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DAILY KOS

10 things you need to know today: February 15, 2017

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THE WEEK

1. Reports: Trump campaign had frequent contact with Russian intelligence
Members of President Trump’s campaign team and other associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 presidential campaign, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing four current and former American officials. Phone calls between the Trump associates and Russian officials reportedly were intercepted around the time U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies found evidence that Russia had hacked Democrats. The Times‘ sources said investigators had found no evidence of collusion, but that the discovery was worrying because Trump often praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on Russia to steal Hillary Clinton’s emails. CNN, which released a similar report, said Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chairman, and adviser Michael Flynn, who just stepped down as national security adviser, were among the close Trump aides who had contact with Russian officials; Manafort called the reports “absurd,” and Trump called them “non-sense.”

Source: The New York Times, CNN

2. GOP senators vow to investigate Trump team’s Russia contacts
Several top Republican senators on Tuesday called for an exhaustive investigation into the resignation of President Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and continuing questions about Russia’s influence in the administration. “I think we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonders whether there was a stone left unturned,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “General Flynn’s resignation is a troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus.” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s ranking Democrat, vowed a thorough investigation of “any contact” between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

3. White House says Trump was told Flynn misled Pence
The White House said Tuesday that President Trump was told six days into his presidency that his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had discussed sanctions against Russia with Moscow’s U.S. ambassador weeks before Trump took office. Trump, however, waited until last week to share the information with Vice President Mike Pence, who had by then told journalists that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with Russian officials before Trump took office, which would be a potential violation of a rarely invoked law against diplomacy by private citizens. The White House did not immediately say why Trump had kept Pence in the dark, or why White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said hours before Flynn’s resignation that Trump still had “full confidence” in him.

Source: The Associated Press

4. Kim Jong Un’s half-brother killed in Malaysia
The estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was murdered Tuesday in Malaysia. Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of the former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had been living outside the isolated communist nation for years. Malaysian media reported that two unidentified women were believed to have killed Kim with a poison needle at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, before fleeing in a taxi. Kim Jong Nam reportedly criticized Kim Jong Un for his youth and inexperience in 2012, saying his younger brother wouldn’t “last long.” Malaysian police said Wednesday that they had arrested a woman with Vietnamese travel documents in connection with the killing.

Source: Bloomberg, USA Today

5. Former store clerk found guilty in 1979 murder of Etan Patz
A New York jury on Tuesday found former Manhattan bodega stock clerk Pedro Hernandez guilty of kidnapping and murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979, resolving a mystery that helped raise awareness about missing children. New Yorkers, especially parents, agonized over Etan Patz’s disappearance. His photo appeared not only on “missing” posters, TV news, and newspapers, but also on milk cartons, a first. Jurors said they returned from a three-day weekend and, on their ninth day of deliberations, watched Hernandez’s recorded confessions one last time before reaching a verdict. “It’s about time,” said Stanley Patz, Etan’s father.

Source: The New York Times, The Associated Press

6. U.K. government rejects petition against Trump visit
The British government on Tuesday formally rejected an online petition calling for canceling or downgrading a visit by President Trump later this year. The government “recognizes the strong views expressed by the many signatories of this petition, but does not support this petition,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement posted on the petition’s web page. No date for the visit has been set, but the statement said that Prime Minister Theresa May’s invitation to Trump on her January visit to Washington “reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom.”

Source: CNN

7. Immigrant protected under Obama program detained in Seattle raid
A 23-year-old immigrant brought to the U.S. from Mexico as a child was detained in a Seattle immigration raid in what the man’s lawyers say could be the first such case against someone protected from deportation under former President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. Daniel Ramirez Medina, who has no criminal record, was one of 680 people arrested in a flurry of Trump administration immigration raids last week. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said 75 percent of the people detained had criminal records. Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects an estimated 750,000 immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children from deportation, and offers them work permits.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, Reuters

8. Ethics office calls for White House to discipline Kellyanne Conway
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has called on the White House to discipline counselor Kellyanne Conway for urging the public to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories. Conway, representing the administration in an interview on Fox & Friends last week, was asked about retailers that had dropped Ivanka Trump’s brand, and told viewers to “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff. … I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today everybody, you can find it online.” The OGE subsequently wrote to the White House, saying that although Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated during a press conference … that ‘Kellyanne has been counseled, and that’s all we’re going to go with,’ the OGE urged the White House to investigate “and consider taking disciplinary action against her.”

