In what turned out to be the shortest tenure of a presidential national security advisor in history, General Mike Flynn resigned as NSA Monday night amid controversy over his alleged discussion of sanctions with a Russian ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration and subsequent failure to fully disclose the content of the conversation to Vice President Mike Pence. The resignation has been just the kind of development the "opposition" media has been waiting for to take its "Out of Control Trump Administration" narrative to the next level.
At around 11 p.m. Monday night, Flynn posted his resignation letter, in which he admitted that because of "the fast pace of events," he had "inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador," adding, "I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president."
The resignation served as apparent confirmation of allegations leveled at him, particularly by the Washington Post, about his discussion with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. The truth is, even if the entire situation is being deliberately overblown by the Post and others, which it likely is, the Flynn resignation does not look good for the fledgling administration – and if nothing else, it gives the establishment media its first Team Trump scalp, which will certainly embolden them.
To help straighten out the convoluted story, here is a timeline of events leading to Flynn’s late-night resignation (several details below via the Washington Post).
MID-NOVEMBER – Trump selects Flynn as National Security Advisor.
DEC. 29 – Flynn reportedly speaks on the phone with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Though Flynn initially denied it, the two apparently discussed the sanctions President Obama imposed on Russia earlier that day.
JAN. 13 – About two weeks later, and one week before Trump’s inauguration, vague reports of the Flynn-Kislyak conversation begin to surface.
JAN. 15 – Pence appears on Fox News and says that he had spoken with Flynn the previous day and that Flynn assured him the discussion with Kislyak was "not in any way related" to the Obama administration-imposed sanctions and actions against Russian diplomats.
FEB. 8 – Flynn tells the Washington Post that he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak.
FEB. 9 – The Post publishes Flynn's assertion the next day in a piece maintaining that the two officials did in fact discuss sanctions. In response, what the Post describes as a categorical denial the day before is softened by Flynn's spokesperson who said Flynn "indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up."
FEB. 10 – Pressure on Flynn is ratcheted up, including from the House Intelligence Committee.
President Trump says that he is looking into the issue, but gives no indication of the action he might take.
FEB. 13 – Below is the Washington Post's specific breakdown of events for Monday, at the end of which Flynn resigned:
- Around 5 p.m. Monday: Conway says the White House has “full confidence” in Flynn and seemed to excuse him for having forgotten that he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
- Shortly after 5 p.m. Monday: Spicer issues a statement. “The president is evaluating the situation,” it said. “He's speaking to the vice president relative to the conversation the vice president had with Gen. Flynn, and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: our national security.”
- 8 p.m. Monday: The Post reports that the Justice Department had told the White House last month “that Flynn had so mischaracterized his communications with the Russian diplomat that he might be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.”
- Shortly before 11 p.m. Monday: Flynn resigns.
UPDATE: FEB. 14 - The Washington Free Beacon publishes a report from anonymous officials claiming "Obama loyalists" (many suspect Ben Rhodes to be among them) have been working for months to take down Flynn due to his knowledge of and vocal criticism about Obama's Iran deal.
More from the Daily Wire on Flynn's resignation: