On Monday, February 13, Michael Flynn resigned as President Trump’s National Security Adviser. His abrupt departure occurred seven hours after counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC that Mr. Trump had “full confidence” in Mr. Flynn. His withdrawal happened less than a month into his position and made him one of the shortest-serving senior presidential advisers.
Furthermore, this departure came after reports surfaced from the Justice Department, and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House counsel that Mr. Flynn lied about the nature of his correspondence with Russian Ambassador Sergey I Kislyak. Before his resignation, Mr. Flynn denied any informative conversations with Kislyak, which left him vulnerable to blackmail. The lack of transparency illustrated by Mr. Flynn’s breach in protocol created a huge risk to the nation’s security and illustrates the chaos within the National Security Council. For example, Mr. Flynn reportedly spoke to Kislyak multiple times during the presidential election, including when President Obama retaliated against Moscow for hacking the Democratic National Convention. The Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius, wrote on January 11 that Mr. Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Kislyak “several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.” As the National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn should be assisting the president on national security and foreign policy issues for the good of the people and country.
After Mr. Flynn’s departure, it became apparent that he had not communicated his resignation to the National Security Council staff members and they were only informed about his choice from news reports. In Mr. Flynn’s resignation letter, he said that he “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.” Later, the Secretary of Press, Sean Spicer, said that President Trump encouraged Mr. Flynn to resign due to an “erosion of trust.”
Lastly, the results of the unceremonious departure of Mr. Flynn, whose selection for his position was criticized since Trump’s presidential campaign (2016), should be perceived by the majority as a welcome development. Mr. Flynn has a long-standing history of Islamophobia, conspiracy theories, and leaking classified information to foreign nations, which were all viewed as too extreme by the people to be elected as the National Security Adviser. Furthermore, a journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept, stated in a tweet that “Flynn’s firing sin was not lying to the public: high officials do that constantly; that’s encouraged. It was lying to Pence.” On the other hand, in an interview with Democracy Now! Greenwald argues that whoever leaked the conversation between General Mr. Flynn and Russian Ambassador telephone calls committed a serious felony. However, he states that the First Amendment freedom of the press clause should bar prosecution in such cases as when a public official is withholding classified evidence from the public that the public deserves to know. In this case, the National Security Adviser’s continuous communication with the Russian Ambassador without public knowledge and without regard to security is a priority offense.
Overall, Michael Flynn, the US National Security Adviser resigned because of his phone conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and the breach in national security.