Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman on Monday became the first Republican lawmaker to call for National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to “step down immediately” if he misled President Trump regarding phone calls he had with Russia’s ambassador in late December.
The GOP lawmaker joins a growing list of Democrats who have called for Flynn’s suspension or removal amid the scandal.
“As national security advisor, Michael Flynn is responsible to the President, Vice President, and the American people. It is his duty to be fully transparent and forthright in his actions — anything less is unacceptable. If in fact he purposely misled the President, he should step down immediately,” Coffman said in a statement on Monday.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) February 14, 2017
Flynn’s job status has been in limbo since last week when it emerged that he misled the public and Vice President Mike Pence about a series of Dec. 29 phone calls he had with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
The Washington Post reported last week that Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Kislyak discussed sanctions that had just been imposed by the Obama administration against Russia for its role in hacking Democrats’ emails.
The phone calls were picked up from routine surveillance that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct of foreign diplomats.
The timing of the phone call raised questions about whether Flynn and Kislyak discussed the new penalties for the hacking. But Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, publicly denied discussing sanctions. He made the same denials to Pence, who relayed Flynn’s assurances during interviews last month.
Flynn denied discussing sanctions as recently as last Wednesday, when asked by The Post. Asked again the next day, Flynn’s office backed away from the denial with a statement that Flynn was not certain if he discussed sanctions or not.
The White House has given conflicting statements about Flynn’s job status. Numerous leaks from the White House have also not provided a clear picture of where Flynn stands.
Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview on MSNBC that Trump has “full confidence” in Flynn. Minutes later, press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement that Flynn’s position is being “evaluated.”
One question that remains is whether anyone else at the White House, including Trump, knew that Flynn discussed sanctions.