by Nick Shepard – Staff Reporter
Following his surprise resignation Monday night, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn became the shortest serving national security advisor in the position’s 64 year history, having served under President Trump for a mere 24 days.
Flynn’s legitimacy has been repeatedly called into question in the past weeks, in response to calls he was found to have had with Washington’s ambassador from Russia, Sergey Kislyak, on December 29th.
Incidentally, this call occurred on the same day that former President Obama placed sanctions on Russia, restricting 35 Russian diplomats living in the U.S. and sending them home.
Kislyak was also found to have texted Flynn on December 28th, although they didn’t connect via phone that day.
Many see Flynn’s association with Kislyak before he was officially a member of the government as a violation of the Logan Act, passed in 1799, which prohibits American citizens from dealing with foreign powers, whether they’re an ally or enemy. The intention was to stop these negotiations from undermining the legitimacy of the government’s powers.
Those skeptical of this initial explanation question the reasoning behind an incoming U.S. national security advisor conduct this work, when any number of other members of Trump’s team could have done. By the same token, critics wonder why Kislyak, a career politician who’s served as the U.S. ambassador since 2008, would be given such a job.
In the days leading up to Flynn’s resignation, U.S. intelligence officials reported that Flynn had in fact discussed sanctions with Kislyak, a violation of the aforementioned Logan Act.
An official investigation has been called for by leading Senate Republicans into not only Flynn’s ties with Russia, but Trump’s involvement in the entire Flynn-Russia situation. It was confirmed that Trump has known about the true nature of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak since the 26th of January, and kept the knowledge from Vice President Pence until only several days ago.
Many of those pushing for investigation are concerned that Flynn may have purposely misled Pence in his account of his correspondence with Kislyak, causing Pence to deny on national television that discussion of the sanctions had taken place.
Following the surprise opening Flynn’s position, Joseph Keith Kellogg Jr. was sworn in as acting national security advisor. Like Flynn, he is a retired Army Lieutenant General, serving from 1967 to 2003 and participating in the Vietnam War and Operation Urgent Fury.