Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor abruptly resigned his post Monday night after it emerged that the Justice Department told the White House it believed he could be subject to blackmail.
Initially President Trump and his administration seemed willing to keep Michael Flynn, even after he misled then-Vice President-Elect Mike Pence and other senior officials about a conversation with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Pence repeated the information on national television. This occurred prior to the Trump administration taking office.
“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,” Flynn said in his resignation letter.
But The Washington Post is reporting that the acting attorney general informed the Trump Administration that Flynn was potentially subject to Russian blackmail.
The message was delivered by Sally Yates, the acting attorney general. It was prompted by concerns that Flynn told Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama Administration’s sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 election – when that’s exactly what they talked about.
The Hill: DOJ warned Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail: reports
Reuters: Trump national security aide Flynn resigns over Russian contacts
Breitbart: Michael Flynn Resigns As National Security Advisor
Flynn “put himself in a compromising position, outgoing Obama officials concluded, and thought that Pence had a right to know he had been misled.”
In a Feb. 8 interview with The Washington Post, Flynn categorically denied discussing sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, repeating public assertions made in January by top Trump officials. One day after the interview, Flynn revised his account, telling The Post through a spokesman that he “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca) thanked Flynn for his many years of distinguished service.
“Michael Flynn served in the U.S. military for more than three decades. Washington, D.C. can be a rough town for honorable people, and Flynn — who has always been a soldier, not a politician — deserves America’s gratitude and respect for dedicating so much of his life to strengthening our national security,” Nunes said in a statement.
But the committee’s ranking Democrat, California’s Adam Schiff, said Flynn’s resignation was all but ordained the day he misled the country.
“In fact, Flynn was always a poor choice for National Security Adviser, a role in which you need to be a consensus builder, and possess sobriety and steady judgment,” Schiff said in a statement. “It is certainly no role for someone who plays fast and loose with the truth.”
Retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg, a top policy adviser for Trump’s campaign, was appointed acting national security adviser, the White House said.