WASHINGTON — The stunning resignation of Michael T. Flynn as White House national security adviser has emboldened congressional Democrats to demand a broader investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia — and compelled a small group of leading Republicans to acknowledge growing concerns over the episode.
“It’s dysfunctional as far as national security is concerned,” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said of the Trump White House. “Who’s in charge? Who’s in charge? Who’s making policy? Who’s making decisions?”
While many Republican lawmakers remained largely silent on Tuesday about the deep turmoil in Mr. Trump’s national security apparatus, some allowed that further inquiry might be necessary, to a point.
Republican leadership in the Senate said that it was likely that Mr. Flynn would be asked to speak to the Intelligence Committee, which is looking into Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2016 election, and that his discussions with the Russian ambassador would probably be folded into the review.
But there still appeared to be little momentum for a select committee to investigate Russian interference — an idea that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has long resisted.
Few Republicans in Congress lamented Mr. Flynn’s departure from the administration, crediting Mr. Trump for hastening his resignation, despite reports that White House officials knew for weeks that Mr. Flynn had misled colleagues.
“I think it’s pretty obvious why he decided to make the decision he did,” Mr. McConnell said of Mr. Trump.
At the same time, in a striking role reversal, the party long known for its universally hawkish stance toward Russia is now ceding some of that ground to Democrats.
On Tuesday, Democrats tried to make it clear that Mr. Flynn’s resignation must be only the first chapter in the story of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
“The crisis here rises above party,” said the Democratic leader in the Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, calling for an “independent, nonpartisan” investigation and insisting that Jeff Sessions, the new attorney general who was active in Mr. Trump’s campaign alongside Mr. Flynn, recuse himself from any review.