U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who came under fire over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, has resigned after admitting that he “inadvertently” provided “incomplete information” about his phone calls.
Flynn came under scrutiny in late January when U.S. intelligence officials began looking into a claim that he had discussed U.S. sanctions during a phone call with Russia’s ambassador on December 29, the day the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russia.
Although Flynn denied the reports, current and former U.S. officials told the Washington Post last week that Flynn’s call with Russia’s ambassador were interpreted by some as an ‘inappropriate and potentially illegal signal’ to Russia that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration.
In Monday’s resignation letter, Flynn admitted that he had mistakenly provided “incomplete information” to then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who then told CBS News during an interview that Flynn had not discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia’s 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 the letter. “I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
Flynn, who previously served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, resigned with immediate effect. “I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” he said.
A short time later, President Donald Trump appointed Lt. General Keith Kellogg to serve as Acting National Security Advisor until a permanent replacement has been found. Several people, including General David Petraeus, Vice Admiral Robert Harward, and Kellogg himself, are said to be under consideration.
Flynn’s sudden resignation came after a day of conflicting signs from the White House. Presidential aide Kellyanne Conway initially said Flynn had Trump’s “full confidence”, but White House spokesman Sean Spicer said shortly afterwards that Trump was “evaluating” the situation.
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