Michael Flynn’s Early Departure Shows a Rocky Start for Trump White House

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Source: Associated Press

Capping crippling weeks of disclosures about President Trump’s top national security aide, the White House late Monday evening sent Michael Flynn packing and ended the drama surrounding a former intelligence maven who had won the billionaire’s trust despite the misgivings of many in his circle.

Trump named retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Jr. as his acting National Security Advisor, elevating at least for now the man he had first selected to serve as the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. Kellogg, a Vietnam veteran who rose to national prominence as a senior executive rebuilding Iraq after the United States’ 2003 invasion, was a top policy adviser as Trump moved from New York celebrity to commander-in-chief.

Flynn’s departure was the first high-profile exit of a key Trump adviser, but it was unlikely to be the last. The Trump Administration had been under fire since it took power 24 days earlier, and it’s unclear how much one departure would make up for the tumultuous start.

The decision also did not answer the question if Flynn began the conversations with Russian officials on his own accord or if he was operating on the direction of Trump. It was not immediately clear how—now that the world knew about his contacts—what leverage Russia could exert over Flynn by way of blackmail. Congressional Democrats, meantime, were unlikely to see Flynn’s exit as the end of this story.

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