General Michael Flynn has resigned as Donald Trump’s national security adviser after weeks of speculation over his link to Russia turned into days of reporting on the contents of his calls with the Russian ambassador and a day of intense pressure over whether the president could continue to back his pick.
The resignation came late at night, at around 11pm Washington DC, after news reports revealed that the White House had been warned last month by then acting attorney general Sally Yates before she was fired for advising justice department lawyers that the travel ban was “not lawful” – that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail.
Transcripts of intercepted calls between Flynn and Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyev, as described by US officials to various news outlets, showed the two had discussed sanctions ahead of Trump’s inauguration, when Flynn was part of the transition team but not in the post as national security adviser.
Sanctions had been imposed by then- President Barack Obama after US agencies concluded Moscow had interfered in the US election campaign.
In his resignation letter, Flynn conceded that he had misled the vice-president Mike Pence, who had previously publicly denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyev. Flynn wrote:
Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I had 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.
Keith Kellogg has been appointed acting national security adviser. He along with David Petraeus, who meet Trump at the White House on Tuesday, and Robert Harward – are in the running to succeed Flynn.