Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

Matt Lauer to Kellyanne Conway: WTH Are You Talking About?


In the Flynn saga, the question inevitably is this: Following Russian hacking and front-page reporting on intelligence probes of links between Moscow and team Trump during the campaign, wouldn't an incoming national security adviser consult and inform the president-elect about his conversations with the Russian ambassador?

And yet Trump did not fire Flynn.

Trump appeared to defend Flynn in another Wednesday morning tweet. White House officials said they conducted a thorough review of Flynn's interactions, including transcripts of calls secretly recorded by US intelligence officials, but found nothing illegal. Within hours, Mr Flynn had resigned.

Kellogg takes the helm of the National Security Council at a time when the young administration is grappling with a series of national security challenges, including North Korea's reported ballistic missile launch.

Shaub asked the White House to respond by February 28.

Conway explained the situation further, but Lauer was not having it. Still, current and former administration officials familiar with the call said the transcript was ambiguous enough that Mr. Trump could justify both firing or retaining Mr. Flynn. "I only hear it in the negative context". Flynn's conversations also raise questions about Trump's friendly posture toward Russian Federation after USA intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow hacked Democratic emails during the election.

Trump also complained about news leaks in a third tweet: "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?).Just like Russian Federation".

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Although Mr Flynn is nearly certain not to be prosecuted under the Logan Act, he could still face legal trouble if it emerges that he violated other federal laws in his communications with the Russians, said Andrew Kent, a professor at Fordham University School of Law in NY. But senior White House officials are rejecting such claims, saying Trump fully supports Spicer. Conway maintained that Flynn stepped down of his own accord after it became clear that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had in December with a Russian diplomat. Lindsey Graham said Congress needed to know whether he had been acting with direction from the president or others.

At issue, Conway said, was Flynn's misleading of Vice President Mike Pence over calls he made with Russian officials regarding USA sanctions before President Trump assumed office. Pence learned about the Justice Department warnings to the White House around the same time.

"We're not easing", Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Asked whether the president had been aware that Flynn might have discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, Spicer said, "No, absolutely not".

"By night's end, Mike Flynn had decided it was best to resign", Conway said on the "Today" show. Reportedly among them are former CIA Director retired Gen. David Petraeus, and retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward.

Flynn told Vice President Mike Pence (and reportedly FBI investigators) that he hadn't talked about sanctions with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. "It was basically: 'Look, I know this happened". The president did not receive a question about Flynn's future from the two reporters who were called upon, and he ignored journalists' shouted follow-up inquiries as he left the room. "I hate shopping, I'm going to go get some myself today".

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