Trump has 'full confidence' in embattled aide: adviser

Feb 17, 2017, 00:08
Trump has 'full confidence' in embattled aide: adviser

"I don't have any deals in Russia", Trump said, before arguing that two phone calls is the extent of his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I have sincerely apologized to the President and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology", read Flynn's letter, a copy of which was released by the White House.

Flynn has temporarily been replaced by retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg.

After the Obama administration rolled out new sanctions against Moscow for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, US officials were surprised that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not retaliate, according to the Washington Post.

Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, said Mr Flynn's resignation was a "troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus" and raises questions about Mr Trump's intentions towards Russian Federation. "I have nothing to do with Russia", Mr Trump told reporters in his first solo press conference as President.

Gen Flynn resigned on Monday - less than a month into the job - after he allegedly discussed United States sanctions against Moscow with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a phone call late past year.

The damage had already been done, however, as The New York Times reports that three administration officials familiar with the situation reportedly said Pence, who made several television appearances to defend Flynn, was incensed at the national security adviser for allegedly withholding information.

"No, no, nobody that I know of", Trump said. The only way he can save face - and the honor of the presidency - is to step aside.

The president himself seemed to be under the impression that the intel community were undermining him with leaks, some of which have contained information about his phone calls with foreign leaders.

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The controversy comes as Mr Trump and his leading advisers seek to steady the White House after a rocky start.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that US intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.

Flynn's misstep was misleading Vice President Mike Pence, and others, about the content of his calls, as well as the fact that Flynn said he could not recall the specifics of the call, Trump said in defense of his decision to ask Flynn to resign.

As of February 15, Trump had said little about Flynn's resignation and the events leading up to it, but some of what he has said has not been accurate.

Flynn wasn't the only Russian Federation proponent in the administration.

Late Monday, the list of questions continued to grow, and there was a sense in Washington that the real story of the Trump administration was just beginning to be told. Barack Obama sanctioned Russian Federation in December for what he described as its efforts to tamper with the presidential election, activity that intelligence agencies have concluded sought to tip the election in Trump's favor.

Yates communicated her concerns to White House Counsel Don McGahn, a longtime Trump adviser whose main qualification was his loyalty to Trump and knowledge of business and campaign finance.

'The White House knew about that last month when the Justice Department warned the White House that General Flynn had not been completely honest in characterizing that conversation with the Russian ambassador.