Multiple sources have confirmed President Donald Trump's national security advisor Michael Flynn has resigned from his post.
Flynn's resignation came on Monday night mere hours after news surfaced that the Department of Justice informed the White House last month that Flynn had not been truthful about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and that Russia could potentially blackmail him in the future.
Flynn, a retired Army Lieutenant General, came under intense scrutiny last month when news surfaced that he had a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29, the day after the Obama administration announced sanctions against Russia for their alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Incoming Vice President Mike Pence publicly defended Flynn in January, explicitly telling CBS News that while Flynn spoke with Russian officials in December, he didn't discuss the U.S. sanctions against Russia. "They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia," Pence said.
The scandal heated up quickly after the Washington Post reported Saturday that multiple intelligence officials could confirm that Flynn explicitly spoke to Kislyak about Obama's sanctions. Still, the White House maintained Monday that Flynn still had the support of Trump. "Yes, General Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president," senior White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said.
Hours later, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump was "evaluating the situation" as new information had come to light. Shortly after that, news broke that Flynn had apologized to Pence for misleading him about his conversation with the Russians.
By late Monday night, Flynn submitted his resignation.
"Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador," Flynn said in his resignation letter, according to NBC News. "I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology."
Retired Army General Keith Kellogg, 72, has been appointed as acting national security advisor, according to a White House statement. Kellogg was a top advisor for the Trump campaign and was previously the National Security council chief of staff.
Flynn's full resignation letter is below:
In the course of my duties as the incoming National Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the President, his advisors and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude.
Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.
Throughout my over thirty three years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States.
I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way.
I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America's leadership position in the world.
As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency.
I know with the strong leadership of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S. history, and I firmly believe the American people will be well served as they all work together to help Make America Great Again.
Michael T. Flynn, LTG (Ret)
Assistant to the President / National Security Advisor