- Tue, 02/14/2017 09:09 PM
Michael Flynn abruptly tendered his resignation as President Donald Trump's national security adviser Monday night following the Justice Departments information to the White House about him possibly being subjected to blackmail. Previously, it was also brought to light that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior officials about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States. During his television appearances, Pence had repeated the misinformation. In his resignation letter, Flynn accepted passing incomplete information and apologized for it.
The Flynn episode has raised issues of a possible breach of the Logan Act, a 1799 law which bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments though senior intelligence official clarified last week about Flynn not doing anything illegal. Post days of turmoil, Trump and his advisors surmised of Flynn’s position becoming unsustainable because of his lies. The Washington Post’s report of Sally Yates, then-acting attorney general informing the White House of Flynn’s vulnerability to blackmail was also confirmed. Trump fired Yates after she directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the president's executive order on immigration.
On a Tuesday morning show, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway emphasized the president’s loyalty to Flynn and said that the general "decided it was best to resign" because he had "become a lightning rod." On being asked of Trump would have supported Flynn not resigning despite accusations of lying to the vice president, Conway responded, "That fact is what became unsustainable, I think misleading the vice president was the key."
Few could not hide their glee over Flynn’s departure. He was an outspoken opponent of political correctness who last year wrote on Twitter that "fear of Muslims is rational." Republican Rep. Bill Flores of Texas expressed happiness over Flynn’s departure. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the Democrat who is also in the team investigating Trump campaign's alleged contacts with Russia felt that Flynn’s resignation became guaranteed the day he misled the country about his secret talks with the Russian ambassador. He further stated that Flynn was always a poor choice for National Security Adviser since the post required a person who was a consensus builder, and possesses sobriety and steady judgment. Flynn is one who plays fast and loose with the truth.
In contrast, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, thanked Flynn for his "many years of distinguished service." He pointed out Michael Flynn’s service in the US military for more than three decades and stated that Flynn had never been a politician but a soldier and thus he deserves America's gratitude and respect.
Retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg, 72, a top policy adviser for Trump's campaign, has been appointed as the national security adviser. He is the former commander of the fabled 82nd Airborne Division and was the operating officer of the Western coalition in Baghdad, Iraq, after the US-led invasion in 2003. The contenders for the permanent position are retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward, former deputy commander of US Joint Forces Command, and former CIA Director David Petraeus, Harward is touted as the favorite.