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How Flynn Became The Shortest Serving National Security Advisor Ever
After the world’s shortest appointment to the post of national security advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn has resigned his post amid a scandal. He lasted a mere 24 days.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was a controversial choice to be President Donald Trump’s national security advisor from the beginning. There was that time a consulting company paid him to speak at the Russian news outlet RT, his history of tweeting links to stories by alt-right luminaries and fake news articles, and of course his son’s (since deleted) tweets about the notorious non-story known as Pizzagate, which got junior kicked off the transition team.
None of that seemed to bother Trump. After all, Flynn also had a solid resume, having run the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, until Obama fired him for mismanaging the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn’s fall out with Obama, a red flag to some, may have made him seem an ideal choice to Trump.
But that changed last week, when it was revealed that Flynn’s contacts with a Russian diplomat — which occurred on the same day the United States was placing sanctions on Russia in response to the interference with the election — went further than he’d admitted.
It was no secret that Flynn has close ties to Russia. But it has now been revealed that he attempted to hide the true nature of his dealings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak from the rest of Trump’s administration.
As the administration struggled to deal with fall-out over news of Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls to Kislyak — which were placed on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in connection with the their interference with the election — Vice President Mike Pence defended him, insisting that the communications did not involve the sanctions.
“I talked to General Flynn about that conversation,” Pence told CBS on Jan. 15. “He had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place…. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”
Flynn denied speaking with Kislyak about sanctions as late as Feb. 8. But a day later, after The Washington Post reported that nine intelligence officials had seen evidence that sanctions were in fact discussed, he began to back away from his denial. A spokesman indicated that Flynn did not recall discussing sanctions, but he “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
NBC News source: VP Pence was a driver behind Flynn's exit https://t.co/7I1w3gWaQ9
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) February 14, 2017
Because these calls occurred pre-inauguration, Flynn technically acted as private citizen in a way that could be construed as undermining U.S. foreign policy. He could also be charged with a crime under the Logan Act — a statute that bars private interference in foreign policy disputes.
In the wake of the Post’s exposé, the White House published a statement on Feb. 10, suggesting it supported Flynn. On Meet the Press on Sunday, policy advisor Steven Miller sidestepped questions about Trump’s confidence in Flynn, leading to speculation that he was on his way out. “It's not for me to tell you what's in the president's mind,” Miller told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “That's a question for the president.”
But yesterday, Kellyanne Conway once again spoke of the president’s confidence in Flynn, shortly before he resigned.
It remains unknown at what point Trump was made aware of the details of conversations between Flynn and Kislyak. When Todd asked Miller if the president would consider being left in the dark on this issue a fireable offense, Miller refused to speculate on a “hypothetical question.”
However, CNN reported that the Justice Department had warned the White House about Flynn’s communications with the Russians back in January — out of concern that he could be blackmailed over his false statements. That message was delivered by then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was later fired by Trump over her refusal to defend the controversial travel ban.
As for the job Flynn leaves behind, that of national security advisor, Trump is said to be considering several candidates, including Gen. David Petraeus, who is expected to visit the White House today.
Read the full text of his letter below:
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"