White House Was Warned Flynn Could Be Blackmailed

Moscow lawmakers blame 'Russophobia' for resignation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2017 5:17 AM CST
White House 'Was Warned Flynn Could Be Blackmailed'
Flynn arrives in the East Room of the White House Monday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Michael Flynn stepped down Monday night after just 24 days as President Trump's national security adviser—and it's surprising he lasted that long, sources tell the Washington Post. The sources say officials, including former acting attorney general Sally Yates, notified the Trump team late last month that Flynn had misled Mike Pence and others about his pre-inauguration talks with the Russian ambassador to the US and warned that he could be vulnerable to blackmail. The sources say FBI agents uncovered evidence of "highly significant" and "potentially illegal" communication on sanctions following an investigation launched after Vladimir Putin's surprise decision not to retaliate for US sanctions. In other coverage:

  • Flynn was fiercely defended Tuesday by lawmakers—in Moscow. Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said getting rid of Flynn over Russia contacts was "not just paranoia but something even worse," the AP reports. He said Trump had either been "driven into a corner" or was running an administration riddled with "Russophobia."
  • Leonid Slutsky, Kosachev's counterpart in the lower chamber, claimed Flynn had been forced to resign as part of a campaign to damage US-Russia ties, reports Reuters.

  • The New York Times has a detailed timeline of Flynn's troubled tenure as national security adviser, which was by far the shortest since the position was created in 1953.
  • Politico reports on Flynn's final days in the White House. Sources say aides urged Trump to fire Flynn when it became clear that he had lied to Pence about his contacts with the ambassador, though Trump was struggling with the decision because he highly valued Flynn for his loyalty.
  • The ranking Democrats on the House Judicial and Oversight committees have called for a full investigation, saying they were "shocked and dismayed" to discover the White House learned weeks ago that "General Flynn had provided false information to the public about his communications with the Russian government, but that the Trump Administration apparently did nothing about it," the Hill reports. They said Congress "needs to know who else within the White House is a current and ongoing risk to our national security."
  • CNN profiles the three men seen as most likely to replace Flynn. They are retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who's now acting national security adviser, retired Gen. David Petraeus, and former Vice Adm. Bob Harward.
  • Flynn's resignation letter can be seen in full here. He apologizes for "inadvertently" providing Pence and others with "incomplete information," thanks Trump for his loyalty, and predicts that his team will "go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies."
(More Michael Flynn stories.)

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