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.
More from CNAS
ReportsCharting a Transatlantic Course to Address China
Working together to collectively strengthen the United States’ and Europe’s ability to compete with China provides an opportunity for a reinvigorated partnership....
By Julianne Smith, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche & Ellison Laskowski
PodcastEuropean Outlooks on the Transatlantic Relationship, with Jana Puglierin
Jana Puglierin joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss how Europeans are thinking about the United States and a future transatlantic relationship. Puglierin is...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Jana Puglierin
CommentaryNo, Trump has not been ‘tough’ on Russia
The simple fact is that even harsh-looking sanctions have little impact when there’s zero political will to enforce them....
By Edward Fishman , James Lamond & Max Bergmann
PodcastProspects for Democracy in Belarus, with Judy Dempsey and Jonathan Katz
Judy Dempsey and Jonathan Katz join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss the ongoing protests in Belarus and the country’s prospects for a democratic political tr...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Judy Dempsey & Jonathan Katz