Information regarding the nature of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn‘s communications with a Russian ambassador, as well as Donald Trump‘s campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives, continues to trickle out of Washington. Still, many questions remain, and political figures on both sides of the aisle want answers.
On the one hand, there are questions regarding what exactly Flynn said to Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but also the nature of Team Trump’s relationship with Russia and who is behind it. Was the President himself calling the shots, or were his aides using Kremlin connections behind his back? Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, told The Hill that the details surrounding Flynn aren’t as important as the overall picture. “The much bigger issue is, what is the connection with Russia and the Trump administration? It’s not only how far up does it go — was the campaign in collusion?” Nadler said.
On the other hand, of course, is the question few people were asking when the Flynn story first broke: How did the FBI know about Flynn’s communication with Kislyak in the first place, and how did information then get to the press? The feds had reportedly wiretapped Flynn’s phone before the calls were made. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, expressed his dismay to the Washington Post. “I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,” Nunes said. “The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.” Nunes’ Committee is looking into how Russia may have influenced November’s election.
Not everyone in the GOP is as curious about what’s going on. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told the Post, “It’s taken care of itself at this point,” referring to Flynn probe. Senator Rand Paul, who ran against Trump in the Republican primaries, said in a Fox News interview, “I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party.” Paul said that Republicans investigating other Republicans “makes no sense,” when they’re trying to accomplish other goals like repealing Obamacare.
Still, the fact that members of both parties are pressing for more information about the FBI’s activities puts pressure on Director James Comey. Comey, of course, is no stranger to bipartisan frustration related to an investigation. When he publicly stated that his bureau was continuing to investigate Hillary Clinton‘s emails in the weeks leading up to the election, Democrats railed against him for acting out of political motivation. Then when he announced — for the second time — that Clinton would not be facing charges, Republicans were livid that Comey was being too soft.
Upsetting both parties could be a sign that Comey isn’t playing politics with the current situation. Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona said to The Hill that the fact that Comey “has made everyone mad” is a sign that he’s acting independently and not being swayed by either side.