interview with ABC on Sunday, saying that the real question was whether Trump knew about the contact beforehand.

"Did the president instruct General Flynn to talk to the [Russian] 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," he said.

Flynn's case is expected to embolden Trump's critics, who accuse the new Republican president of being secretly in touch with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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