FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2014, file photo, then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump's national security adviser Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

 

WASHINGTON (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.

Trump 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.

The Justice Department warned the Trump administration weeks ago that contradictions between the public depictions and the actual details of the calls could leave Flynn in a compromised position, an administration official and two other people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press Monday night.

One person with knowledge of the situation said the Justice Department alerted the White House that there was a discrepancy between what officials were saying publicly about the contacts and the facts of what had occurred. Pence — apparently relying on information from Flynn — initially said sanctions were not discussed in the calls, though Flynn has now told White House officials that the topic may have come up.

A second official said the Justice Department was concerned Flynn could be in a compromised position as a result.

The White House has been aware of the Justice Department warnings for “weeks,” an administration official said, though it was unclear whether Trump and Pence had been alerted.

The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The Washington Post was the first to report the communication between the Justice Department, including former acting attorney general Sally Yates, and the Trump administration.

Flynn apologized to Pence last week, following a Washington Post report asserting that the national security adviser has indeed discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump was consulting with Pence on Monday about his conversations with the national security adviser. Asked whether the president had been aware that Flynn might discuss sanctions with the Russian envoy, Spicer said, “No, absolutely not.”

Trump, who comments on a steady stream of issues on his Twitter feed, has 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.

Flynn’s discussions with the Russian raised questions about whether Flynn offered assurances about the incoming administration’s new approach. Such conversations would breach diplomatic protocol and possibly violate the Logan Act, a law aimed at keeping citizens from conducting diplomacy.

Earlier Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Trump had “full confidence” in Flynn, though her assertions were not backed up by other senior Trump aides. Spicer would say only that Flynn was continuing to carry out “his daily functions.”

Flynn was spotted near the Oval Office just after 10 p.m. Monday. Amid the uncertainty over Flynn’s future, several of the president’s top advisers, including chief of staff Reince Priebus and counsel Don McGahn, ducked in and out of late-night meetings in the West Wing.

Several House Democrats called on Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to launch an investigation into Flynn’s ties to Russia. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called for Flynn to be fired, saying he “cannot be trusted not to put Putin before America.”

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said that if Pence were misled, “I can’t imagine he would have trust in Gen. Flynn going forward.” She said it would also be “troubling” if Flynn had been negotiating with a foreign government before taking office.

It’s illegal for private citizens to conduct U.S. diplomacy. Flynn’s conversations also raise questions about Trump’s friendly posture toward Russia after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Moscow hacked Democratic emails during the election.

The controversy comes as Trump and his top advisers seek to steady the White House after a rocky start. The president, who seeks input from a wide range of business associates, friends and colleagues, has been asking people their opinions on his senior team, including Spicer and Priebus.

Advisers have privately conceded that the White House spit out too many disparate messages in the first few weeks, though they also note that the president’s own tweets sometimes muddy the day’s plans before most of the White House staff has arrived for work.

Trump voiced support for Priebus Monday, saying the chief of staff was doing, “not a good job, a great job.” But he did not make a similar show of support for his national security adviser.

Flynn sat in the front row of Trump’s news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier Monday. The president did not receive a question about Flynn’s future from the two reporters who were called upon, and he ignored journalists’ shouted follow-up inquiries as he left the room.

Over the weekend, Trump told associates he was troubled by the situation, but did not say whether he planned to ask Flynn to step down, according to a person who spoke with him recently. Flynn was a loyal Trump supporter during the campaign, but he is viewed skeptically by some in the administration’s national security circles, in part because of his ties to Russia.

In 2015, Flynn was paid to attend a gala dinner for Russia Today, a Kremlin-backed television station, and sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the event.

Flynn spoke with the vice president about the matter twice on Friday, according to an administration official. The official said Pence was relying on information from Flynn when he went on television and denied that sanctions were discussed with Kislyak.

The administration officials and those who spoke with the president recently were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.

The controversy surrounding Flynn comes as the young administration grapples with a series of national security challenges, including North Korea’s reported ballistic missile launch. The president, who was joined at his Mar-a-Lago estate by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the weekend, voiced solidarity with Japan.

