In a sudden turn of events on Monday, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn officially resigned his post in Trump’s Cabinet, following controversy over a phone call he had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. The news follows closely on the heels of reports that Trump and senior White House officials knew of Flynn’s alleged conversations with the ambassador regarding Russian sanctions weeks ago. In a statement to the press on Monday evening, the White House said it had appointed retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. as acting national security adviser, according to ABC News.
“General Kellogg is a decorated veteran of the United States Army, having served from 1967 to 2003, including two tours during the Vietnam War, where he earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with “V” device, and the Air Medal with “V” device,” the White House wrote. “He served as the Commander of the 82nd Airborne from 1997 to 1998. Prior to his retirement, General Kellogg was Director of the Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Directorate under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
The White House also released the full text of Flynn’s own letter of resignation, in which the departing national security adviser admitted to having shared “incomplete information” with Vice President Pence and White House officials on the nature of his calls with foreign leaders.
Flynn first came under criticism after news broke that he had discussed existing Russian sanctions with Kislyak prior to his official confirmation, a move that, as The New York Times pointed out, constituted a major breach of protocol. Though Flynn initially denied having discussed the sanctions with the ambassador — leading Pence to deny the claims as well on several daytime news shows in the subsequent weeks — it was reported earlier on Monday that the Justice Department had briefed the White House on the possibility of Russian officials being able to blackmail Flynn as far back as January. Then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired from her post earlier this month for refusing to enforce Trump’s travel ban due to concerns over constitutionality, reportedly relayed the message to the White House, according to CNN.
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Image: Gage Skidmore