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WASHINGTON- Today (Wednesday, Feb. 15), the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who Louisiana’s second congressional district, which includes New Orleans, demanded an “extensive” and “independent” investigation into reports that the Trump campaign had repeated and ongoing discussions with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 presidential election.
“The recent reports of repeated and ongoing contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials are deeply disturbing,” Richmond said in a statement.
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned his position earlier in the week after it was revealed that he lied about the nature of his conversation with a Russian diplomat, causing an shake-up in the first few weeks of the Trump administration.
“The White House was told weeks ago that Flynn lied about the nature of his conversations but they said nothing about it until media outlets made the issue public and they left Flynn on the National Security Council even though he was susceptible to Russian blackmail,” Richmond’s statement continues. “Who gave Flynn the directive to talk to the Russian diplomat? This question and others are raised by these reports and they need to be answered. The Congressional Black Caucus demands that an extensive and independent investigation is conducted into these reports, including reports about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Trump Administration ties with Russia. Further, as part of our role as the ‘Conscience of the Congress,’ the Congressional Black Caucus will examine the constitutional and national security questions that these reports raise.
In addition to being the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Richmond is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on the Judiciary.
“National security should be the top priority of the White House. But time after time, the Trump Administration has demonstrated that they do not take this priority seriously. Since they don’t, Congress must,” Richmond said.
Richmond adds his voice as the leader of the CBC to a growing chorus of congressional calls for a full investigation into the matter and concerns about just what Trump knew and when he knew it.
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, has said Flynn’s resignation as National Security Adviser following revelations he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the US before Donald Trump took office raised major concerns secrets may have been traded with the Kremlin.
Calls for investigation have crossed party lines.
According to media reports, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and others have also called for a full investigation within the US Senate. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said a full investigation into Flynn’s discussions with Russian leaders is “highly likely”, according to reports.