Things You Need to Know About Trump's Russia Problem

There have been reports Trump was not happy with his chief of staff Reince Priebus, the former Republican party boss, which the president disputed vigorously on Monday telling reporters he - Priebus - was doing "not a good job, a great job". But then came the revelation that national security adviser Michael Flynn talked to Russian officials when he shouldn't have and then lied about it to vice president Mike Pence.

The White House has not responded to follow-up questions about what the "series of other questionable instances" were. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hinted that he is open to the possibility of an independent commission into Russia's meddling in US affairs, including allegations that it had interfered with the presidential election, and said that the Flynn scandal had provoked a "desire for this to happen at a quickened pace".

The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls.

The Kremlin spokesman added that the relevant media reports cited five different sources "but not one of them is identified, which is just ridiculous".

Manafort denied having talked to Russians known to U.S. intelligence. As for Flynn, he already admitted to having lied about his dealings with the Russians earlier this week.

Trump on Wednesday took swipes at the intelligence community for "illegally" leaking information to "failing" newspaper outlets.

Netanyahu also signaled a much warmer relationship with Trump than with his predecessor.

American intelligence agencies began investigating potential ties between the teams after discovering evidence that Russian Federation was attempting to hack into the Democratic National Committee (DNC), according to the sources.

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Facing backlash over his comments, Trump doubled down on past claims that he "doesn't know Putin".

"Somehow, the media is responsible for treating Flynn unfairly, but the president was the one who fired him", Schiff told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

But the press secretary insisted Gen Flynn had stepped down over a "matter of trust" rather than a legal issue.

A US official confirmed a Washington Post report that Sally Yates, the then-acting USA attorney general, told the White House late last month that she believed Flynn had misled them about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Spicer said Flynn has not resigned. Instead he only broke the trust of his bosses.

Pence and Trump aides, relying on information from Flynn, said publicly that Flynn had not discussed lifting the sanctions, which are still in place.

Republican Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Corker (R-TN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Cornyn (R-TX) also expressed support for investigating Flynn's conversations with Kislyak.

"When it comes to Russian Federation, we want to make sure it's clear that the administration lay out lines that we will not cross", said Gardner, citing Moscow's actions in Syria, Ukraine and global cyberattacks, "including the USA during the election". Did Trump know about this particular chat at the time it happened?

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