Speed Reads

the 'big elephant in the room'

Republican senator ominously warns that 'the Russia issue' could 'destabilize' the government

Republican Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) made it clear Wednesday that the federal government could face serious problems down the road if the Trump administration and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's potential ties to Russia are not investigated. "The big issue right now is dealing with this Russia issue, making sure that it doesn't destabilize our ability to move ahead as a country and deal with important issues," Corker said during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Corker described Russia's "interference" ahead of the presidential election and the possibility of the involvement of President Trump's associates as the "big elephant in the room."

Flynn's resignation Monday night after misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his conversation about sanctions with a Russian ambassador also raises the question of the White House's stability, Corker said. "Is the White House going to have the ability to stabilize itself? This affects us not just with international issues that are brewing all around the world — all kinds of problems — but the domestic agenda here," Corker said.

Corker, for one, said he wants to fully understand what happened with Flynn, and why the Trump administration's stance on Russia has remained stagnant while its stances on "most" other foreign policy issues have evolved. "Russia is not our friend," Corker said. "This relationship that seems to exist and seems to be preeminent and seems to be driving so much of the conversation within the White House, to me, is still not righted itself." "It's a problem," he added.

Catch Corker's interview below. Becca Stanek