PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation raises questions about President Donald Trump’s “intentions” with Russia.
“General Flynn’s resignation also raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions toward Vladimir Putin’s Russia, including statements by the president suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russia despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our NATO allies, and attempted interference in American elections,” he said in a statement.
Flynn resigned after questions were asked about his relationship with Russian officials. The Justice Department warned the Trump administration weeks ago that contradictions between the public depictions and the actual details of the calls could leave Flynn in a compromised position.
In a resignation letter, Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition and gave “incomplete information” about those discussions to Vice President Mike Pence.
The vice president, apparently relying on information from Flynn, initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, though Flynn later conceded the issue may have come up.
In his Tuesday statement, McCain said the Trump administration needs to make its Russian stance “clear and unequivocal.” He also said it should resemble hardline American policies of old.
“We will honor our commitments to our NATO allies, we will maintain and enhance our deterrent posture in Europe, we will hold Russian violators of human rights accountable for their actions, and we will maintain sanctions on Russia so long as it continues to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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