Flynn resigns as national security adviser amid Russia controversy

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on developments in President Donald Trump’s administration (all times EST):

11:04 p.m.

National security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned after reports he misled Trump administration officials about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Flynn’s departure less than one month into the Trump administration marks an extraordinarily early shakeup in the president’s senior team of advisers. Flynn was a loyal Trump supporter throughout the campaign, but his ties to Russia caused concern among other senior aides.

Flynn initially told Trump advisers that he did not discuss sanctions with the Russian envoy during the transition. Vice President Mike Pence, apparently relying on information from Flynn, publicly vouched for the national security adviser.

Flynn later told White House officials that he may have discussed sanctions with the ambassador.

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9:05 p.m.

Two people familiar with the situation say the Justice Department warned the Trump administration about Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia.

One of the people says the Justice Department told the administration there was a discrepancy between what the White House was saying publicly about Flynn’s contacts and the facts of what occurred.

The person says the Justice Department was concerned that Flynn could be in a compromised position.

A Trump administration official says the White House has been aware of the Justice Department warning for “weeks.” That official would not say if the president had been briefed on the matter.

The two people were not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Washington Post first reported the communications with the Justice Department.

— By Eric Tucker and Julie Pace

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6:45 p.m.

A White House spokesman says no classified material was discussed publicly at the Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend.

Sean Spicer says President DonaldTrump was briefed in a classified room after North Korea’s latest missile test Saturday. Trump drew scrutiny after social media posts appeared to show Trump conducting national security business in an area accessible to the public.

Spicer says Trump was briefed before and after dinner Saturday. But he says that during dinner Trump and U.S. and Japanese officials were discussing plans for a press conference later that night.

Spicer says the activity at dinner was “literally a discussion of logistics.”

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5:15 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump is “evaluating the situation” involving his national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer says the president is speaking with Vice President Mike Pence and others about the matter.

Pence publicly vouched that Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before the inauguration. But Flynn has since told the White House sanctions may have come up.

Trump has said nothing publicly about Flynn since the Washington Post reported last week that Flynn did discuss sanctions with the Russian official.

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4:20 p.m.

White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has apologized to Vice President Mike Pence for the controversy surrounding his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., an administration official says.

Pence said in televised interviews that Flynn had not discussed sanctions during his pre-inauguration calls with the Russian envoy. Flynn has since told the White House that sanctions may have come up.

Administration officials have said Pence was relying on information from Flynn.

The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.


THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 13, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Names Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. as Acting National Security Advisor

Accepts Resignation of Lt. General Michael Flynn

President Donald J. Trump has named Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. (Ret) as Acting National Security Advisor following the resignation of Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret). 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. 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.

The full text of General Flynn’s resignation letter is below:

February 13, 2017

In the course of my duties as the incoming National Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the President, his advisors and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude.

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.

Throughout my over thirty three years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States.

I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way.

I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world.

As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency.

I know with the strong leadership of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S. history, and I firmly believe the American people will be well served as they all work together to help Make America Great Again.

Michael T. Flynn, LTG (Ret)

Assistant to the President / National Security Advisor

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