Donald Trump’s 24th day as president of the United States has ended with the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, multiple sources tell CNN.
The resignation comes just after reports of the Justice Department informing the White House a month ago of Flynn’s communication with the Russian ambassador to the United States. CNN adds that Flynn’s talks led many to believe he could be “vulnerable to blackmail” by Russia.
Just last night, Trump’s close aide Kellyanne Conway said that Flynn had the “full confidence of the President,” per Sky News. However, just hours before Flynn resigned, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the president was “evaluating the situation.”
If this is true, it means Flynn wasn’t forced to resign for lying, he was forced to resign because it leaked to the press he was lying. pic.twitter.com/AqfzgTENRE
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) February 14, 2017
Acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates — who was fired by Trump last month for refusing to enforce the president’s executive order to uphold his travel ban — was among the high-ranking personnel to brief the White House on Flynn’s ties to Russia last month.
Flynn’s talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak led many senior officials to believe they were “illegal and inappropriate,” according to the Washington Post.
A U.S. official confirmed to CNN last week that Flynn and Kislyak discussed the sanction, showing that Flynn misled the administration about the nature of his calls.
Flynn’s departure makes him one of the shortest tenured advisers in modern history. Flynn, 58, was one of Trump’s closest advisers during the election in terms of foreign policy and security matters, CNN notes. Keith Kellogg is one of several rumored names to possibly man Flynn’s post as national security adviser.
Despite the mountain of evidence surrounding Flynn, the Trump administration repeatedly refuted all the claims. Vice president Mike Pence told CBS News last month that Flynn’s dialogue with the Russians did not cover the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration last December in regards to the country’s interference with the election.
“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence said.
However, Pence went on to change his story to say that he “couldn’t be certain the topic didn’t come up”.
Breaking: text of Flynn’s resignation letter pic.twitter.com/KGue1cJFzL
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 14, 2017
Late last week, Flynn received little in the way of help from the White House; White House policy director Stephen Miller made several media appearances yesterday and reinforced that he’s not the right person to ask about Flynn’s talks with Russia or if he misled
“I don’t have any answers today,” Miller said. “I don’t have any information one way or another to add anything to the conversation.”
Early Monday afternoon, Trump welcomed Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to the White House. Trump and Trudeau discussed several topics, including jobs, immigration, and trade. In a joint press conference, both men seemed open to a positive working relationship between the two nations.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2017
“Canadians are rightly aware of the fact that much of our economy depends on a good working relationship with the United States,” Trudeau said (via CBS News). “We know that by ensuring the continued effective integration of our two economies, we are going to be creating greater opportunities middle-class Canadians and Americans now and well into the future.”
Trump chimed in as well, reiterating Trudeau’s hope for both nations to work together.
“I agree with that 100 percent. We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada,” Trump said. “We’ll be tweaking it. We are going to be doing certain things that will be benefitting both our countries.”
However, with Flynn’s resignation, the Trump administration is under supreme heat. Trump — whose ties to Russia and relationship with Vladimir Putin have been heavily scrutinized — will now have to answer questions regarding his knowledge or lack thereof in terms fo Flynn’s talks with Russia.
[Featured Image by Mark Makela/Getty Images]