Dear Commons Community,
Michael Flynn resigned yesterday as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn’s status was considered perilous after it was disclosed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior officials about his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, a senior U.S. official told NBC News. As reported by NBC and other media:
Flynn’s resignation (see letter below) came after a tumultuous few days of revelations about his ties to Russia and his role in attempting to ease sanctions that were put in place weeks before the Trump administration took office.
In late December, President Barack Obama announced the sanctions, which included the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence operatives, in response to Russian interference in the November election designed to help Trump win.
Flynn at first denied that he had discussed the sanctions when he spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He said the conversations concerned setting up a phone call between Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin and offering condolences after the murder of a Russian diplomat in Turkey.
But following a Washington Post report ― based partially on transcripts of the conversations ― Flynn’s office revised his earlier statements, and said that he couldn’t recall whether the topic of sanctions had come up. On Monday night, the plot thickened, with The Washington Post reporting that top officials at the Department of Justice warned the Trump administration weeks ago that Flynn might have been compromised by Russian influences and The New York Times reporting that the Army had investigated whether Flynn received payments from the Russian government in 2015.
Flynn, like Trump, has advocated a closer relationship with Russia as an ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism. He appeared at an awards dinner honoring the Kremlin-sponsored RT network in 2015, at which he was seated beside Putin.
It was also reported that retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg Jr. will serve as acting national security advisor until a full-time replacement is named. Kellogg, as well as Vice Adm. Robert Harward and retired Gen. David Petraeus are the three candidates in line to succeed Flynn, according to the administration.
It appears we are having some turmoil in the White House!