EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After reports that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn spoke with a Russian envoy about U.S. sanctions before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, Rhode Island congressman David Cicilline is calling for the release of Flynn’s reported calls with the ambassador.
A Washington Post report last week contradicted denials by Flynn and Vice President Mike Pence. If the retired Army lieutenant general and Middletown native did indeed offer to dial back sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on Russia once Trump took office, the conversations may have broken U.S. law aimed at barring private citizens from conducting diplomacy.
Rep. Cicilline said Monday that if the allegations are correct, “they sent a clear message that the Kremlin would not be held accountable for interfering in the 2016 election. And now these actions are raising serious questions about Michael Flynn’s fitness for office,” said Cicilline in a statement.
“It is time for this administration to tell the truth,” the congressman continued. “Let the American people judge [Flynn’s] conduct for themselves.”
As of Monday afternoon, the Trump White House had not commented on the allegations regarding Flynn.
Cicilline also spoke to Eyewitness News Monday morning in a live interview on Eyewitness News This Morning, touching on calls for Flynn to be dismissed as well as a federal court’s refusal to reinstate the President’s controversial travel and visitors’ ban, and President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — followed by Gorsuch reportedly saying he was disheartened by Mr. Trump’s disparaging remarks about federal judges who ruled against him on the ban. (Watch the attached video for more of the congressman’s remarks.)
Across the aisle, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sparred with Mr. Trump at times during the latter’s campaign, was among those on the GOP also looking for a Flynn probe, as he told Charleston television stations Monday: “If [the conversation] did include the idea that the Trump administration would relieve existing sanctions, that would bother me greatly. Everything Russia has done in the last couple years warrants more sanctions, not less.”