Source: CBS News, House Oversight Dems

9. Humana says it is pulling out of ObamaCare exchanges
Humana announced Tuesday that it would stop offering health insurance through ObamaCare state marketplaces. It will be the first major health insurance provider to stop selling individual policies on the public exchanges next year. President Trump, who has vowed to replace former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, pounced on the news as fresh evidence that ObamaCare should be repealed. “ObamaCare continues to fail,” Trump tweeted. Many of the state exchanges appear stable but insurers are complaining about their uncertain future, as Republicans debate a potential replacement.

Source: The New York Times

10. Evacuation order lifted near California’s Oroville Dam
California officials on Tuesday lifted a mandatory evacuation order for nearly 200,000 people downstream from the Oroville Dam about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco. Workers have reduced Lake Oroville’s water level by releasing water through the main spillway so that coming storms won’t send water out an emergency spillway that was in danger of failing. Crews also have filled in the area under the emergency spillway with rocks and slurry to prevent further erosion. A massive hole had developed in the emergency spillway, raising the threat of collapse and catastrophic flooding.

Source: ABC News, The Washington Post

Opinion: If Intelligence Community Can’t Trust White House, America Is in Distress

 

Opinion: If Intelligence Community Can’t Trust White House, America Is in Distress

Flying the American flag upside down is indeed a type of distress signal.

Section 8a of the United StatesFlag Code states, “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” www.usa-flag-site.org

POLITICUS USA

It is beyond comprehension that the intelligence community would ever distrust the White House to the extent that it withholds critical intelligence.

Even the most ardent conservative who believes the government exists solely to prevent them from becoming a billionaire and drive them into dire poverty likely rests comfortably at night knowing that government is protecting the nation’s security. Chief among the agencies protecting the nation is the expansive intelligence community (IC) consisting of, that we know, 16 separate agencies. Although it’s true the military is tasked with physically defending the nation’s interests at home and abroad, they are as dependent on data and information from the intelligence community as the White House that orders the military into action.

It is beyond comprehension that the intelligence community would ever distrust the White House to the extent that it withheld critical intelligence from the current occupant, but that is precisely what is happening and it signals that this nation is in a state of distress. When the intelligence community, all 16 entities, cannot trust the man serving as president or his trusted advisors to protect national secrets every American alive should be terrified and demand corrective action immediately, no matter what that action entails or no matter who is “corrected” out of their unwarranted positions of power.

As this column has stated several times before, and echoed by real American spies, “Declaring war on the spooks is always a bad idea,” and yet since before being officially inaugurated, Trump took the unprecedented step of attacking the IC including comparing them to “Nazis” because they were doing their jobs. Part of their jobs is briefing Trump daily, but he can’t even be bothered to pay attention to information crucial to America’s national security. Trump further antagonized the IC declaring that their reports and intel briefings were “ridiculous” and “unbelievable;” something he knew to be true because “I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”

As an aside, Trump is dreaming if he thinks the IC will be talking to him for eight years; unless it is waterboarding him daily until he confesses that he is a know-nothing con man financially indebted to Russian crime bosses who bailed him out of bankruptcy.

It was particularly stupid for Trump to assail the IC while they were investigating what they already knew was a “longtime relationship with Moscow.” As former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) Mike Hayden said while sharing the IC’s outrage at “Trump’s blowing them off with insults: To have an assessment dismissed, frankly, because it was unpleasant? That’s just not acceptable.“

Mr. Hayden doesn’t tell the half of it; it is more than just “dismissing” intelligence assessments that are factual and thus “unpleasant” to the Trump. In most cases Trump doesn’t care about hearing any intelligence crucial to protecting national security any more than he does allowing his treasonous acolytes to share that crucial intelligence with his connections at the Kremlin. In fact, it is precisely those “connections” that are the reason the IC is withholding important intelligence from the “so-called” commander in chief; because they are confident Russian president and former KGB (spy) officer Vladimir Putin has ears and eyes in the Trump White House situation room. Trump’s cozy relationship with the Kremlin has more than the United States’ IC concerned enough to withhold valuable information.

