National Security Advisor resigns after allegations of Russian dealings emerge
In what became headline news across the country last week, Retired General Michael T. Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump. Flynn’s resignation came after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Pence, among other top White House officials, regarding conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Flynn, a native Rhode Islander and URI graduate, had been an early supporter of the President’s campaign and was designated to the National Security Advisor post as part of President Trump’s transition team. The specific action that caused his resignation has to do with a conversation that took place between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador concerning sanctions that had been placed on Russia by President Obama in response to Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. These communications were made before Donald Trump had been sworn in as President and represent a clear violation of the Logan Act which would be enough on its own to potentially necessitate resignation. However, the denial of these communications by Flynn only increased the problem. Having denied the accusations, it was feared by the Justice Department that Flynn could have been vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians if they threatened to make the communications public.
Flynn had held the position for merely twenty-three days when his resignation came with gripping political intrigue that one might expect to find in the wildly successful Netflix series “House of Cards.” Only hours before his resignation was announced, Kellyanne Conway, one of the President’s top counselors, said on MSNBC that the President had “full confidence” in Flynn. But, another top counselor to the President, Steve Bannon, along with Vice President Pence pushed for resignation due to the nature of Flynn’s misleading statements along with his previous history of embarrassing the administration. Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., had taken part in spreading conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in human trafficking at a DC Pizzeria on social media. Afterwards that pizzeria would be attacked by a man due to his belief in that conspiracy.
Ultimately, this incident has led to the Trump Administration being increasingly connected to Russia. This is a position further complicated by Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election which benefited Donald Trump. It is also one that the President and the rest of the Administration do not wish to find themselves.