Trump impeachment is next after Flynn's resignation

Trump Impeachment Is Next After Flynn’s Resignation, Critics Say

Opponents of the Trump administration are convinced, following the resignation of President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn over the controversy about his communication with the Russian ambassador, that a full-scale Congressional inquiry would unearth information that could lead to the impeachment of Trump.

Trump’s critics and opponents believe that the latest revelations about Flynn’s links and contact with Russia provide strong grounds to launch a full-scale investigation of allegations that Trump and his aides colluded with Russia to hack the 2016 general election. Expectations that the revelations about Flynn’s contact with Russian officials would lead eventually to the impeachment of Trump were boosted after several Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell (R-Ky.), agreed on the need to deepen the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 general election. They also agreed that Congress must investigate possible contacts between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government during and after the general election, the Washington Post reported.

Several Republican Senators have also stated, specifically, that Trump’s role in the Flynn scandal should be part of a broader investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 general election by the Senate intelligence committee.

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), for instance, hinted during an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan, that it was unlikely that Flynn would have discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador without Trump’s knowledge and approval.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate intelligence committee, also called for full-scale investigation of the allegations that Trump and his campaign aides colluded with Russia to undermine the election process, according to CNN.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) released a statement, saying that Flynn’s resignation “raises further questions about the Trump administration’s intentions towards Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) said during a town hall in Elm Grove, that Congress “would have to do something” if it turns out that Trump knew about Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador.

According to Sensenbrenner, if it turns out that Flynn’s lies were meant to protect not only himself but also Trump then Congress would have to do “something.”

While Sensenbrenner chose his words carefully, it is understood that impeachment is the “something” that Congress would have to do if it emerges that Trump had knowledge of Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador about the Obama administration’s sanctions designed to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 general election.

“If he [Flynn] ended up lying up food chain to POTUS, then something would have to be done.”

It is assumed that Sensenbrenner and other House Republicans are treading carefully on the issue because they have to face voters in less than two years and they are afraid of Trump launching a primary campaign against them. But Sensenbrenner’s words are taken to reflect growing concern among Congressional Republicans about Trump’s connections with Russia.

While it is still considered unlikely that Congressional Democrats will be able to get enough Republican support to impeach Trump, newly emerging information could eventually force Republicans to cave into calls to broaden the scope of ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 general election.

Although the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that transcripts of the phone calls Flynn had with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak show that the two discussed sanctions before Trump’s inauguration, Flynn denied the allegations.

Trump administration officials also denied that Flynn had discussed Obama’s sanctions with Kislyak.

Vice President Mike Pence defended Flynn, saying that the national security adviser had told him that he did not discuss the sanctions with Kislyak. But Flynn apologized to Trump and Pence in his resignation letter for having lied to them about his contact with the Russian ambassador.

Flynn’s resignation will not stop investigations into his alleged contact with Russia prior to the inauguration of Trump as president. Rather, investigations will continue and he could still face charges if evidence shows that he sought to undermine the previous administration’s sanctions during his discussions with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and that he lied in the effort to cover it up.

Following Flynn’s resignation, observers have been speculating about what Trump knew about Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador, specifically whether he had foreknowledge of the call and approved or instructed Flynn to make the call.

Suggestions that Trump was lying when he told reporters, during the flight to Florida with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that he was not aware of the controversy over Flynn’s phone discussion with the Russian ambassador, despite the New York Times and the Washington Post reports about it, appeared vindicated when it emerged that Trump had known for weeks that Flynn lied about his contact with Russian officials but did not fire him.

Critics argue that Trump might have committed an impeachable offense by ignoring publicly available information about Flynn’s connections with Russia. According to critics, Trump would have committed an impeachable offense if he had knowingly enabled a person with questionable contacts with a hostile foreign nation by making him a national security adviser.

If Trump knew about Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador and directly or indirectly colluded with Flynn to undermine national security, he would have committed an impeachable offense, according to critics.

Some critics speculated further that the manner in which Trump made a point of going out of his way to shake hands with Flynn in front of cameras at the joint conference with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, despite the controversy surrounding his discussions with the Russian ambassador, suggested that he might have fears about the consequences if Flynn feels he has been thrown under the bus.

Trump, according to critics, betrayed anxiety to remain on good terms with Flynn and to prevent him from feeling that he was being made a scapegoat.

“[Trump] is afraid of Flynn… Whatever Flynn knows about Trump’s involvement in the Russia scandal, Trump is now actively trying to convince Flynn to keep quiet about it.”

The revelations about Flynn’s links and contact with Russia have given Trump’s detractors a strong basis to intensify the clamor for full-scale investigation of allegations that Trump and his aides colluded with Russia to hack the 2016 general election.

[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]

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