GOP rep: Flynn resignation ‘a good thing’ for Trump administration
A Republican member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee saluted the White House for accepting the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn last night amid a brewing controversy over his contacts with Russia.
“I think everyone can see the actions of Gen. Flynn, at least the admitted actions of misleading the vice president, is certainly enough in an administration that wants to hold itself to a high standard to cause his resignation and I think that’s a good thing,” California Congressman Darrell Issa told Herald Radio’s “Morning Meeting” hosts Jaclyn Cashman and Hillary Chabot this morning.
He added, echoing a complaint this morning from Trump: “Do we have to investigate the leaks at the CIA? Yes.”
Flynn stepped down last night following multiple reports he had mislead Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his discussions during the transition period with Russia regarding the Obama administration’s sanctions for tampering in the U.S. presidential election.
“The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?” Trump tweeted this morning.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
In a resignation letter last night, Flynn acknowledged he gave “incomplete information” to Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador.
The FBI and Justice Department warned White House Counsel Donald McGahn late last month that Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Russian ambassador Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — contradicting public statements by Pence and White House spokesman Sean Spicer — and that he was vulnerable to Russian blackmail, according to multiple media reports. It is unknown what McGahn did with that information and Flynn remained in his position until late last night when news reports began to break.
“President-elect Trump was not informed of this wrongdoing, the vice president was not informed before he was sworn in,” Issa said today.
The congressman, a staunch Trump supporter added: “If there is credible evidence of any wrongdoing of anyone from POTUS on down, of course they need to be followed up, but just because (New York Democratic Sen.) Chuck Schumer says it, doesn’t make it so. ... Do I support this president? He is our president and I will try make him a success, Will I hold him accountable? Yes.”
Issa was an active member of the Oversight Committee during the Obama administration, championing numerous investigations. Today, the chair of the committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said his panel won’t investigate Flynn’s resignation, but will defer to the House Intelligence Committee, which is already investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the election. CNN reported the chair of that committee, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), said today he does not plan to launch a separate investigation of Flynn.
Issa said the conversations between Flynn and Russia concerning possible Russian sanctions were “technically” against the law, but added repeatedly the “coverup is worse than the crime.”
An never-enforced 1799 statute known as the Logan Act bars American citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country.
“As absurd as it seems that a private citizen can’t conduct diplomacy,” Issa said. ”Technically that is the law.”
Issa said Flynn probably thought he was acting in the best interest of the country and the administration, comparing him to Lt. Col. Oliver North, a member of President Reagan’s National Security Council during the Iran-Contra affair.
The disclosure of American interception of the Russian ambassador’s calls, Issa said, poses a security risk.
“There was a disclosure of sources and methods in order to out Gen. Flynn,” Issa said. “The fact that we intercepted (the conversation between Flynn and the Russian ambassador) means the Russians can work backwards from where and when the conversation took place and they can begin to detect where the leak is, where the vulnerability is, and that’s the last thing you would do if you care about the lives of those who work behind that cloud of mystery.”