National Security Adviser Michael Flynn became the first casualty of President Donald Trump's administration Monday night after resigning from his position amid the raging controversy about his contacts with Russian officials before the business mogul took office, the White House confirmed.
The announcement came shortly after press secretary Sean Spicer suggested the president was “evaluating” his options after learning that former director of the defense intelligence agency allegedly lied about his secret communications with Kremlin and misled Vice President Mike Pence — and potentially, the FBI.
Flynn was also the first White House aide to be investigated by U.S. counterintelligence.
"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. I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology," he said in his resignation letter, which has already been accepted by the commander-in-chief.
Breaking: text of Flynn's resignation letter pic.twitter.com/KGue1cJFzL— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 14, 2017
Flynn held the office for less than a month.
Flynn's tenure as national security advisor shortest ever. Previous record held be Reagan's first NSA, Richard V. Allen, who served 348 days— Ivo Daalder (@IvoHDaalder) February 14, 2017
Retired General Keith Kellogg, the chief of staff at the National Security Council, will now serve as the acting national security adviser.
Meanwhile, former CIA Director retired General David Petraeus and former Deputy Commander Of U.S. Central Command Bob Harward are reportedly in the running to be Flynn’s successor.
While the dramatic late-night resignation took many by surprise, some social media users had valid questions about the resignation and the events that led to it.
Flynn's resignation only underscores how many more questions need to be answered about Russian involvement in our elections.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 14, 2017
FLYNN IS OUT.— Summer Brennan (@summerbrennan) February 14, 2017
What did the president know and when did he know it?
Michael Flynn didn't resign because he broke the law. He resigned because he got caught. This is why fourth estate is critical.— Louis Gray (@louisgray) February 14, 2017
2016: "Russia secretly working with Trump officials is a desperate conspiracy theory."— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) February 14, 2017
Reminder. This all begins (& will end) b/c of Russian involvement with our elections. That investigation is ongoing. Flynn is a footnote.— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) February 14, 2017
Flynn's departure only matters if 1) he's followed by a mainstream, experienced replacement, 2) we get to bottom of the Trump/Russia story.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 14, 2017
Gen Flynn in his resignation letter said he INADVERTENTLY briefed VP Pence and others with incomplete information. Long story short. He lied— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) February 14, 2017
Mike Flynn resigns as National Security Adviser for talking to Russian Ambassador.Too subtle.His replacement will be the Russian Ambassador.— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) February 14, 2017
Apparently, the news took some members of Trump team by surprise as well. Shortly before the news broke out, White House aide Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC that Flynn “does enjoy the full confidence of the president.”
Flynn’s ties with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak had turned him into a liability for the Trump administration.
On Dec. 29, the day former President Barack Obama imposed new sanctions on Moscow for its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections, the former adviser reportedly called Kislyak and hinted that Trump might be willing to lift them.
The conversation, which Flynn vehemently denied at the time, violated the obscure Logan Act that prohibits people "outside the executive branch from making foreign policy on behalf of the U.S. administration."
It is also pertinent to mention that Flynn’s resignation is not the end of the scandal and certainly won’t protect him from potential future criminal prosecution.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters