Schumer Demands Criminal Probe Of Flynn

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any Justice Department investigation into issues related to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his contacts with the Russian ambassador late previous year.

"The new Attorney General Jeff Sessions can not be the person to lead that investigation ... it is a clear conflict of interest", Schumer said on the Senate floor, citing Department of Justice regulations.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, called for an independent investigation to examine not only Flynn, but others at the White House.

Among the questions Schumer said he wants answered are whether someone in the White House or Trump's campaign ordered Flynn to talk to the Russians, whether his talks were authorized, how extensive they were and why Flynn was not fired immediately when the White House learned of his activities. "The revelation of these secret calls by General Flynn arises amidst several serious unresolved questions about ties between this administration and Russian Federation".

Schumer said there is legitimate concern that President Trump's circle of advisers may try to destroy evidence that could shed light on the substance of reported conversations with Russian agents.

Debate over Sessions' role in forthcoming investigations was anticipated by Democratic senators during Sessions' confirmation last month, during which Senator Dianne Feinstein of California noted the close working relationship Sessions would have with Flynn upon his confirmation as Attorney General, and asked if he would recuse himself from an investigation. "They must be answered truthfully by administration officials, and any attempt to lie or mislead must be countered with the full force of the law", Schumer said. "Every one of these questions should be applied to all them as well".

He said the Senate Intelligence Committee will take the lead on Capitol Hill, but emphasized that it's equally important that "law enforcement get to the bottom of everything that may have transpired here". And the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, can not be the person to lead that investigation.

If Sessions does not, Schumer warned, the "investigation will remain jaundiced and the American people will doubt the credibility of its findings", citing Sesssions's early endorsement of Trump, his work on his presidential campaign and his association with Flynn during that time.

"What I am calling for is an independent investigation".

"Jeff Sessions can not be the person to lead that investigation".

General Flynn's resignation is not the end of the story.

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., said he believed public outcry and constant news coverage of the issue could ensure Republicans also push for an independent investigation. "What I'm trying to do is separate the things that are easy political hits from the substance that we need to deal with".

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