WikiLeaks stated on Tuesday a “destabilization campaign” perpetrated by U.S. spies, the Democrats and the media is the cause of National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn’s resignation.
WikiLeaks offered the explanation in a tweet, which included a link to Flynn’s resignation letter:
Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press https://t.co/vKlX1Tqek1
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 14, 2017
Flynn admitted in the letter that he “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.”
The Washington Post reported that Flynn had discussions with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December regarding the lifting of sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration after President Donald Trump took office.
The Post story was based on transcripts of the general’s calls leaked to the press by the FBI.
Trump highlighted the problem of government officials leaking information to the press, tweeting Tuesday morning:
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
Regarding the issue of Russian sanctions, the Trump administration announced a clarification on certain ones earlier this month, but they have not been removed.
Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, characterized Flynn’s resignation as a “set-back” for Russia.
“This is a set-back for Putin,” McFaul said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Because in the constellation of senior people making foreign policy around the president, General Flynn was considered somebody sympathetic to the Kremlin, somebody sympathetic to Russia.”
“They’ve now lost one of their allies, and the other folks – especially [Defense Secretary James] Mattis – their stars are rising now,” he added.
Mattis stated during his confirmation hearing that “I’m all for engagement, but we also have to recognize reality and what Russia is up to. There is a decreasing number of areas where we can engage cooperatively and an increasing number of areas where we’re going to have to confront Russia.”
Similarly, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley addressed wariness towards Russia in her first address to the Security Council. “We do want to better our relations; however, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is on that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions,” she said, adding the sanctions in response to the annexation would remain in place.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, in a statement on Tuesday, called for a full and independent investigation into the Trump administration’s Russian connections. “The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s financial, personal and political grip on President Trump and what that means for our national security,” she said.
“The Trump administration has yet to be forthcoming about who was aware of Flynn’s conversations with the ambassador and whether he was acting on the instructions of the president or any other officials, or with their knowledge,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Sec. of State Rex Tillerson is perhaps the sole top Trump administration official who could be considered to have ties to Russia.
In his capacity as CEO of ExxonMobil, he traveled to Russia on multiple occasions and met with President Vladimir Putin. Tillerson received the “Order of Friendship” from the Russian government in 2013 after signing deals with the state-owned oil company Rosneft.
The top contenders to replace Flynn as national security adviser include former CIA director retired Gen. David Petraeus, retired Adm. Robert Harward and now acting NSC adviser retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr.
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