The White House on Sunday refused to publicly defend the President’s National Security Adviser while questions swirled over whether Michael Flynn told the truth about his post-election telephone contacts with a top Russian official, as Democrats in the Congress stepped up their demands for Flynn’s ouster.
Asked if the President still had confidence in Flynn, White House Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller had no direct answer on the Sunday talk shows.
“That’s the question that I think you should ask the President,” Miller said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“So the White House did not give you anything to say?” asked host Chuck Todd.
“They did not give me anything to say,” Miller said.
Over on ABC’s “This Week,” Miller also sidestepped the Flynn matter.
“I don’t have any news to make you today on this point,” Miller said.
It wasn’t immediately apparent if Flynn’s job was truly in danger.
At issue were telephone discussions between Flynn, a former head of the National Security Agency, and the Russian Ambassador to the United States, which took place in between President Trump’s election victory and his Inauguration.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported – in a story backed up with nine different intelligence sources – that Flynn had spoken with the Russian Ambassador about U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, and whether those might be eased after the departure of President Obama.
Flynn initially denied to the Post that such a conversation took place, but the next day, a spokesman allowed that it might have happened.
Also in the mix, is what Flynn told Vice President Mike Pence, who very publicly defended Flynn two weeks ago.
In recent days, Democratic lawmakers in Congress have tried to turn more attention to Mr. Trump’s National Security Adviser, who has been a target since his forceful campaign attacks on nominee Hillary Clinton.
“General Flynn should be suspended and have his intelligence clearance revoked,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“Flynn should be investigated and suspended immediately,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Meanwhile, a top aide to Flynn, Robin Townley, has been prevented from taking his job on the National Security Council, as he was rejected last week for a top security clearance.
Some reports said the head of the CIA had personally signed off on that decision.
A senior intelligence official told me over the weekend that such denials are not done for political reasons, rejecting assertions that the CIA was trying to get back at Mr. Trump and/or Flynn.