It is noteworthy that the IC’s concerns are not solely due to Trump’s NSA director’s very friendly relationship with Moscow. There is a very nifty timeline of the Trump-Russia connection compiled by Business Insider (BI)that explains exactly why the IC is protecting America by not sharing critical intel with the White House. Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Moscow did not begin on January 20, 2017 and the “BI” article includes Trump’s inner circle’s connections to the Russians.

What is absolutely stunning is that the Trump campaign, and the Trump’s, connections to Moscow were relatively common knowledge long before election day; the intelligence community knew about them even longer still. The difference now is that Trump, and some say Putin, is in the White House. A frightening proposition that has the intelligence community concerned enough to withhold crucial intelligence from the man with access to the nuclear codes; except when the guy with the “nuclear football” is having to pose for pictures with members of Trump’s club.

The fact that the intelligence community is not revealing its information to the White House because Trump’s administration cannot be trusted is beyond the pale and a matter of national security. It verifies to America’s allies what they already know that Trump is not only incompetent on myriad levels, but that he is far too connected to a hostile foreign power to be trusted with intelligence vital to the security of the entire world.

What should be obvious to anyone who is not a Trump zealot is that if the American intelligence community cannot trust man claiming the presidency of the United States of America, then no ally, trading partner or American citizen can possibly trust Donald J. Trump or anyone remotely connected to his administration. And when a nation’s people cannot trust the man in the White House over his connections to a hostile foreign power, it is certain that the nation is in distress.

**The above article includes reports with commentary by R Muse**

Trump advisers were in contact with Russia throughout the campaign

From left: Trump advisor Steve Bannon, advisor Stephen Miller and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus listen while US President Donald Trump speaks at the beginning of a meeting with lawmakers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

 AFP/Getty Images | Was it you? Or you? Or you?

DAILY KOS

It shouldn’t be shocking news at this point. After all, Russian officials were bragging about it just two days after the election.

Russia said it was in contact with President-elect Donald Trump’s team during the U.S. election campaign, despite repeated denials by the Republican candidate’s advisers that any links existed.

Trump’s team not only denied it at the time, they’ve been denying it ever since. We’re not just talking about Michael Flynn chatting up the Russian ambassador, but what was described as “quite a few” people in nearly continuous contact. Now that connection has been confirmed from the other end.

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

Not only are there are records of the Trump team talking with Russian counterparts, those conversations were under scrutiny from US intelligence. That means they know who. They know when, and they know that the Trump team is still lying to everyone.

 

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 · 11:14:12 PM EST · Mark Sumner

Of special note: The Trump team was making calls, not to Russian ministers, or Russian media, or Russian experts. They were calling “senior Russian intelligence officials.” In the parlance of a Cold War spy novel — they were checking in with their KGB handlers. 

_______________

 

The intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

Trump was saying that publicly, while in secret his team was talking directly to Russia. Were they making the same request?

When Harry Reid was so frustrated by FBI Director James Comey’s failure to come forward with any comment on Trump’s Russian connections and other senators were likewise stonewalled by Comey, this information was already in the hands of the FBI.

While the New York Times seems anxious to cover this story now, just one week before the election, they completely spiked this story.

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.

This story came out the same evening as two breaking stories on connections between Russia and the Trump campaign, and were part of what appears to have been carefully timed “leaks” from the Trump-friendly New York FBI office made to keep this story quiet. In the end, the Times ran this single “nothing to see here” story buried pages in just two days after Comey’s letter on Hillary’s email was the subject of every column on the first page.

But as more and more evidence leaks, it’s not just Oroville Dam that’s appearing as if it might collapse.

Both the frequency of the communications and the proximity to Trump of those involved “raised a red flag” with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.

Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations

Both Trump and Obama were briefed on these communications following the election. If Donald Trump didn’t know over the course of the campaign, which is hard to believe, he absolutely knew for the last three months that some of his people were frequently in communications with Russian officials. And yet Sean Spicer is still standing up there, denying it.

