Senator Lindsay Graham, along with the majority of the American people, wants to know if anyone on Donald Trump’s transition team “directed” former national security adviser Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions against Russia. Flynn illegally spoke with a top Russian diplomat during the Trump transition, and this could be a sign of a far reaching problem in the Trump White House.
“I want to know, did General Flynn do this by himself or was he directed by somebody to do it?” Graham said in an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Graham said he has not seen the transcripts that US intelligence turned over to the White House for review shortly before Flynn announced his decision to resign from the administration.
“I think Congress needs to be informed of what actually General Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions,” Graham said. “Did he say anything at all or is this just being spun by the media?”
Flynn is accused of not only discussing sensitive matters with Russian officials before Trump took office through open and encrypted channels, he is also accused of lying to Vice President Mike Pence about what took place in those conversations. Though if what Graham is suggesting is true, Pence probably knew all along.
Graham is certainly not sold on the idea that Flynn acted alone on this. He said on Tuesday that had “a hard time believing” that Flynn would offer anything to Russia without “some understanding” of Trump’s plans after the inauguration.
“Maybe General Flynn went rogue, but that’s a question I’d need to know more,” Graham added. “I think most Americans have a right to know whether or not this was a General Flynn rogue maneuver, or was he basically speaking for somebody else in the White House?”
Flynn continues to deny that any discussion of lifting the sanctions took place but this does not answer the question as to why many of the conversations took place using encryption software. If Flynn had nothing to hide, why try and hide the conversations?
Another issue that Graham brought up was the issue of blackmail. It is still believed that Russia has leverage on not only Trump himself, but possibly other officials in the administration, and Graham wants to know if Flynn “was somehow compromised” by Russia.
“If somebody in the administration is subject to being blackmailed, I think that’s something I’d like to know about,” he said. “I think if the shoe were on the other foot we’d want to know the answers to these questions. Did General Flynn act alone?”
It is unrealistic to believe that with all the information leaking out of Russian about their blackmail leverage against Trump that Flynn would have acted alone. It seems more than likely he was directed by Trump, or another high-ranking official to appease Russia as quickly as possible. What the American people need to know now is, what did the Trump administration promise aside from lifting a few sanctions?
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.