Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffTop Intelligence Dem: Trump "was OK with Flynn being dishonest" Dems: "Crazy" to trust GOP to investigate Flynn Dems press White House counsel on Flynn firing MORE (D-Calif.) criticized Trump and his administration for blaming the press for Flynn's departure. Reports based on leaks said "knives were out for him" and that his position was being reviewed.
Mr Trump repeated his claim that the reports were linked to Ms Clinton's performance in the presidential election at a news conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu later describing the leaks as "a criminal action, a criminal act".
Meanwhile, Trump has named retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg as the acting national security adviser.
In an earlier article, the New York Times cited unnamed current and former United States officials as saying that members of Trump's election campaign had had contacts with senior Russian intelligence officers. Trump tweeted angrily Wednesday that The New York Times and Washington Post got information "illegally". Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that classified information was being given out "like candy".
On Tuesday, Spicer confirmed in a press briefing that Trump had been told more than two weeks before that Flynn had not told the truth about what was discussed during the calls.
Flynn acknowledged speaking to the ambassador then but denied discussing the sanctions.
Flynn apologized privately for the controversy to Vice President Mike Pence, according to a White House official.
It has also been reported that the American officials became aware of these contacts at roughly the same time when they learned that Russian Federation had hacked into the Democratic National Committee, according to a report by The New York Times.
Flynn spoke to Ambassador Sergey I Kislyak on the very day that President Barack Obama imposed new sanctions on Russian Federation. Flynn's 24-day tenure as national security adviser was the shortest in history - half the average lifespan of a female mosquito.
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An hour before Spicer read his statement, Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump's closest aides, had told reporters that Flynn had the full confidence of the president.
The president already has questioned the sourcing of media reports, particularly concerning Flynn.
Rather said the revelations now coming out about the Trump organization's contacts with Russian officials could build the same kind of cascading pressure that made it impossible for Nixon to stay in office. As early as last week, he and aides began making contingency plans for Flynn's dismissal, a senior administration official said.
All of these concerns over the Trump administration's ties to Russia come after the president himself has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, much to the dismay of politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Flynn maintains that no lines were crossed in his conversations with Russian Federation.
Republican Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Corker (R-TN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Cornyn (R-TX) also expressed support for investigating Flynn's conversations with Kislyak. Pence learned about the Justice Department warnings to the White House around the same time.
The officials and others with knowledge of the situation were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and requested anonymity.
Flynn told Vice President Mike Pence (and reportedly FBI investigators) that he hadn't talked about sanctions with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Leading members of the US Republican Party have joined calls for a wide investigation into the former national security adviser's links with Russian Federation.