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Trump aide won't say if president still has confidence in Flynn

| Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, 11:35 p.m.
In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump passes Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, left, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as he arrives via Air Force One at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A top White House aide sidestepped repeated chances Sunday, Feb. 12, to publicly defend Flynn following reports that he engaged in conversations with a Russian diplomat about U.S. sanctions before Trump's inauguration.
In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump passes Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, left, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as he arrives via Air Force One at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A top White House aide sidestepped repeated chances Sunday, Feb. 12, to publicly defend Flynn following reports that he engaged in conversations with a Russian diplomat about U.S. sanctions before Trump's inauguration.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration's silence on Michael Flynn continued Sunday as a senior White House official declined to say if the president still has confidence in the national security adviser.

“That's the question that I think you should ask the president, the question you should ask Reince (Priebus), the chief of staff,” Stephen Miller, the White House senior policy adviser, said on NBC's “Meet the Press” when asked whether President Donald Trump still has confidence in Flynn.

Flynn's future with the administration is at issue because of indications that he may have misled his colleagues, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his contacts with the Russian ambassador before Trump's inauguration.

The FBI has been investigating Flynn's contacts with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to multiple news reports. Agents are looking at whether Flynn tried to undermine the Obama administration's move to toughen sanctions against Russia after concluding that it had meddled in the U.S. election.

Flynn had denied discussing sanctions with Kislyak. But Thursday, a Washington Post account, citing nine current or former U.S. officials, contradicted those denials. The Post story a representative of Flynn as backing away from his previous statements, saying that though Flynn “had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up.”

Since the Post published its report, the White House has passed up several opportunities to publicly back Flynn. Trump, asked about the report on Friday, said he was unaware of it.

Shortly after Miller's appearances on “Meet the Press” and ABC's “This Week,” Trump, posting on Twitter, approved of Miller's statements without mentioning Flynn.

Aides to Pence, who had publicly repeated Flynn's denials in a television interview, have signaled the vice president's unhappiness with Flynn. After the Post published its account, a White House official told the newspaper that Pence made his statements based on what Flynn had told him.

Flynn's contacts with Kislyak may not have broken any laws; the relevant one, the Logan Act, which bars private citizens from interfering with U.S. diplomacy, is an 18th century statute that is periodically waved around as a threat, but has never been used for a prosecution.

But if Flynn misled Pence and other colleagues about what he did, that could make his continued presence in the national security job untenable.

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