National Security

GOP senator: Flynn should testify on Russia

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) says former national security adviser Michael Flynn should be called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“I am going to request, and many of the members will, that we call Mike Flynn to testify,” Collins said during an interview with Maine Public Radio on Wednesday.

“We’re not going to exclude anyone from our review, and it will be thorough, accurate, bipartisan and in-depth,” she said.

Flynn resigned early last week amid revelations he misled Vice President Pence about his discussion of sanctions on Russia during a conversation with Moscow’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, before Trump took office.

{mosads}The U.S. intelligence community concluded in December that the Kremlin had launched an influence and hacking campaign to aid Trump in the 2016 election.

But some lawmakers have since pressed for more information on Trump campaign aides’ alleged ties to Russia after reports that aides were in constant contact with Russia during the campaign.

Trump has himself repeatedly defended Russian President Vladimir Putin in interviews and has called for new cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

Collins said Wednesday she wasn’t yet sure whether the Senate intelligence panel would need to subpoena Trump’s tax returns for its probe, though she didn’t rule the request out.

“If it’s necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect we would,” she said.

Shortly before leaving office, President Obama imposed fresh sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 suspected Russian officials from the U.S. after his administration released a declassified report on Russian-backed hacking during the election.

Some lawmakers have called for the creation of a special committee to investigate Russian meddling in the presidential contest. But such suggestions have been largely dismissed by Senate GOP leaders, who have argued that existing panels, such as the Intelligence Committee, are capable of handling the probe.

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