National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has apologizedto Vice President Mike Pence for misleading him about controversial talks he had with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn is facing intense scrutiny for speaking to Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the inauguration, allegedly about a reprieve from sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
Democrats are calling for his security clearance to be revoked. Administration officials whospoke under the condition of anonymityto the Washington Post say he cannot be trusted. And notably, amid the chaos, President Trump has yet to defend him.
Flynn says he can’t be sure whether he talked about sanctions with the ambassador, despite testimony from nine current and former U.S. officials who say he did.
Charlie Sennott talked about the gravity of Flynn’s talks with Russia on BPR today, calling possible discussion of sanctions “a big deal” because it “contravenes the president of the United States’ policies.”
“Some would say that’s the kinda deal that’s about undercutting power, that gets darn close to things that some people would even call treason, that people would call impeachable offenses,” said Sennott.
Senior adviser Stephen Miller did not say whether Trump had confidence in Flynn after the Washington Post reported he talked to Kislyak about sanctions.
For Sennott, Miller’s lack of substantive response represents chaos within the Trump administration.
“This is a real crisis coming inside the administration,” he said. “You’re undercutting foreign policy.”
Sennott also said he believed the Trump administration is trying to distract the public from news about its ties to Russia by pushing other news, like alleged voter fraud.
“That voter fraud story to me is pyrotechnics and smoke screen,” he said. “And I think the Trump administration is putting it out intentionally because they know there’s real fire around Russia.”
Sennott said the media needs to stay patient with the Russia connection, pursuing it despite distractions.
“I can’t say this with all the facts because they’re yet to come out, but my news radar is telling me Russia is the story, and we’ve got to stay on it as journalists,” he said. “I think this is the one to pay attention to, and this is the one we want to keep pounding on.”
Charlie Sennott is a news analyst here at WGBH, where he also heads up the GroundTruth Project. To hear his interview in its entirety, click on the audio link above.