Late Monday night, Michael Flynn, the National Security Advisor to the Trump Administration, stepped down from his post. Here are 4 quick things you need to know about the situation.
1. The Scandal
Michael Flynn, up until Monday, was the National Security Advisor for Donald. J. Trump. A few weeks ago, reports surfaced that indicated that Flynn had talked to the Russian Ambassador about sanctions before Trump was inaugurated, meaning he was still only a private citizen. Flynn denied that the sanctions were mentioned in the conversation, and an investigation was started. Prominent White House officials from KellyAnne Conway to Vice President Pence showed their support for him initially, however, this Monday Flynn resigned, prompting the assumption that he did in fact talk about sanctions with the Russian Ambassador before he was in his position.
2. Why is this a big deal?
It is illegal for private citizens to discuss foreign policy with foreign diplomats. And, since Flynn had these calls with the Russian Ambassadors without being in office yet, his actions were technically illegal. These were not only illegal but also an ethics violation; something critics say can open up the door for a disregard for diplomatic rules.
3. Misleading the White House
One of the biggest issues with this breach is the fact that he not only lied to the American people, but also to the White House. Vice President Mike Pence has actually been defending Flynn, claiming that he did not discuss the sanctions with the Russian Ambassador. This is problematic because it leaves one of two options: Pence was deliberately covering up for Flynn, or he did not know what was going on with Flynn. Both of these options are troubling, even though it appears Flynn simply mislead Pence. No matter, this is not a good look for an administration that has already been subject to much controversy in the first month.
4. Flynn's Replacement
Flynn's replacement for now will be Keith Kellog, a retired general officer in the U.S. Army. General Kellog has held previous positions in the Trump administration, acting as a foreign policy advisor since March 2016, and as the chief of staff for the National Security council. Only time will tell how Kellogg shapes up to the role, but the Trump administration obviously has great faith in him, since there will be a lot of scrutiny on him in the coming weeks.
25 days into Trump's presidency – stay tuned for Fresh U's continued coverage of his term.
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