A senior naval officer who served under President Donald Trump's Defense Secretary James Mattis is the leading candidate to replace Michael Flynn after the national security adviser resigned under pressure over his conversations with a Russian diplomat, two USA officials said on Tuesday.
"General Flynn's resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration's intentions toward Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation, including statements by the president suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russian Federation despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, and attempted interference in American elections", McCain said in a statement. Monday night, the Post reported that then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the White House in late January that she believed "Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador".
Said that he had no problem with his former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador, and that he only fired him because Mr. Flynn had lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about it.
Chaffetz, who was eager to investigate Hillary Clinton's email controversy, has come under pressure from Democrats on the committee and his own constituents for going soft on Trump and not launching inquiries regarding Trump's financial conflicts of interest.
One said the justice department alerted the White House there was a discrepancy between what officials were saying publicly about the contacts and the facts of what had occurred.
Several agencies are conducting the inquiries into Russia's efforts to meddle in the US election and coordinating as needed, said the officials, who requested anonymity to speak about sensitive matters.
Congressional Democrats John Conyers and Elijah Cummings have demanded a classified briefing to Congress on Michael Flynn by the justice department and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Kremlin spokesman on Wednesday denied reports of intercepted phone calls between Russian intelligence officials and members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
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Spicer said that the trust of the USA president in his advisor had "eroded", and asked for his resignation.
For example, investigators are focusing on a phone call Flynn had in December with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the USA, which was intercepted by intelligence agencies and shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the two officials said.
In passing along that message, Flynn may have violated the Logan Act, an obscure statute that prohibits private meddling in foreign policy disputes.
And it came as the White House conceded that Trump knew for weeks that Flynn, his ousted security adviser, had misled the White House about his contacts with Russian Federation.
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for an investigation of potential criminal violations surrounding the resignation of Flynn.
Trump so far has refused to implicate his staff for any wrongdoing, and has instead insisted the real issue is intelligence leaks to the press.
After the USA sanctions were announced, Russian President Vladimir Putin took the uncharacteristic step of announcing he would not respond in kind, and instead he invited US diplomats in Moscow to join Christmas celebrations at the Kremlin.
A White House spokesperson had no immediate comment.
"The president is evaluating the situation", Spicer's statement said.
"The tone is such hatred", Mr. Trump said of the coverage of his government. The president did not take a question about Mr Flynn's future from two reporters who were called upon, and he ignored journalists' shouted follow-up inquiries as he left the room.