The White House is also dealing with fallout from the rocky rollout of Trump’s immigration executive order, which has been blocked by the courts. The order was intended to suspend the nation’s refugee program and bar citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Catherine Lucey and Matthew Daly in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.

PHOTO: AP

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18 thoughts on “National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Has Resigned

  1. Honestly on said:

    Get those lying and treasonist cave n!@@ers out of the white house. They have sold this country out. They should have never been let out of the caves of Europe.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    Wher’uat Chris? PJ, other trolls? Come out here and defend your party. And don’t say anything about Prez O. just comment on what this nincompoop has done. Betrayed his country, that’s right he’s a white trader who had a little bit of power and it went to his dumb ass head. They locked the lil 20 y.o. black girl up for betraying her country how about we lock Flynn’s ass up as well.
    Where is the outrage? Had this happened on Prez O’s watch we would never hear the end of it, see this is that bullshit! The redumblicans can’t stop talking about Benghazi, I hope those dumb ass dems don’t let them get away with this.

  3. Jose’ what say you? Prez O fired this lying ass POS and your boy picked him up, what’s up with that? Why aren’t the redumplicans jumping all over this like they did Hillary’s email? And to top it off your boy Flynn was one of the ring leaders hollering “Lock her up!” when it came to Hillary. What is he saying now?

    • Flynn communicated with the Russians before Trump was Inaugurated and Flynn was not yet in the position of NSA Flynn lied to VP then elect Pence Hil-lier-ry lied to congress and FBI

      • No she didn’t regardless of the false claims. If she lied she would have been jailed. Your prez lies daily.

        So does his lackeys. They are a disgrace, and so are u

      • specialt757 on said:

        @Jose’
        Surely you’re not suggesting being a trader to your country is better than the botched emails scandal your guys “created”. Boy please you sound foolish as usual.

      • Your equating dereliction of duty negligence resulting in the death of follow Americans
        A simple email scandal and I believe FBI director Comey considered it a lie
        While you consider Flynn discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador rises to the level of Treason? As usual you’ve just stepped back into the world of Bat shit Crazy

    • 8 yo’s no scandal? what are you and Nancy Polosi on the same meds? Obama had 14 cabinet members ether resign or be fired (Sheryl Sherrod, Kathleen Sibelius) not to mention Fist and Furious that cost law enforcement agents their lives, Hillery’s Benghazi debacle

      • Fast and furious started under dumbya. You always want to blame the blk man. Sherrie Sherrod was fake news from bright fart. Gtfooh

      • Please, this is a seems to be more serious and dealing with Russia. You want to talk about Benghazi, heck look what just happen with the soldier and the little girl killed under Trump. At least with the things you listed, it took a while, Trump has not been President a month and nonsense is going crazy.

      • It was not F&F under Bush which ONLY tracked drug traffickers under Obama’s AG Holder
        It was escalated to providing said traffickers with hi-powered weapons which ultimately wound up being used in the murder of border patrol agents, seems Obama doesn’t want Americans owning guns but he’s happy to supply them to criminals
        Amber stop getting your information from the comedy show Benghazi cost 4 lives
        As they begged then Sec Clinton for more security personnel
        Which BTW Obamas incompetence caused the collapse of Libya in the first place

  4. The SNAKE rots at the head and through out. Donald trump knw about the conversations he had with the Russians. The shit will come out.

  5. This ” so called prez ” needs to resign. All the millions who voted for this shit, they own it. This bitch ass congress better investigate this shit today. I’m calling my congressmen today. They better Treat this shit like they treated Hilary’s e mails. Enough, is enough.

    • specialt757 on said:

      Right Diane, this is not even the first they’ve heard of this. Flynn isn’t in this by himself, but he will be used as the scapegoat. They knew! They all knew! This whole administration is a disgrace and big ass joke, including the orange ringleader himself the liar-in-chief #trumpliesmatter!

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