In an administration already plagued by controversy, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has resigned amid another scandal.
Flynn turned in his letter of resignation late Monday evening, a move top Trump aides have been pushing for ever since it was revealed Flynn had been less than forthcoming regarding his communications with Russia. To be specific, back before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Flynn spoke to a Russian representative in December, claiming the conversation was mostly just small talk and things of an inconsequential nature.
Unbeknownst to Flynn, at least one of his conversations with Russia was wiretapped by the FBI. The resulting investigation showed Flynn, in violation of law, had discussed the possible easing of sanctions placed against Russia during the Obama administration.
According to the resignation letter, “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,” he wrote, reports the New York Times. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”
Adding to the confusion regarding the sudden dismissal/resignation of a top aide, comes yet another gem from Kellyanne Conway, who claimed Monday that Flynn still was in Trump’s favor. This was almost immediately contradicted by Sean Spicer, who released a statement declaring Trump was still evaluating the scenario.
Why Was Michael Flynn’s Conversation With Russia So Important?
There are a few reasons why Flynn’s phone call with Russia was a problem. The first is the illegal nature of the call. Private citizens are not allowed to engage in diplomatic interactions, and since Trump was not legally president at the time of the call, Flynn was still legally a private citizen.
The next issue is that Flynn attempted to cover up the nature of his call. It is likely he realized at some point that the nature of his call was, at the very least, a violation of protocol. Worse yet, he provided inaccurate information to the administration he was supposed to aid. With Trump’s administration already under fire from many angles, a scandal of this sort, involving unarguably illegal actions, does nothing to help the regime’s state.
Michael Flynn also became a national security risk because of the call. People operating at high levels of government cannot afford to have a foreign entity gain a hold over them. The call could have given Russia leverage over Flynn because they could use the threat of revelation of the conversations as a tool against the adviser. No one wants to lose their job and, while it might not have made a huge difference in the long run, even giving a slight advantage to a government in confrontation with the U.S. is a poor choice.
Reactions to Michael Flynn’s Resignation
Both Russia and the White House have expressed concern over the situation of Flynn’s resignation. According to the New York Times, “Leonid Slutsky, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman in the Russian State Duma, said Tuesday that he sees the accusations surrounding Michael T. Flynn’s resignation as an attack on Russia and that relations with the Unites States continue to be on thin ice.”
Trump took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the scandal. Trump appears to be more concerned with the leaks coming out of Washington regarding his administration than with the potential illegal activity by his own staff member.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
So what are your thoughts on Michael Flynn’s resignation? What do you think is next for the Trump administration? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!
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