February 22, 2017

Why the Flynn-Russia Controversy Isn’t Over Yet

By Julianne Smith

President Donald Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser on Monday, a week after Michael Flynn resigned from the post following revelations that he misled the vice president over multiple phone calls with Russian officials prior to Trump’s inauguration. While many in Washington are applauding Trump’s swift pick of a widely respected military strategist, that doesn’t mean Trump will be able to put his office’s controversial ties with Russia behind.

Some now assume that Flynn’s forced departure over his supposed discussions of the future of Russian sanctions as a private citizen and his potential violation of the Logan Act, bring an end to the debates surrounding Russia, its interference in our election, and this administration’s links to that country. But several unanswered questions remain and in some ways, Flynn’s departure has only increased interest in the story. The Russia story, therefore, isn’t going away. Instead, it is likely to continue to haunt the administration for three reasons.

First, the circumstances surrounding Flynn’s resignation are still unclear. If President Trump knew about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador and the liabilities those calls were creating for the administration, why did the president sit on that information for so long before acting? Perhaps more importantly, why did Flynn make those calls in the first place? Was he acting on behalf of the president? Or did he simply engage with the ambassador because he assumed that’s what Donald Trump wanted him to do at the time? And finally, why was Vice President Mike Pence left in the dark for so long after the president spoke with the FBI about the calls? Those questions can only be answered if the requests from Democratic members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for Flynn to testify under oath are granted.

Read the full article at Fortune.