Russian lawmakers blame US ‘paranoia’ for Michael Flynn’s resignation
Several senior Russian MPs have denied that Russia played any role in the recent resignation of US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, saying that the scandal was a provocation targeting Russia-US relations.
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Tuesday that he saw no “Russian trace” in Flynn’s resignation.
Leonid Slutskiy, the head of State Duma Committee for International Relations, said he has reasons to believe that Trump’s former adviser resigned due to external pressure.
“Under these circumstances, my conclusion is that the real target in this scheme is Russian-American relations and the general trust in the new administration,” Slutskiy said.
“This situation is a negative signal for arranging Russian-American dialogue. It is obvious that Flynn had to submit his resignation under certain pressure. But President Trump accepted it. The chosen pretext was Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador, even though this is normal diplomatic practice,” he noted.
Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Upper House Committee for International Relations, noted that Flynn’s resignation testifies to the fact that certain US politicians are prone to anti-Russia paranoia and, at the same time, are trying to make life difficult for Donald Trump.
“Hawks in Washington see even simple willingness for dialogue with the Russians as a thought crime (in the words of the immortal G. Orwell). To drive a national security adviser into resignation for his contacts with the Russian ambassador (a common diplomatic practice) is more than paranoia, it is something immeasurably worse,” Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
“It is either Trump has not achieved the sought-after independence and he is being persistently and successfully driven into a corner, or the new administration has been hit by Russophobia, from top to bottom.“
Senator Aleksei Pushkov expressed a similar opinion. “Flynn is leaving but Russian problem stays in Trump’s White House. The purging of Flynn was just the first act, now Trump himself becomes the target,” Pushkov wrote on Twitter.
“Flynn was purged not because of some blunder, but because of an ongoing aggressive campaign. The newspapers are calling for ‘Russians out!’ This is paranoid and this is a witch hunt,” he wrote.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, however, refused to comment on Flynn’s resignation on Tuesday, saying it is an internal US issue.
Trump accepted Michael Flynn’s resignation on Monday – the official reason being Flynn’s phone conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, and the fact that Flynn had, in his own words, “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with the incomplete information” about the calls.