Michael Flynn had to give up his role as national security adviser because of “illegal leaks” by government whistleblowers, according to President Trump.
DailyMail.com pointed out that Flynn resigned Monday night after admitting he met with a Russian ambassador in December, a month before Trump’s inauguration. He reportedly promised the envoy that the new administration would rescind economic sanctions that former President Obama slapped on Russia. Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others when he denied having had contact with the ambassador.
On Tuesday morning, in Trump’s first public comments about Flynn since accepting the adviser’s resignation, he focused on informants and the news media. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” he tweeted. “Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?” While Trump did not explain what he meant, he may have been referring to North Korea’s recent missile test.
An unidentified presidential aide later doubled down on the tweet, telling DailyMail.com: “No one expected the enemy within would be so shameless. It’s disgusting, especially coming from inside the intelligence community.”
It is unknown whether any whistleblowers who may have been responsible for releasing incriminating information about Flynn will lose their jobs or face prosecution. Trump may continue the Obama administration’s tough stance on informants, which resulted in more criminal charges against whistleblowers than in all previous presidencies combined.
CNN reported that plans are already under way for a bipartisan congressional investigation of the alleged leaks. Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who will be in charge of the probe, stressed he is not interested in finding out what Trump knew about the former national security adviser’s ties to Russia.
Flynn was the second Trump to lose his job because of Russian connections. In August, campaign manager Paul Manafort resigned when reporters revealed that he had worked as an adviser to a Ukrainian oligarch who was closely allied with Putin.