White House press secretary Sean Spicer today would not confirm that President Donald Trump has confidence in his national security adviser Michael Flynn, and said that the president is still “evaluating the situation.”
In a statement, Spicer contradicted the comments made by another senior aide, Kellyanne Conway, who just hours earlier had said that the president remained confident in Flynn. The mixed signals come amid growing concerns about whether Flynn communicated with Russian officials about sanctions before Trump took office and caused Vice President Mike Pence to mislead the public about those conversations.
“He’s speaking to Vice President Pence relative to the conversation the Vice President had with Gen. Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: our national security,” Spicer said.
Earlier in the day, Conway, the counselor to the president, said that Flynn “does enjoy the full confidence of the president, in an appearance on MSNBC on Monday.
Conway’s comments come a day after another White House official, Stephen Miller, declined to say whether the retired general still had Trump’s confidence.
“It’s not for me to tell you what’s in the president’s mind,” Miller said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”
The Washington Post reported last week that Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia in conversations before Trump took office.
Pence appeared on national television in January backing up Flynn’s claim that his conversations did not touch on the sanctions. But in recent days, Flynn has acknowledged that he may have communicated with the ambassador about sanctions during the transition, despite the White House’s denials.
Conway said Flynn and Pence spoke twice Friday after the Post story was published, one time by phone and the other in person. She would not say whether Flynn apologized to the vice president.
Flynn spent the weekend at the president’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida with Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Seeking to dispel rumors that Flynn’s ouster could be imminent, Conway emphasized that he remained a key part of the president staff.
There are “a lot of significant things happening with our commander in chief, and obviously General Flynn is a part of all of those,” Conway said.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Abby Phillip