Updated at 3:15 p.m. with comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and further comments from Blunt.
WASHINGTON • Sen. Roy Blunt on Tuesday said the Senate Intelligence Committee should call Michael Flynn to testify in its ongoing probe of connections between Russia and the Trump administration.
Blunt's comments came in the wake of Flynn’s resignation as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
Blunt told McGraw Milhaven’s KTRS radio program in St. Louis that “I think everybody needs that investigation to happen."
Blunt said he believed Flynn was not truthful, and needed to go. Blunt also said he hoped the committee investigation into Russian connections would be exhaustive and would call Flynn to testify. Blunt serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The committee "has been given the principle responsibility to look into this, and I think that we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonders whether there was a stone left unturned, and shouldn't reach conclusions before you have the information that you need to have to make those conclusions,” he told KTRS.
But the committee meets in secret, and some Democratic lawmakers are calling for public hearings and a specific probe into Flynn. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a member of the Intelligence Committee, told reporters a probe of Russian influence in the U.S. is "more urgent than ever."
Flynn quit late Monday after acknowledging he had given “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations Flynn had had in late December with the Russian ambassador to the United States about U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia. Flynn had told Pence the sanctions were not discussed, and Pence had repeated that assurance in interviews. Flynn apologized to Pence and Trump in his letter of resignation.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump asked Flynn to resign because a "critical mass" had developed questioning Flynn's truthfulness.
Flynn's resignation was "not a legal issue, but rather a trust issue," Spicer said.
"As I understand this, Gen. Flynn misled the Vice President, and that's just unacceptable in that job," Blunt said in remarks later in the day.
Some news outlets Tuesday characterized Blunt’s call as new, but in the interview he said he was re-affirming the need to continue a thorough and timely investigation that had already been ordered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“The senator pointed out that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been tasked by Leader McConnell to look into this issue and the committee continues to look into it,” Brian Hart, Blunt’s communications director, said. “This isn’t a call for a new investigation beyond what they are already looking into. “
Blunt told the radio station that “I would think that we should talk to Gen. Flynn very soon and that should answer a lot of questions.
“What did he know? What did he do?” Blunt said. “And is there any reason to believe that anybody else knew that and didn't take the kind of action they should have taken?"
McConnell later told reporters it was "highly likely" the ongoing probe would look into Flynn's discussions with the Russian ambassador.
Blunt told the radio station that this is not likely to be the first early resignation of the Trump cabinet, saying that "everybody thinks that job (president) is easy, and they're like the first people that ever figured it out before they get there — only to find out that it is a really, it is a really tough place.
“This is sort of the first change — and won’t be the last change this year either, I wouldn’t think.”
Blunt also said he would not have a problem with David Petraeus becoming the next national security advisor.
Petraeus, who was given two years’ probation and fined $100,000 in 2015 for leaking national security information to his mistress, is one of several names being mentioned as Flynn’s replacement.
“He’s very smart,” Blunt said. “I’d feel like the president was getting good advice if he decided to make that decision. But there are a number of other good choices, and I think that they might turn out to be a better choice than Gen. Flynn may have been, even without this problem.”
Adam Aton of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed some information for this article.
Chuck Raasch • 202-298-6880
@craasch on Twitter