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White House Not Defending Flynn Over Russia Allegations

White House officials on Feb. 13 have refused to defend National Security Adviser Michael Flynn amid speculation he could be removed from his post.

Flynn is accused of discussing U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump took office, USA Today reported.

If true, this would be a violation of a longstanding law barring private citizens from conducting diplomacy on behalf of the U.S.

Flynn acknowledged speaking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak but initially alleged the conversation had only included generalities. He was defended by Vice President Mike Pence, among others.

On Feb. 10, a report suggested that Flynn may have discussed the sanctions and he admitted that he could not remember for certain if he had done so.

Flynn subsequently apologized to Pence, who was reportedly troubled that he had been misled previously by Flynn.

"This administration has exhausted its excuses," Democratic Minority House Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement, USA Today reported. "[Russian President] Vladimir Putin's grip on President Trump must be investigated, exposed and broken. National security demands that General Flynn be fired immediately."

Trump was asked by reporters on Feb. 13 to comment on Flynn's position, but refused to do so.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer read out an official statement noting that Trump was speaking to "various other people" about the issue of national security.

No further questions were asked about the matter at a joint press conference held by Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Flynn is only the latest close adviser whose credibility has been questioned. While it appears as though Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway's position is safe, The Guardian reported that doubts are increasing about the future of Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff.

"It's my view that Reince is the problem. I think on paper Reince looked good as the chief of staff  -- and Donald trusted him -- but it's pretty clear the guy is in way over his head," Chris Ruddy, chief executive of conservative news organization Newsmax and a Trump confidant, told The Washington Post.

Priebus has been targeted in particular for his handling of Trump's executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"He's not knowledgeable of how federal agencies work, how the communications operations work. He botched this whole immigration rollout. This should've been a win for Donald, not two or three weeks of negative publicity," added Ruddy.

Sources: USA Today, The Guardian, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Donald J. Trump/Facebook

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