Donald Trump claims 'real story' is illegal Washington DC leaks in effort to distract from Michael Flynn scandal

Still, questions remain about not only Flynn's but the entire administration's ties to Russia amid scrutiny

Feliks Garcia
New York
@feliksjose
Tuesday 14 February 2017 15:38
Michael Flynn resigns as national security adviser over Russia row

Donald Trump has broken his silence following the resignation of his national security adviser.

But instead of issuing a statement on the departure of Gen Michael Flynn, he instead attempted to divert attention away from the matter at hand and point them to what has plagued his administration in its first few weeks: leaks.

Mr Flynn resigned amid scrutiny over his ties with the Kremlin, after reports revealed that he spoke with the Russian Ambassador prior to President Trump's inauguration – a severe break in protocol.

"The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming ot of Washington?" Mr Trump tweeted. "Will these leaks be happening as I deal with N Korea etc?"

But despite the President's deflection, questions still remain about Mr Flynn's ties to the Russian government – not to mention how much Mr Trump and his team knew, and what exactly they knew, before Monday.

In a resignation letter, Mr Flynn said he gave Vice President Mike Pence and others "incomplete information" about his calls with Russia's ambassador to the US.

Apparently relying on this information, Mr Pence initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, though Mr Flynn later conceded the issue may have come up.

"Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador," Mr Flynn wrote in his resignation letter. "I have sincerely apologised to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology."

"I am tendering my resignation," Mr Flynn wrote, "honoured to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way."

Kellyanne Conway tried to explain Flynn's resignation was told on national TV she 'made no sense'

In the final days of the Obama administration, the Justice Department had warned the White House and the Trump transition team that Mr Flynn may have "put himself in a compromising position" with Russia.

The issue had been address by former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, whom President Trump fired after she directed the DOJ not to defend the current administration's travel ban in court.

However, when news broke of Mr Flynn's phone call with the Russian envoy, Mr Trump claimed he had no idea what reporters were talking about.

"I don't know about that, I haven't seen it," Mr Trump said aboard Air Force One last week. "What report is that? I haven't seen that. I'll look into that."