Retired Army General Kellogg named acting security adviser
Foreign Relations chairman calls for ‘fulsome investigation’
President Donald Trump asked his national security adviser to resign after White House lawyers reviewed a warning from the Justice Department that Michael Flynn had misled officials about his conversations with a Russian envoy and could be vulnerable to blackmail.
The White House counsel, Don McGahn, “determined that there was not a legal issue but a trust issue,” Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Tuesday. Flynn’s conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador and the possibility that he misled Vice President Mike Pence “and others” about those discussions “created a critical mass and an unsustainable situation,” Spicer said.
“That’s why the president asked for his resignation and he got it,” Spicer said. He said the situation had caused an “evolving and eroding level of trust.”
Less than a month into his presidency, Trump’s national security team is in disarray. An all-hands meeting was called for the National Security Council staff Tuesday morning, where the agency’s acting director, retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, and two deputies K.T. McFarland and Thomas Bossert, all spoke, according to people familiar with the matter.
The meeting lasted about 20 minutes and the agency’s leaders said that their priority was to pull together and support the president, one of the people said. Trump did not attend, nor did his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, or his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon.
Trump’s aides are vetting as many as three other former high-ranking military officers in addition to Kellogg as potential successors to Flynn, according to people familiar with the process. They are retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, former CIA director David Petraeus, and Robert Kimmitt, a West Point graduate who rose to the rank of major general in the Army Reserve.
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