WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) today led 19 of his colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a letter to Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) demanding that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn appear before the Committee as soon as possible to give sworn testimony regarding the Trump administration’s ties to the Kremlin.
“Our country’s national security, independence, and democratic institutions are at stake,” the Committee Members wrote. “As the body within the House with jurisdiction over U.S. foreign policy, we would be negligent if we left the questions about this incident unanswered. We must investigate who from the Trump transition team was aware of contacts between General Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, what was discussed, and what President Trump and Vice President Pence knew about this conversation and when they knew it.”
Flynn, who served as President Trump’s National Security Advisor for just 24 days, resigned yesterday after it became public that the Department of Justice had warned the White House that he was vulnerable to blackmail. Flynn had fallen under scrutiny after it was revealed that he undercut President Barack Obama by discussing sanctions relief with the Russian ambassador to the United States last December.
Surrogates for Trump, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, spent weeks falsely insisting that Flynn had not discussed sanctions, before nine current and former U.S. officials confirmed the contents of Flynn’s December phone calls to the Washington Post.
Flynn is now the third Trump confidante to leave following the disclosure of private communications with Vladimir Putin’s government. Paul Manafort, who served as chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign, and Carter Page, who advised Trump on foreign policy, both previously resigned after their ties to the Kremlin fell under scrutiny.
Cicilline, who has served on the Foreign Affairs Committee since 2011, has emerged as one of the leading Congressional voices calling for greater scrutiny into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Last summer, he urged President Obama to deny Trump access to classified intelligence after the candidate called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. Cicilline has also introduced the Presidential Tax Disclosure Act, legislation that requires President Trump to make his tax returns public.
As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Royce possesses subpoena power to compel Flynn’s testimony.