Michael Flynn quits as national security adviser
Michael Flynn resigns after he misled senior officials about secret communications with Russia
Flynn was a loyal Trump supporter throughout the campaign, but his ties to Russia caused concern among other senior aides
Michael Flynn has resigned as national security adviser over his contact with Russian officials before US President Donald Trump took office.
His resignation on Tuesday followed reports a day earlier that the Justice Department warned the Trump administration weeks ago that such ties could leave him in a compromised position.
It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.
“I inadvertently briefed the Vice President elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador. I have sincerely apoloigized to the President and the Vice President and they have accepted my apology,” Flynn wrote in his official resignation letter.
“I am tendering my resignation, 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.”
Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general, was named as acting national security adviser in Flynn’s place, the White House said.
Flynn’s departure less than one month into the Trump administration marks an extraordinarily early shakeup in the president’s senior team of advisers.
Flynn was a loyal Trump supporter throughout the campaign, but his ties to Russia caused concern among other senior aides.
Flynn initially told Trump advisers that he did not discuss sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, during the transition.
Vice President Mike Pence, apparently relying on information from Flynn, publicly vouched for the national security adviser.
Flynn later told White House officials that he may have discussed sanctions with the ambassador.
A US official on Monday told The Associated Press that Flynn was in frequent contact with 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 he 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.