Flynn Resigns As National Security Adviser After Russian Blackmail Rumors
President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night after he reportedly lied about his contact with Russia's ambassador to the US.
Earlier Monday, outlets had reported former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, whom Trump fired after she refused to defend his immigrant ban, warned the White House General Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Yates and the Justice Department expressed their worries about Flynn's relationship with his Russian contacts in late January.
Flynn allegedly lied to Vice President Mike Pence, which led Pence to defend him in television interviews.
Flynn told Pence he did not discuss US sanctions against Russia with Russian officials just weeks before Trump's inauguration.
Now, Flynn says he may or may not have discussed the sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and he was unable to remember if those conversations were had without a doubt.
Pence felt misled, leading Flynn to apologize to the vice president twice.
On Monday afternoon, the counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Trump had "full confidence" in Flynn. However, just a few minutes later, Press Secretary Sean Spicer read the following statement:
The president is evaluating the situation. He's speaking to Vice President Pence relative to the conversation the vice president had with General Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: our national security.
According to the Associated Press, two people warned the Trump administration about Flynn's contacts with Russia and their concern he could be in a "compromised position."
Flynn supported Trump throughout his campaign.
Naturally, this can be seen as a huge shakeup for Trump's senior team of advisers, who have not yet made it a full month in the White House.
While under the Obama administration, James R. Clapper Jr., who was the director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the CIA director at the time, agreed with Yates that Trump's White House should know about Flynn.
They also believed Pence should know Flynn misled him.
A senior Trump administration official said they were aware and they've "been working on this for weeks."
Following Flynn's resignation, Trump has named Lieutenant General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. as acting national security adviser.
Here is the full text of Flynn's resignation letter:
February 13, 2017 In the course of my duties as the incoming National Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the President, his advisors and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude. Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology. Throughout my over thirty three years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States. I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way. I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America's leadership position in the world. As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency. I know with the strong leadership of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S. history, and I firmly believe the American people will be well served as they all work together to help Make America Great Again. Michael T. Flynn, LTG (Ret) Assistant to the President/National Security Advisor