By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, February 12, 2017 U.S. Representative Terri Sewell said that retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn’s resignation as President Donald J Trump’s National Security Advisor raises unanswered questions that should be investigated by the U.S. Congress.
Congresswoman Sewell said in a statement, “Retired General Michael Flynn resigned his position as national security adviser last night after troubling revelations and unanswered questions regarding his relationship with Russia have mounted over the past several weeks. I join my Committee colleagues in calling on Chairman Devin Nunes to bring Ret. General Flynn before the House Select Committee on Intelligence. In order to properly fulfill our oversight responsibilities, the Committee must understand the circumstances of Flynn’s resignation as well as the content and timing of his conversations with the Russian government.”
U.S. Senator John McCain (R from Arizona) also called General Flynn’s resignation, “troubling.” Sen. McCain said in his own statement, “I thank General Flynn for his many years of distinguished service to our country, especially his invaluable contributions in the fight against terrorism. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors. At the same time, General Flynn’s resignation is a troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus. As our nation confronts the most complex and diverse array of global challenges since the end of World War II, it is imperative that the President select a new National Security Advisor who is empowered by clear lines of authority and responsibility and possesses the skills and experience necessary to organize the national security system across our government.”
Sen. McCain added, “General Flynn’s resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia, including statements by the President suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our NATO allies, and attempted interference in American elections. American policy toward Russia must be made clear and unequivocal: we will honor our commitments to our NATO allies, we will maintain and enhance our deterrent posture in Europe, we will hold Russian violators of human rights accountable for their actions, and we will maintain sanctions on Russia so long as it continues to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Sen. McCain concluded, “As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to working with the President’s administration, especially Secretary Mattis, to defend the nation and support our military service members.”
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D from California) said in a statement that she also wanted a congressional investigation into this. Rep. Pelosi said, “I didn’t know until I heard from our colleague that the tweet today of General Flynn was “Scapegoat.” Scapegoat… scapegoat… Do you know what a scapegoat is? That means in a community where people want to absolve themselves of guilt they get a goat and heap all of the ills on to the goat and then they run the goat out of town. So the inference to be drawn from his statement is that other people had blame that should be shared in all of this. The good news is that General Flynn is gone, because he was totally inappropriate and wrong for the job. But the questions that arise are even bigger.” “I have a tweet I’m going to make, I’m telling my staff right now, it’s not “scapegoat,” it’s “stonewall,” and that’s exactly what the Republicans in Congress are doing. The Intelligence Committee has said they’re not pursuing this, the Judiciary Committee has said they’re not pursuing this.”
General Michael Flynn was the first significant retired General to endorse Donald J. Trump and was very active for Trump on the campaign trail. When the New York City billionaire and reality TV star won the presidency, he announced that General Flynn would be his National Security Advisor, a position that does not have to go through the Senate confirmation process. During the transition, Flynn had discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
In those discussions, it now appears that General Flynn had discussions about recent sanctions the Obama Administration had just levied against Russia over Russian combat operations against Syrian rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad. Russia did not retaliate against the sanctions by levying their own sanctions, making some critics argue that perhaps Flynn promised the Russians that Pres. Trump would rescind the sanctions. Some are even suggesting that this could possibly be technically a violation of the Logan Act that prevents U.S. citizens from interfering with American foreign policy.
When the story of the discussions broke, Gen. Flynn denied that the sanctions were discussed. Vice-President Mike Pence then went out and defended Flynn. There are media reports that the NSA (National Security Administration)’s vast eavesdropping technology captured the conversation and at this point the evidence suggests the Gen. Flynn lied to the Vice-President. Flynn now admits that he may have “inadvertently” misled the Vice-President.
President Trump has appointed retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg to replace Flynn as National Security Advisor. Kellogg was Flynn’s Chief of Staff.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.
(Original reporting by Fox News, the Hill’s Jordan Fabian, and CNN contributed to this report).