WASHINGTON — Republican Senate Leaders welcomed the resignation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, but Senate Minority Leader and his Democratic colleagues say the resignation does not go far enough.
“We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue with a level of trust between the president and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. “The president was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the vice president and others.”
“The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation in a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for General Flynn’s resignation,” he added.
Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt told reporters Tuesday, “As a member of the Intelligence Committee looking at what the White House and General Flynn decided yesterday I think was the right decision. General Flynn service to the country over decades has been admirable. His service as the director of defense intelligence was in my view is admirable.”
According to Blunt, it is “likely” that Flynn will be asked to come before the committee at some point and testify about his post-election interactions with foreign officials.
“I think there are a number of unanswered questions that need to be answered about the documents about whether there was a FISA order. There are lots of things that I assure you the intelligence committee members will be looking at and I think we’ll be talking about later today and later this week,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, called for an independent investigation to examine not only Flynn, but others at the White House.
“They must be answered truthfully by administration officials and any attempt to lie or mislead must be countered with the full force of the law. That must be true for every single employee of the Trump administration,” Schumer said Tuesday. “From assistants sitting in cramped cute cubicles to the man occupying the Oval Office, I hope our Republican colleagues will join us in this call, because the crisis here rises above party.”
Schumer also wants newly minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation the Justice Department conducts in regards to Flynn or the White House.
“Jeff Sessions cannot be the person to lead that investigation. Department of Justice regulations specifically prohibit individuals with political ties to the subjects of an investigation from leading that investigation,” Schumer said citing a DOJ rule.
He added, “I expect Attorney General Sessions will recuse himself. And make sure that an independent and thorough investigation proceeds. The American people deserve a full investigation. We need a transparent investigation. And we need an impartial investigation.”
Trump replaced Flynn in the interim with retired General Keith Kellogg and asked in a tweet, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”