We know it happened. We know they’re lying. Now we wait for names, and dates, and transcripts.

By Mark Sumner

What Dan Rather Has To Say About Trump’s ‘Deadly Serious’ Flynn Scandal Is ‘Chilling’

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30:  Dan Rather speaks onstage at The Newsmen: Changing Dynamics of Media, Tech, and Journalism panel during AWXI on September 30, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AWXI)

Featured image by Robin Marchant via Getty Images for AWXI

ADDICTING INFO

On Tuesday afternoon, legendary journalist Dan Rather weighed in on the Trump administration’s latest scandal involving former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s collusion with Russia.

“Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now,” Rather began. He explained that while he rates Watergate as a 9, and the Flynn scandal is only at a 5 or 6 right now, the situation “is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour.” In hindsight, he said, we may one day see that “this is at least as big as Watergate.” This “is chilling,” Rather said.

“When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche,” Rather continued. But up until then, things had “rumbled along with a low-grade intensity.” Things are different this time around. “This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows,” he explained.

We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”

Rather noted that recent reports indicate that Trump has been aware of Flynn’s treasonous conversations for weeks. This leads him to ask, “how far does this go?”

The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies – can’t we finally all agree to call them lies – long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration’s assertions for far too long.

“We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth,” declared the famed journalist. He added that truth is definitely proving to be stranger than fiction when it comes to Trump’s scandal-ridden presidency.

“If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction,” Rather said. “It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.”

You can read Rather’s post here:

rather

 

Vox Sentences: Flynn some, you lose some

Flynnghazi

Michael Flynn with Jared Kushner

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

VOX

Michael Flynn’s resignation signals instability in the White House — but, perhaps, more stability in American foreign policy.

  • The first high-profile resignation of a Trump appointee comes 24 days into his presidency: Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser Monday night, amid evidence that he discussed US sanctions against Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and allegations that he violated federal law by lying to the FBI about it. [Vox / Yochi Dreazen]
  • Flynn, in an interview with the Daily Caller that appears to be the last one of his tenure, insists that he did nothing wrong. [Daily Caller / Richard Pollock]
  • By this point, though, the Flynn scandal isn’t just about Flynn. It’s become a classic question of who in the Trump administration knew, what they knew, and when they knew it. (The Huffington Post has a helpful timeline.) [Huffington Post / Jessica Schulberg]
  • That skein began to unravel Monday night, when reports surfaced that Justice Department officials had told White House counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn had lied in late January. (This puts McGahn at the intersection of both the biggest fiascos of the young Trump administration, in case you’re keeping score.) [Lawfare / Jack Goldsmith]
  • Press secretary Sean Spicer was quick to assert that the White House had independently investigated Flynn, and, despite President Trump being proven “instinctively correct” in his snap judgment that no law had been broken, the investigation showed a breach of trust.
  • That story, which was flimsy to begin with, is already falling apart — with White House sources (presumably allies of VP Mike Pence) reporting that Pence didn’t know until last Thursday, when the Washington Post broke the news of the sanctions call, that the DOJ had already told the White House about it 11 days earlier. [NBC News / Vaughn Hillyard and Hallie Jackson]
  • While Flynn’s resignation portends instability for the Trump White House, it’s a breath of relief for many in the foreign policy establishment. Flynn was, in many ways, the most erratic and Islamophobic of Trump’s inner circle, and having him gone makes several of the worst-case scenarios of a Trump presidency less plausible. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • (It’s likely, in fact, that intelligence operatives engaged in some strategic leaking and gamesmanship to help push Flynn out — which some observers see as a disconcerting parallel to how “deep state” shadow governments operate in countries like Turkey.) [The Week / Damon Linker]
  • But while some in the intelligence community see Flynn’s ouster as a chance to turn over a new leaf, others are still deeply wary of the Trump administration. [The Guardian / Spencer Ackerman]
  • After all, Flynn was far from the only Trump adviser with Islamophobic credentials. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]

 

Trump Knew For Weeks That Flynn Had Misled The White House

Trump Knew For Weeks That Flynn Had Misled The White House

attribution: NONE

THE NATIONAL MEMO

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump knew for weeks that national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled the White House about his contacts with Russia but did not immediately force him out, an administration spokesman said on Tuesday.

