- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Michael McFaul, who was the U.S. ambassador to Russia under former President Obama, said Tuesday that Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser is a “set-back” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This is a set-back for Putin,” Mr. McFaul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Because in the constellation of senior people making foreign policy around the president, General Flynn was considered somebody sympathetic to the Kremlin, somebody sympathetic to Russia.”

“They’ve now lost one of their allies, and the other folks - especially [Defense Secretary James] Mattis - their stars are rising now,” Mr. McFaul said.

Mr. Flynn resigned Monday, acknowledging he gave “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence and others about his discussions with Russia’s U.S. ambassador last year before President Trump entered office.

“Obviously I want to know if the president himself instructed General Flynn to make those calls and to make those offers about holding off on the sanctions and the tit-for-tat,” Mr. McFaul said.

“But I want to know some bigger questions. General Flynn traveled to Russia. He sat right next to Vladimir Putin for a dinner. We’ve seen the photos. What were they discussing then?” he said.

“Was there discussions, was there coordination between the campaign and the dump of the data at Wikileaks?” he said. “I have zero information about that - I want to be clear about that.”

“But once something like this happens and you don’t know the facts before, it makes you want to question all of those contacts before, and I just think we need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of all of this,” he said.

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