President Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has resigned

Posted by Patrick Allen on

Credit To AP-

President Donald Trump's embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night, following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. His departure upends Trump's senior team after less than one month in office.

In a resignation letter, Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition and gave "incomplete information" about those discussions to Vice President Mike Pence. The vice president, apparently relying on information from Flynn, initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, though Flynn later conceded the issue may have come up.

 

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The revelations were another destabilizing blow to an administration that has already suffered a major legal defeat, botched the implementation of a signature policy and stumbled through a string of embarrassing public relations missteps.

Trump on Monday named retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg as the acting national security adviser. Kellogg had previously been appointed the National Security Council chief of staff and advised Trump on national security issues during the campaign. Trump is also considering former CIA Director David Petraeus and Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a U.S. Navy SEAL, for the post, according to a senior administration official.

The Trump team's account of Flynn's discussions with the Russian envoy changed repeatedly over several weeks, including the number of contacts, the dates of those contacts and, ultimately, the content of the conversations.

Last month, the Justice Department warned the Trump administration that Flynn could be in a compromised position as a result of the contradictions between the public depictions of the calls and what intelligence officials knew to be true based on recordings of the conversations, which were picked up as part of routine monitoring of foreign officials communications in the U.S.

An administration official and two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed the Justice Department warnings on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It was unclear when Trump and Pence learned about the Justice Department outreach.

The Washington Post was the first to report the communication between former acting attorney general Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, and the Trump White House.

Even before the Post report, the White House was signaling that Flynn's future was in doubt. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump was "evaluating the situation" and consulting with Pence on Monday about his conversations with the national security adviser.

Asked whether the president had been aware that Flynn might have discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, Spicer said, "No, absolutely not."

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Trump, who comments on a steady stream of issues on his Twitter feed, had been conspicuously silent about the matter since The Washington Post reported last week that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy. A U.S. official told The Associated Press that Flynn was in frequent contact with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the day the Obama administration slapped sanctions on Russia for election-related hacking, as well as at other times during the transition.

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