Donald Trump was warned weeks back by the Justice Department about Michael Flynn. The White House was notified about the risk of appointing Flynn as the national security adviser, since he might be vulnerable to blackmail. The warning about Flynn’s Russia connections was issued before President Trump took office.
The revelation comes from an official from the Justice Department. The official also confirmed an earlier report that then-acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House in January that Flynn had misled the department about the nature of communication he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. The official also said that Yates warned the White House that Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail. She expressed concern about the possibility of Flynn being in a compromising position to Russia.
POTUS Trump Names Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. as Acting National Security Advisor-Accepts Resignation of Lt. General Michael Flynn pic.twitter.com/hrHNuefNe3
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 14, 2017
Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice for the extremely sensitive position, has been inconsistent in his statements. Earlier, he was confident that he did not discuss sanctions with Russian officials. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence defended his appointment based on the argument. However, Flynn started being doubtful about the kind of discussions he had with Russian officials. He said he could not remember if he discussed sanctions. According to reports, Pence felt cheated about Flynn’s acknowledgment. Later on, President Trump was reported to have been “evaluating the situation.”
In a dramatic turn of events, Michael Flynn has now resigned. Reports say he submitted his resignation on Monday night. In his resignation, Flynn acknowledged that he “inadvertently” gave incomplete information to Pence about his discussion with the Russian ambassador. He lauded Trump, Pence and the administration. According to him, the Trump administration “will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in US history.” His job lasted less than a month.
Despite Yates’ warning about Michael Flynn, Donald Trump went on to appoint him for the top post. Yates, who had been appointed by then-President Barack Obama, was fired last week after she refused to follow Trump’s executive order about a travel ban. The ban stops people from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States. The acting attorney general was fired soon after her statement. The White House accused her of “betraying” the department. It also called Yates “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
Meanwhile, Flynn’s resignation makes a lot of people at the White House unhappy. The resignation also leaves Trump without one of the most experienced security advisers in his team. Trump is often criticized for his lack of experience in politics, especially in foreign affairs. He is believed to have chosen experienced officials like Flynn to help him run an effective government. According to CNN, Gen. Keith Kellogg is going to be the interim national security adviser. Other possible replacements for Flynn are former Vice Admiral Bob Harward and retired Gen. David Petraeus.
For Michael Flynn, Donald Trump has always been the choice for the president. He has been one of the early supporters of the real estate mogul turned politician. On the other hand, the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general is also known for trying to convince Trump to better relations with Russia. Reuters refers to a U.S. official who claims that Flynn “did discuss sanctions” with the Russian ambassador. Flynn’s discussion with Kislyak is presently under review. The official suggests that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, which prevents private citizens from engaging in foreign policy.
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