U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has resigned, a Trump administration official confirmed Monday evening.
The White House is already struggling to quell dissent and mistrust within the National Security Council, where many civil servants feel their advice is being ignored - and have even taken to calling the new administration "the regime".
January 23 - At Spicer's first White House press briefing, he says that Flynn assured him the night before that the Flynn-Kislyak call did not involve sanctions. Whilst other White House sources claimed that "the knives are out" for the retired general.
"Gen. Flynn's decision to step down...was all but ordained the day he misled the country about his secret talks with the Russian ambassador", Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday in a statement.
Spicer also said it was his understanding that Flynn had apologized to Vice President Mike Pence, who went on television and said, based on conversations with Flynn, that sanctions weren't mentioned on the call.
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Flynn spoke with Russia's ambassador to the United States prior to Trump's inauguration, but denied reports that he discussed new sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over Russia's alleged interference in the USA presidential election. But it also might rob Trump of his ability to lift sanctions on Russian Federation, one of his most widely anticipated maneuvers created to reset Washington's relationship with the Kremlin.
Some national security experts and former insiders now argue that the Flynn episode is further evidence of a tense and perhaps worsening divide between the Trump administration and the intelligence and defense communities.
"Unfortunately for Mike Flynn I think this was a grave of his own digging", Exum says.
We should ask why the administration waited so long to relieve Flynn if, according to a Washington Post report, the Justice Department warned the White House Flynn had not been honest about his discussions with Russian officials a month ago.
"Either Trump hasn't found the necessary independence and he's been driven into a corner. or "Russophobia" has permeated the new administration from top to bottom", he said.
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It's just whether they make it in time for this one, it will be last minute. From December 17, they don't lose and they score goals. We know everything and we are positive".
Spicer explained to reporters Tuesday that the delay was due in part because the president had asked the White House counsel to review the situation and see if there was a legal issue with Flynn's actions.
In a bid to save his position, one West Wing source said Flynn had been in "full groveling mode", hoping a show of contrition may enable him to survive, especially if "a suitable replacement doesn't emerge quickly". NBC's Peter Alexander reports for TODAY.
The Washington Post was the first to report that Ms. Yates communicated about the Flynn affair late last month with the Trump White House, shortly before she was sacked for opposing Mr. Trump's immigration ban.
Later, after Pence's chief of staff, Josh Pitcock, and communications director, Jarrod Agen, made brief appearances in Spicer's office, the White House press secretary briefed reporters and made clear that the statement was simply "what the president wanted to express". The news of the Yates briefing was first reported by the Washington Post.
Flynn's resignation comes just 24 days after he was confirmed in office, making his tenure the shortest in United States history.
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However, it quickly turned into a harsh denunciation of the USA media and a lengthy defence of his first four weeks in office. He added: "There is nobody I have more respect for, well maybe a little bit, than reporters, good reporters".
The White House's efforts are likely to do little to assuage concerns on Capitol Hill about Russia's influence in United States politics.