National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned his post Monday night after a week of staff turmoil over his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
The Washington Post reported last week that Flynn told the ambassador in December sanctions the U.S. government placed on Russia during the Obama administration would be lifted once Donald Trump took office. He denied the claim in interviews and to Vice President Mike Pence, who backed him up on national television.
In a letter tendering his resignation, Flynn wrote:
“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.”
In a statement announcing Flynn’s resignation, the White House said the retired Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. will serve as Acting National Security Advisor.
The statement notes:
“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. He served as the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division 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.”
Flynn’s job was in question throughout the day Monday, even though counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said in an MSNBC interview the president still had full confidence in him, just as press secretary Sean Spicer said his role was being evaluated.
But the president never had to address the situation publicly. He was not asked by reporters in a brief press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.