Michael Flynn, one of President Trump’s aides, is under scrutiny as reports show that he discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian envoy before Trump’s inauguration.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have not commented on Flynn’s situation. However, according to an administration official, Pence and Flynn have interacted with one another on Friday.
Trump has communicated to his associates that he is troubled by Flynn’s circumstances, but has not made it clear if Flynn will be asked to step down, as reported by Spokesman.
Although Flynn was a devoted Trump supporter during his campaign, he is viewed cynically by administration’s national security circles due to his relations with Russia.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Flynn addressed sanctions against Russia in a call with Kislyak. The report disputed repeated denials from Trump officials, including Pence, who vouched for Flynn in a televised interview.
Huffington Post reported the White House staff was looking for possible replacements of Flynn, amidst the controversy. Sources familiar with the situation say the president’s staffers are now “trying to prepare options” ― including potential replacements ― if it becomes impossible for Flynn to remain in his position.
Flynn consistently denied that he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in a phone call prior to Trump’s inauguration. But on Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the topic had surfaced, citing nine independent sources, all of whom had knowledge of Flynn’s calls.
You’d think Trump is facing pressure in his presidency to cut ties with Flynn, but he insisted that he had not seen the bombshell report, and promised reporters aboard Air Force One that he would “look into that.” As the president returned on Sunday night, Flynn was among the aides who stepped off of Air Force One ― a sign that he still enjoyed some support from Trump.
However as implications continue to arise against Flynn, Trump is becoming excruciatingly frustrated with the embarrassing situation of trust between the staff. On Monday, Flynn abruptly pulled out of a speaking gig for the Special Operations Forces banquet, though the administration insisted he’d never firmly committed. Flynn also reportedly apologized to Vice President Mike Pence for initially saying he had not discussed sanctions with Russia ― a statement Pence repeated on national TV.
Trump is now dealing with making the decision to cut ties with Flynn and is looking for alternatives to avoid further allegations of the situation.