Russian state media says Donald Trump's security adviser Michael Flynn 'retired'

The Moscow-sponsored broadaster was mocked online

Harriet Agerholm
Tuesday 14 February 2017 12:44 GMT
Michael Flynn resigned amid a series of intelligence leakings that he had secretly discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador
Michael Flynn resigned amid a series of intelligence leakings that he had secretly discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador (Reuters)

A Russian state broadcaster announced the resignation of Donald Trump's national security adviser as his "retirement" in a tweet sent shortly after he quit.

Michael Flynn stepped down amid a series of intelligence leaks that claimed he had secretly discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to Washington and then tried to hide details of their conversations from Vice-President Mike Pence.

But Russia Today – a TV network and online news site funded by the Russian government – said in a Twitter post that the former lieutenant general had retired.

The tweet, which apparently ignored the scandal that alleged Russian interference in US politics, was widely ridiculed online and was later deleted.

Further articles and posts written by Russia Today correctly said Mr Flynn has resigned.

The former lieutenant general, who served as secretary general for less than a month, admitted to giving “incomplete information” about a phone call he had with Ambassador Sergey Kislya in late December, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration.

He had previously denied having any substantive conversations with the ambassador. Mr Pence had repeated that claim in television interviews.

After Mr Flynn's departure, one senior Russian politician said it was clear he had been compelled to quit in an effort to damage Russia-US ties.

"It's obvious that Flynn was forced to write the letter of resignation under a certain amount of pressure," Leonid Slutsky told the RIA news agency., ,

The head of Russia's lower house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, added: The target was Russia-US relations, undermining confidence in the new US administration. We'll see how the situation develops further."

Michael Flynn resigns as national security adviser over Russia row

Mr Slutsky's counterpart in the upper chamber of the parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, described Mr Flynn's apparent dismissal over his ties with Russia as "not just paranoia but something even worse".

He said in a Facebook post: "Either Trump hasn't found the necessary independence and he's been driven into a corner... or russophobia has permeated the new administration from top to bottom."

Yet Mr Flynn's exit may not resolve lingering suspicions about the Trump team's pre-election contact with the Kremlin.

The administration is facing further difficulty over allegations a former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief accepted money in 2015 for a speaking engagement in Moscow — a transaction that may have broken military rules.

The leaks from inside the US intelligence community also indicate that Mr Flynn's contact with the Russian ambassador dated from before the election, reviving existing questions about whether the Trump campaign knew of Russian plans to interfere in the Presidential elections

Several groups are investigating whether wrongdoing took place including The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Adam Schiff, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the panel, said questions about Mr Flynn's contact with the Russians remained after his departure.

“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," he said.

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