Of all the questions that have arisen in Washington over the resignation this week of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the Republican chairman of the top intelligence committee in the House of Representatives said one thing is most important, according to The Washington Post:
Why was the FBI listening in on Flynn’s phone conversations with Russia’s ambassador and why were those calls leaked to the media?
According to The Washington Post, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes wanted answers.
FBI Director James Comey has had plenty of experience explaining himself to Congress in the past six months. He might be getting more soon.
“I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,” said Nunes, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is already conducting a review of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. “The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.”
Flynn resigned from the White House Monday night after the media, citing anonymous sources, reported that he had been less than forthcoming with Vice President Mike Pence about the content of a phone call he’d had in December with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
It is unclear at this time if Flynn himself had been monitored or if his conversation with the ambassador had merely been intercepted by the screening of the Russian diplomat, whose calls are said to be routinely monitored by U.S. intelligence.
What is clear is that when the White House announced that Flynn’s conversations with the Russians had not included any talk of sanctions, U.S. intelligence officers, including Comey, knew that that wasn’t the truth, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates — the Obama administration holdover who later resigned — knew it too, according to WSJ, and discussed the matter with Comey.
According to WSJ, Comey advised Yates to patiently wait for an investigation to play out, and the FBI interviewed Flynn on Jan. 23.
Yates nevertheless proceeded to speak to the White House regarding her concerns about Flynn a few days later, but when nothing happened and Yates was later fired over an unrelated incident (refusing to defend the executive order on immigration), it appeared that rogue elements of the intelligence community took matters into their own hands.
And that’s what Nunes wants to get to the bottom of.
Telling The Post he found it “very hard to believe” that Flynn was acting as “some sort of secret Russian agent,” he said he wants to know why the FBI was recording Flynn’s conversation, and, more importantly, why the news was leaked to a media that have been open about its antagonism toward the Trump administration.
He also wants to know why liberals and Democrats who have complained so loudly about government phone monitoring are mute when secretly recorded conversations are playing a role in what some call the “political assassination” of a man who was an important figure in the Trump White House.
“Where are all the privacy groups screaming now?” he asked The Post.
There is certainly more to this story than has been publicized already, and we will certainly keep you posted about any further developments.
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