US president’s national security adviser resigns over contacts with Russia
US president’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned late on Monday after revelations that he had withheld information about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Flynn said he had apologized to president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence for, as he put it, “inadvertently” misleading them.
The conversations date back to last December. At first, Flynn denied having discussed US sanctions with the Russians. However, as the situation unfolded, he admitted the subject had come up in conversations between him and the Russian ambassador.
“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,” Flynn said in his resignation letter.
Flynn’s resignation came hours after it was reported that the US justice department had warned the White House weeks ago that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail for contacts with Russian officials before Trump took power on January 20.
Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday Flynn and ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak had never talked about a possibility of US lifting its sanctions on Russia.
Michael Flynn, a retired army lieutenant general, has visited Russia on a number of official occasions. In 2015, at a reception celebrating the 10thanniversary of the Russia Today media company, he sat at president Putin’s right hand.
Retired General Keith Kellogg, who has been chief of staff of the White House National Security Council, was named the acting national security adviser while Trump determines who should fill the position.
Kellogg, retired General David Petraeus, a former CIA director, and Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of US Central Command, are under consideration for the position, Reuters said citing a White House official.