White House Distances Itself From Flynn After Russian Sanction Revelation

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By Marisa Schultz | 11:32 pm, February 12, 2017

WASHINGTON — The White House on Sunday continued to distance itself from national security adviser Michael Flynn in the face of his entanglements with Russia.

President Trump’s surrogate Stephen Miller made the rounds on the Sunday shows, but declined to say whether the commander-in-chief still has confidence in the retired general.

“That’s the question that I think you should ask the president, the question you should ask Reince [Priebus], the chief of staff,” Miller told NBC’s “Meet the Press.

“General Flynn has served his country admirably,” he added.

NBC’s Chuck Todd pressed for more information.

“So the White House did not give you anything to say…”

“They did not give me anything to say,” Miller, the senior policy adviser, said. “… It’s not for me to answer hypothetical. It wouldn’t be responsible. It’s a sensitive matter.”

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Flynn had private discussions with the Russian ambassador about US sanctions prior to the inauguration, despite the Trump administration saying otherwise.

The conversation, confirmed by nine Washington Post sources, put the White House, especially Vice President Pence in a tough spot.

The vice president claimed publicly in a CBS interview he spoke to Flynn about dealings with the ambassador and was reassured the conversation “had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.”

Trump declined to come to Flynn’s defense Friday and said he wasn’t aware of the Washington Post’s revelations.

“I don’t know about that,” Trump told reporters. “I haven’t seen it. What report is that? I haven’t seen that. I’ll look into that.”

In a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Miller said he had nothing to offer about Flynn’s White House status.

“I don’t have any news to make to you today on this point,” Miller said. It’s a great question for our chief of staff. It’s a great question for the office of vice president.”

ABC host George Stephanopoulos pushed Miller: “How do you think he can continue to serve as National Security Adviser after misleading the vice president?”

“I don’t accept what your question is saying is accurate,” Miller said, again calling Flynn’s Russian talk a “sensitive” and “important” matter.

“I don’t have any information one way or another to add anything to this conversation.”

Democrats and some Republicans have long questioned Trump’s ties to Russia and his unwillingness to criticize President Vladimir Putin.

The reportedly misleading statements by Flynn have fanned their outrage.

“General Flynn should be suspended and have his intelligence clearance revoked,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted Saturday.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) told “Fox News Sunday” that Flynn’s “credibility” is in trouble and he’s “not the type of person you want to have around you giving advice.”

Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the issue is “broader” than Flynn and suggested an independent body, similar to the 9/11 commission, needs to be convened to investigate

Russia’s influence on the election.

“Russia attacked us,” Cardin said. “We need to have an independent investigation, and General Flynn’s comments just add to our concern about the relationship with Russia.”

This article originally appeared in the New York Post.

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