- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2017

The House’s top Democratic investigator on Sunday said National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn needs to explain whether he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador, saying the retired general’s shifting explanations are only raising new questions.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland also wants to know whether President Trump knew about Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, when President Obama was still in charge of foreign relations.

“Did the president instruct General Flynn to talk to the ambassador?” Mr. Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told ABC’s “This Week.”

Both parties have been uncomfortable with Mr. Trump’s apparent coziness with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Democrats, in particular, have questioned whether the Russians have personal or financial influence over the U.S. president.

Mr. Flynn initially denied discussing Russian sanctions during the December calls. Last week, however, his spokesman said he “couldn’t be certain” that the topic never came up.

Vice President Mike Pence had already gone on national television to say Mr. Flynn and Russian ambassador hadn’t discussed sanctions.

“He really put the vice president in a very awkward and a very sad position,” Mr. Cummings said.

“He is the national security adviser,” he added. “He is supposed to be the one to make sure these kind of things don’t happen, and here he is embroiled in all of this.”

White House policy adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday declined to say whether misleading Mr. Pence would be a fireable offense in the Trump administration.

“It’s not for me to answer hypothetical. It wouldn’t be responsible. It’s a sensitive matter,” Mr. Miller told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “General Flynn has served his country admirably. He served his country with distinction.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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