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President Trump Defends Retired Gen. Michael Flynn

17 February 2017

Mr Spicer said: "The President was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the Vice President and others".

"I still don't know who got [those intercepts]" one high-ranking USA intelligence official said, referring to reported transcripts of a call between ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the US.

Pence, Jan. 15: I talked to General Flynn about that conversation and actually it was initiated when on Christmas Day he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place. It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. During numerous portions of the torrential press conference, Mr Trump touted his electoral college victory - incorrectly saying that it was the largest victory since Reagan.

Lawmakers are cautious but open to the release of the transcripts of phone calls between former national security advisor Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador, as long as they do not contain sensitive information.

President Trump's embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday night, Fox News reported. In typical Trump form, however, the president's face-off with reporters devolved into a freewheeling rant against the media, during which the former reality TV star decried coverage of his presidency as "fake news" and offered up a rambling defense of the actions of his administration to date.

"Only if the answers to all of these questions were yes would be it possible to start assembling a case against the leaker", he said.

"I think that might be excessive. This is fake news put out by the media". And what hold might Russian Federation have over officials who now know from the example of Mr Flynn that exposure can cost them their job? "The spokesman said Flynn 'indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up'".

Flynn's resignation letter did not mention that he spoke with Kislyak about sanctions.

"In one case you're talking about highly classified information, in another case you are talking about John Podesta saying awful things about the boss", the president said.

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We'll also check in on the planned meetings between President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, plus check in on California governor's race. The issue Republicans want to investigate isn't what we know, but why. He called on the president to find a replacement who is "embowered by clear lines of authority and responsibility and possesses the skills and experience necessary to organize the national security system across our government". "We've got to know what questions to ask of somebody and we're not at a point that we know enough right now to do that". What report is that?

Earlier, he had posted on Twitter, "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and Federal Bureau of Investigation?). I'll look at that".

The president himself seemed to be under the impression that the intel community were undermining him with leaks, some of which have contained information about his phone calls with foreign leaders. How do we know?

According to Trump, the information about Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. was provided to the media by the intelligence community.

Nunes said members have been investigating Russian Federation in general "for a very long time" and that some have expressed since a year ago one of the biggest failures of the intelligence community since 9/11 was its "total failure to understand [Vladimir] Putin's plans and intentions".

"I mean we don't even have the basic facts", Nunes said.

Now, Trump may or may not have read the Post story.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, flanked by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas (left) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden of OR, meet with reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Kellogg had previously been appointed the National Security Council chief of staff and advised Trump during the campaign.

So far, the White House has had little success in trying to shift the narrative from the Russian contacts to accusations about the leaking of sensitive information by the intelligence agencies, as well as by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The only way he can save face - and the honor of the presidency - is to step aside.