Dozens of House Democrats are preparing to urge President Trump to suspend national security adviser Michael Flynn and deny him access to classified material following reports that he spoke about sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Trump was sworn into office, though he denied it at the time.
“These actions by Mr. Flynn, if true, show a shocking lack of judgment, at the very least, and his communications with Russia may even violate the Logan Act,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), who is spearheading the effort, wrote in a letter to colleagues urging them to sign on to a letter to Trump.
“He should immediately be relieved of his duties and prevented from accessing classified materials until we know the full story.”
So far, 40 lawmakers, including Swalwell, have signed their name to the letter, expected to be sent Tuesday.
The president is said to be "evaluating" the situation around Flynn, although White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Monday afternoon that the retired general “enjoys the full confidence of the president.”
Flynn initially claimed that a Dec. 29 phone call with the Russian ambassador did not address Obama-era sanctions, imposed that day to penalize Moscow for its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
But according to multiple reports citing current and former officials, Flynn and the ambassador spoke more than once that day — and Flynn unambiguously conveyed that U.S. relations with Russia would change under Trump.
A spokesman for Flynn has since conceded that “while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Democrats broadly are now demanding that the administration release the transcripts of the calls, arguing that the call violated an obscure and likely unenforceable 1799 law — the Logan Act — prohibiting private citizens from engaging in foreign policy.
Others have been even more forceful. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) on Monday called for Trump to fire Flynn, saying the reports were “proof he should not be entrusted with our national security."
Signees to the Swalwell letter include Darren Soto (Fla.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Alcee Hastings (Fla.), Steve Cohen (Tenn.), Grace Napolitano (Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosSwalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down To boost economy and midterm outlook, Democrats must pass clean energy bill On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood MORE (Ill.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Tony Cárdenas (Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), Joaquín Castro (Texas), John Sarbanes (Md.), G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Democrats confront rising retirements as difficult year ends Members of Congress not running for reelection in 2022 MORE (N.C.), Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Bennie Thompson (Miss.), David Cicilline (R.I.), Ted Deutch (Fla.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.), Don Beyer (Va.), Mark DeSaulnier (Calif.), Filemon Vela (Texas), Grace Meng (N.Y.), Mark Takano (Calif.), Nanette Barragán (Calif.), Bradley Schneider (Ill.), Val Demings (Fla.), Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerSenate candidate Gary Chambers discusses his opposition to criminalizing marijuana Lobbying world Congress to take up marijuana reform this spring MORE (Ore.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Joe Kennedy (Mass.), Jimmy Panetta (Calif.), Paul Tonko (N.Y.), Brendan Boyle (Pa.), Diana DeGette (Colo.) and Marc Veasey (Texas).