The day after General Michael Flynn's resignation on Feb 13, James Risch of the Senate Intelligence Committee was asked by #Judy Woodruff on the "PBS NewsHour" if there would be an investigation after the discovery that Flynn called a Russian ambassador, and later deceived Vice-President Mike Pence. His initial response was just like that of other Republicans who had been confronted with the question, saying that they would include it with an ongoing investigation they're “already” working on through the same committee.
Since Flynn's resignation, there has been disagreement as to what any investigation should cover as the debate among Republicans and Democrats is whether the narrative is over Trump's ties to Russia, the deception of Mike Pence or the leaks that exposed them as Blasting News reported.
She asked if the investigation would include what General Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador about, which was reportedly the lifting of sanctions imposed on them by the U.S.
Republican Senator denies already factual discovery
Senator Risch would not say that they would. He only said they would follow it for as far as it would take them but already, the majority of Republicans have said that the issue was not over the fact that Flynn has spoken with Russia about sanctions, but that he had undermined the Vice-President and others as pointed out in the mentioned Blasting News article.
She then asked if the President's handling of the ordeal would be investigated - recalling that he had known for weeks before he apparently did anything about it. But some did not accept the fact that Trump's knowledge of this was true, which goes against all reports which revealed it was the case. This is quoted from the "PBS Newshour" segment.
“You know that's a fact that I've seen reported today, I don't have any independent knowledge that that actually occurred.”
Senator Risch appears too timid to investigate
Already, Risch's denial is a willingness to not act on something that is right in front of him. This was confirmed with Woodruff's retort that even the #White House press secretary Spicer had said in the briefing that the President had known for weeks.
One would think that a Republican would go ahead and act through what the press secretary who represents the president for their own party is saying. But it wasn't until after this that Risch was forced to accept that it was a fact.
But even more, the last half of Risch's initial response to her question about Trump's knowledge of Flynn's call was with how they would limit their own investigation on the matter, which was a complete reversal of “taking it as far as they can take it,” the distance he had just said they would go in the same interview. He said that because the White House is an independent branch of government that there were certain areas they would not go into. He also said that those there should be an understanding of confidentiality and they would not go into areas they couldn't reach in the White House heirarchy.
Risch's conflicting statements
Everything James Risch said about an investigation on the White House was as to how difficult it would be to investigate. But he even said that if the facts showed that there were reasons to conduct an investigation, they would. However, his statement conflicts with what had just taken place in the interview where he wouldn't accept facts until he was forced to before a persistent Judy Woodruff, which throws into question, just how much of an investigation would their "investigation" on the White House be?
The interview with Risch took place before The New York Times reported that evening that Trump's campaign aides were in touch with "Russian intelligence." But well into Wednesday, the view continued to be that the leaks were the problem and not the administration's potential ties with Russia. Here is Judy Woodruff's interview with the Republican senator and an opposition Democrat.