Speed Reads

'Americans have a right to know'

GOP senators demand investigation of Flynn, Trump's possible ties to Russia

Republicans Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Roy Blunt (Mo.) on Tuesday rallied for an investigation into President Trump's ties to Russia after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's resignation Monday night. "I want to know, did Gen. Flynn do this by himself, or was he directed by somebody to do it?" Graham said during an interview on CNN, referring to Flynn's conversation ahead of Trump's inauguration with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for its alleged U.S. presidential election interference.

Flynn initially denied he'd discussed sanctions with Kislyak, a claim repeated by Vice President Mike Pence, but later admitted he had talked to Kislyak about them. In his resignation letter, Flynn apologized for briefing Pence with "incomplete information."

Graham said he believes Congress needs to be informed of what Flynn actually said to Kislyak about lifting sanctions. "I think most Americans have a right to know whether or not this was a General Flynn rogue maneuver, or was he basically speaking for somebody else in the White House," Graham said, noting that he has "a hard time believing" Flynn would "get on the phone with" a Russian ambassador and suggest rolling back sanctions without "some understanding that the administration would be sympathetic to the idea."

Blunt similarly argued for the necessity of an investigation, and noted that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he serves on, has the "principle responsibility to look into this." "I think that we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonders whether there was a stone left unturned," Blunt said. He recommended questioning Flynn to find out what he knew, what he did, and whether there is "any reason to believe that anybody knew that and didn't take the kind of action they should have taken."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also expressed an interest in investigating the questions Flynn's resignation raised, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) indicated Flynn should be involved in the Senate Intelligence Committee's probe into Russian interference in the presidential election. However, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has said it's not necessary to investigate Flynn because it's "taking care of itself."