ICYMI: House Judiciary & Oversight Dems Call For Full Member Briefing on Flynn This Week

Feb 15, 2017 Issues: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

Washington, DC - Yesterday, Democrats from both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey requesting a full briefing in regards to former National Security Agency Director Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials and any knowledge or involvement others in the Trump Administration may have had concerning these communications.
 
House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and House Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) issued the following statement in connection with the letter:

“The American people deserve to know what President Trump knew and when he knew it.  After today’s White House press briefing, the importance of the requested briefing with DOJ and the FBI is more important than ever.” 

Among other discrepancies, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated at yesterday's press briefing that the White House Counsel had cleared General Flynn of all legal issues.  However, reports by the New York Times indicate that would not be accurate as a legal matter if General Flynn had repeated the same misstatements to the FBI shortly after the inauguration that he had provided the Administration during the same time period.

Mr. Spicer also stated that Mr. Trump had been made aware of the misstatements by General Flynn for weeks. However, when President Trump was asked about a Washington Post report to that effect on Friday, he stated, “I don't know about that. I haven't seen it. What report is that? I haven't seen that. I'll look into that.”

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

February 14, 2017

The Honorable Jefferson Sessions
U.S. Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.
20530

The Honorable James Comey
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
20530

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Director Comey:

We are writing to request a full briefing by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other relevant agencies concerning former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials, and any knowledge and involvement others in the Trump Administration may have had concerning those communications.  The fact that General Flynn was forced to resign last evening does not diminish the need for the briefing—it only reinforces the urgency of our request.

We learned yesterday that senior U.S. law enforcement officials warned the White House Counsel three weeks ago that General Flynn had provided false information to the public about his communications with the Russian government, and that the Russians might attempt to leverage that misconduct to compromise General Flynn.  It is unclear what actions, if any, the Trump Administration took with this information.  They did not clarify the facts with the American public, and they did not prevent General Flynn from continuing to access highly classified information—despite the fact that he provided false information to federal officials about his contacts with a foreign government, behavior that surely disqualifies him from handling national security secrets.

It may be possible that others in the Administration were aware of General Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials long before the Department of Justice decided to intervene. 

Members of the House Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and others have a responsibility under the Constitution to ask questions about these events.  We need to know what Trump Administration officials knew about General Flynn’s communications, whether General Flynn was indeed susceptible to blackmail by the Russian government, and what role the White House Counsel played in this matter.

All House Democrats believe that an independent, bipartisan commission is required to review the full scope of Russian interference in our recent elections.  However, yesterday’s new revelation about a post-election cover-up demands immediate oversight by the Congress.  We request a full briefing, in a classified setting if necessary, as soon as possible, but no later than Thursday, February 16, 2017.

Thank you for your prompt response to this time-sensitive request.

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