Washington: National security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday, following revelations that he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country's ambassador in the days surrounding their imposition ? and weeks before Donald Trump's inauguration.
Retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg Jr. will serve as acting national security advisor until a full-time replacement is named, the White House said. Kellogg, as well as Vice Adm. Robert Harward and retired Gen. David Petraeus are the three candidates in line to succeed Flynn, according to the administration.
Flynn's resignation came after a tumultuous few days of revelations about his ties to Russia and his role in attempting to ease sanctions that were put in place weeks before the Trump administration took office.
In late December, President Barack Obama announced the sanctions, which included the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence operatives, in response to Russian interference in the November election designed to help Trump win.
Flynn initially denied that he had discussed the sanctions when he spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He said the conversations concerned setting up a phone call between Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin and offering condolences after the murder of a Russian diplomat in Turkey.
But after a Washington Post report came out ? based partially on transcripts of the conversations ? Flynn's office revised his earlier statements, and said that he couldn't recall whether the topic of sanctions had come up.
On Monday night, however, things got really serious after The Washington Post reporting that top officials at the Department of Justice warned the Trump administration weeks ago that Flynn might have been compromised by Russian influences and The New York Times reporting that the Army had investigated whether Flynn received payments from the Russian government in 2015.