WASHINGTON — Mike Flynn was asked to resign from his post as National Security Adviser after losing President Donald Trump’s trust and not because of any legal issues, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday.
“What this came down to was a matter of trust,” Spicer said, explaining that a review from the White House counsel found that Flynn did not break any laws, including the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from shaping foreign policy.
During the administration’s transition period, Flynn spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a series of phone calls that the transition team — including Vice President-elect Mike Pence — characterized as innocuous.
Following a series of reports on Friday indicating that the two men discussed sanctions against Russia, Flynn tendered his resignation Monday night, saying that he had given “incomplete information” to his colleagues.
Spicer said Tuesday that the Justice Department notified the White House on Jan. 26 that aspects of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak were in conflict with the administration’s description of the calls.
The president was briefed immediately, Spicer said, and the White House counsel reviewed the issue and found that there was no wrongdoing from Flynn.
Spicer said that there is no evidence that Flynn had discussions with Russian officials at any point during the election, a key concern in light of a report from the intelligence community in the final days of the Obama administration concluding that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential race.
Doubts over Flynn’s trustworthiness amid his shifting narrative, however, “created a critical mass and an unsustainable situation,” Spicer said.
Trump decided to ask for Flynn’s resignation at the end of the day on Monday, according to Spicer.
Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg Jr. is currently serving as acting National Security Adviser while the administration seeks someone to fill the position.