Trump was informed in late January that Flynn had not told Vice President Mike Pence the whole truth about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Flynn quit on Monday after Trump asked for his resignation, Spicer said. “The issue pure and simple came down to a matter of trust,” Spicer told reporters.

The departure was another disruption for an administration already repeatedly distracted by miscues and internal dramas since the Republican businessman assumed the presidency on Jan. 20.

U.S. lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, called for a deeper inquiry into not just Flynn’s actions but broader White House ties to Russia. Trump has long said that he would like improved relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said Trump only moved against Flynn because of media attention to the issue, and not because of concern at any wrongdoing by the former lieutenant general.

“The reason they lost faith or trust in General Flynn only last night when they knew for weeks that he had been lying was that it became public,” Schiff told MSNBC.

A timeline of events outlined by Spicer and a U.S. official showed that Trump had known for weeks about Flynn misleading the vice president.

Trump, a former reality TV star whose catchphrase was “You’re fired!,” has often boasted of his eagerness to get rid of subordinates. But he was not quick to fire Flynn, a strong advocate of a better relations with Russia and a hard line against Islamist militants.

The Justice Department warned the White House in late January that Flynn had misled Pence by denying to him that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, a potentially illegal act, a U.S. official said.

Flynn did talk about sanctions with the diplomat, whose calls were recorded by U.S. intelligence officials, the official said. But Pence went on television in mid-January and denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions.

Spicer stressed that the administration believed there was no legal problem with Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, but rather an issue over the president’s trust in his adviser.

He said the Justice Department sought to notify the White House counsel on Jan. 26. about the discrepancies in Flynn’s accounts.

“The White House counsel informed the president immediately. The president asked them to commit a review of whether there was a legal situation there. That was immediately determined there wasn’t. That was what the president believed at the time from what he had been told and he was proved to be correct,” Spicer told reporters.

“We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue,” he said.

Flynn’s conversations with the ambassador took place around the time that then-President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia, charging that Moscow had used cyber attacks to try to influence the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

A U.S. official familiar with the transcripts of the calls with the ambassador said Flynn indicated that if Russia did not retaliate in kind for Obama’s Dec. 29 order expelling 35 Russian suspected spies and sanctioning Russian spy agencies, that could smooth the way toward a broader discussion of improving U.S.-Russian relations once Trump took power.

LEGAL FALLOUT?

Flynn’s discussions with the Russian diplomat could potentially have been in violation of a law known as the Logan Act, banning private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments about disputes or controversies with the United States. However, nobody has been prosecuted in modern times under the law, which dates from 1799.

Although Flynn is almost certain not to be prosecuted under the Logan Act, he could still face legal trouble if it emerges that he violated other federal laws in his communications with the Russians, said Andrew Kent, a professor at Fordham University School of Law in New York. The Espionage Act, for example, criminalizes sharing information with foreign governments

Democrats, who do not have control of Congress, clamored for probes into Flynn, and asked how much Trump knew about his connections to Russia.

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for an investigation of potential criminal violations surrounding the resignation of Flynn and said senior Trump administration officials should face tough questions.

“What I am calling for is an independent investigation with executive authority to pursue potential criminal actions,” Schumer told reporters, saying such a probe could not be led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions or White House lawyers.

Two leading Republicans in the Senate, Bob Corker and John Cornyn, said the intelligence committee should investigate Flynn’s contacts with Russia.

But the highest-ranking Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, sidestepped questions about whether lawmakers should look into Flynn’s Russia ties, adding that he would leave it to the Trump administration to explain the circumstances behind Flynn’s departure.

A broader investigation of the White House and its ties to Russia is not possible without the cooperation either of the Justice Department or the Republican-led Congress.

“Nothing is going to happen without some Republicans moving,” Professor Kent said.

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria and Republican congressional opposition to removing sanctions on Russia make any White House attempt to embrace Putin problematic.

Senator John McCain, a leading Republican voice on foreign relations, said Flynn’s resignation raised questions about the administration’s intentions toward Putin’s Russia.