President Donald Trump has been faced with a busy couple of week in the White House
Following the overturning of the immigration ban, it was revealed through wiretapped conversations that Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, had conversations with a Russian ambassador about American sanctions against Russia.
Flynn told the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, that the Obama administration was an adversary of Russia and that things would change under the Trump administration. On the same day that Flynn made this call, the Obama administration imposed sanctions against Russia for their involvement in the U.S. election.
The FBI discovered this conversation in early 2017 and President Trump denied any knowledge that his staff had had any conversations with Russia. A couple of days later, Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied that Flynn had discussed the sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Spicer told reporters that the call was to set up a time for President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to speak after the inauguration.
Two days following Spicer’s comment, Vice President Mike Pence also stated that sanctions were not discussed in the phone call.
“It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
The Washington Post had reported that Flynn had lied to Pence about the content of his conversation with the Russian ambassador.
The FBI spoke to Flynn about his phone call in late January and then Spicer once again denied that sanctions had been discussed.
The Washington Post reported on February 9 that, according to anonymous sources from current and former U.S. officials, Flynn did indeed discuss U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn then said that he couldn’t remember clearly, but he was pretty sure he did not discuss sanctions with Russia.
On February 13, Flynn resigned at the request of President Trump. Spicer cited an “erosion of trust” in a press conference.
Anonymous sources later revealed to the New York Times that some of President Trump’s campaign members may have had contact with Russia in the year before the election.
An anonymous U.S. Intelligence official told NPR that the transcripts of Flynn’s phone call showed no criminal wrongdoing.
“The fact that Donald Trump believes General Flynn was right to do what he did — undermining U.S. sanctions on Russia — is outrageous and part of a larger pattern of disturbing pro-Putin policies of Trump’s, including undermining NATO and refusing to personally condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine,” said Adrienne Watson, national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.
Trump, in a press conference, told reporters that he did not have a problem with Flynn discussing the sanctions.
Five congressional committees are investigating any ties between Trump and Russia.
Trump offered the newly opened national security advisor position to retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward, a member of the Navy SEALs and former deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command, but Harward turned it down. It is not entirely clear at this time as to why he did so.
This week, Trump is expected to release a new executive order on immigration. Trump also said he would have a replacement for ObamaCare ready in March.