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Trump's National Security Adviser Resigned: What Was the Reason?

(Jim Lo Scalzo / European Pressphoto Agency)

US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has resigned over his contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office, conversations that officials said have raised concerns within the White House.

Top White House officials have been reviewing over the weekend Flynn's contacts with the Russians and whether he discussed the possibility of lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia once Trump took office, which could potentially be in violation of a law banning private citizens from engaging in foreign policy.

Flynn is a retired U.S. army general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. An early supporter of Trump, he has been a leading advocate to improve U.S. relations with Russia.

Flynn had to resign because of indications that he may have misled his colleagues, including Vice President Mike Pence, who went on national television and denied that Flynn spoke about sanctions with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to Washington.

As Los Angeles Times reports, the FBI has been examining Flynn’s contacts with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to multiple news reports. Agents are looking at whether Flynn tried to undermine the Obama administration’s move to toughen sanctions against Moscow after concluding that Russia had meddled in the U.S. election.

Flynn had publicly denied discussing sanctions with Kislyak after which nine current or former U.S. officials flatly contradicted those denials. 

The White House has passed up several opportunities to publicly back up Flynn. Trump, asked about the report on Friday, said he was unaware of it, according to Washington Post.

However, Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak may not have broken any laws; the relevant one, the Logan Act, which bars private citizens from interfering with U.S. diplomacy, is an 18th century statute that is periodically waved around as a threat, but has never been used for a prosecution.

But since Flynn misled Pence and other colleagues about what he did, this already made his presence in the national security job untenable.

National security adviser General Michael Flynn delivers a statement daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

It is interesting, that besides all this, Mike Flynn has also been accused by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump of carrying out political activities seeking to influence the White House on behalf of Turkey and its president, Recep Erdogan, while failing to register as an agent with the Department of Justice.

Failure to comply to the law under the act can result in a five-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 fine, The Independent reports.

It turns out that Flynn has been advocating for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish exile blamed by the Erdogan administration for inciting the military coup attempt last summer. The Democratic Coalition said Mr Flynn's arguments were in line with the goals of President Erdogan’s Government.

Titled ''Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support,'' Mr Flynn wrote: ''Gulen portrays himself as a moderate, but he is in fact a radical Islamist. He has publicly boasted about his 'soldiers' waiting for his orders to do whatever he directs them to do''.

"If he were in reality a moderate, he would not be in exile, nor would he excite the animus of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government'', Flynn told to The Hill.

''We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognise Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective,'' Flynn said.

Let's see, who the next National Security Adviser of Trump will be...

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