Flynn’s ouster leads to more chaos in Trump world

Politico reports: The resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn did little to calm the chaos at the White House, where staff spent Tuesday scrambling to deflect blame for the rising scandal about Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials — including who knew what about the conversations and when.

Other ongoing controversies intruded on the White House’s ability to impose its own narrative on the Flynn situation, adding to the sense of confusion in President Donald Trump’s Washington.

Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub released a letter recommending that the White House investigate Kellyanne Conway and consider disciplinary action against her for encouraging the public to buy clothes from the line marketed by Ivanka Trump, the president’s oldest daughter, after Nordstrom stopped carrying it.

Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have been hesitant to chastise the new administration, also began asserting some distance from the president. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a request to the White House on Tuesday for answers about security protocols at Mar-a-Lago and details about potentially sensitive documents after club members photographed the president and senior staff reading on the club’s dining terrace Saturday.

And Senate Republicans called for investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf. Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) left the door open to supporting an independent investigative commission, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared to support the idea of requiring Flynn to testify before committee investigations. “What I’d like to know is, did Gen. Flynn make this phone call by himself? If he was directed, by who?” Graham asked. “Did they try to engage the Russians before they were in office? Was this part of a continuing pattern between the Trump people and Russia?”

White House staff seemed disorganized in their response to the crises.

For the second time in less than a day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer contradicted statements from others in the White House. He told reporters at Tuesday’s daily press briefing that Trump demanded Flynn’s resignation, whereas senior administration officials said Monday night that Flynn decided to step down on his own. [Continue reading…]

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