Top foreign affairs Dem: Trump must boot Flynn

Top foreign affairs Dem: Trump must boot Flynn
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The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee is calling on President Trump to fire national security adviser Michael Flynn if he lied about talking about sanctions with a Russian official.

"It’s unacceptable that during the transition, General Flynn discussed lifting sanctions with Russia’s ambassador," Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) said in a statement Friday.

"This action would be deeply troubling under any circumstances, but considering Russia’s effort to tip the election toward President Trump, the General’s actions are disqualifying,” added Engel, who endorsed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKoch brothers group won't back Stewart in Virginia Giuliani says his demand for Mueller probe to be suspended was for show Poll: GOP challenger narrowly leads Heitkamp in North Dakota MORE.

"And if General Flynn negotiated with Russia to change American policy, he may be in violation of the Logan Act, which bars such conduct. The President must relieve General Flynn immediately."

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Flynn discussed the topic of sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak one month before Trump’s inauguration, contradicting his earlier claims about their conversation.


Engel added the Trump administration’s confusion over Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak jeopardizes national security.

“To make matters worse, the Administration has been misleading the public about this situation ever since,” he said. "Either General Flynn lied to the Administration or the Administration lied to the American people."

“We need to sort this mess out. Congress must conduct a thorough, nonpartisan investigation into Russia’s illegal interference into our election and take steps to punish those responsible.”

Flynn insisted Wednesday he did not discuss sanctions relief with Kislyak in December, an assertion at odds with current and former officials cited in a Washington Post report Thursday evening.

The retired Army lieutenant general’s spokesman softened that denial Thursday, saying “while [Flynn] had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

Two U.S. officials told the Post that Flynn led Kislyak to believe that sanctions against Russia would be reevaluated once Trump took office.

“Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” one official told the Post.

The Obama administration imposed new sanctions on Russia in December and expelled 35 Russian officials following revelations the Kremlin tried tilting the 2016 race in Trump’s favor.