Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Embattled Trump security adviser Michael Flynn quits

Embattled Trump security adviser Michael Flynn quits

Mr Trump, a reality television star and real estate mogul who was elected as an outsider intent on change, opened a hastily arranged news conference to attack coverage by the news media. Dismissal will not be the end of the Flynn affair. "They're going to pay a big price for leaking".

The President said he would announce a "new and very comprehensive order to protect our people" some time next week.

The conversation took place before Gen Flynn took up his NSA post and also before Mr Trump was inaugurated as president.

On Capitol Hill, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday introduced companion legislation to a Senate measure aiming to enhance congressional oversight of Russian sanctions.

Trump says that while the leaks coming out of his administration are real, the news stories being written about them are still fake news. "I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador", Flynn wrote. If so, what was discussed? The President's spokesman, Sean Spicer, told reporters the President was speaking with Mr Pence and others about the matter, according to the Associated Press.

Trump did not definitively rule out the possibility his campaign advisers had contact with Russian operatives, despite being pressed three separate times.

But Republican critics of Mr Trump, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, voiced fresh consternation.

Mr Trump's judgment is in question. In short, Mr Trump is not a details man. NSC staff members have been told keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps.

Democrats, doubting Mr Trump's Justice Department or the Republican-led Congress will pursue the matter vigorously, have demanded an independent investigation of possible illegal communications between Mr Flynn and the Russian government, and any efforts by Mr Flynn or other White House officials to hide wrongdoing.

Trump denied knowing anything about Flynn discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador when, in fact, he did.

He said those reports were "fake news" and said he would look into investigating the leaks, which he said were "criminal". A barrage of furious Trump tweets against the intelligence services points to trouble ahead.

Trump added a caveat to his all-is-well mantra, saying he sees a country plagued by job loss and low wages, while confronting Islamic extremists in the Middle East and threats posed by North Korea and Iran.

The alleged connections of Trump and members of his inner circle to the Kremlin continue to cause controversy. And the president, who sold himself to voters as a straight-talker, needs to avoid the suspicion that he is trying to sweep the Russian questions under the Oval Office carpet. Observers suggest secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defence secretary James Mattis are in one group, with political advisers Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway - a group that has its own internal battles - in another.

Trump has named Lt. Gen Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr., as his acting national security adviser. That might lead to a steadier foreign policy to bolster recent affirmations of America's support for the one-China principle, Japan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which had been in doubt.

Trump said he was fine with WikiLeaks because it never leaked classified information.

Meanwhile, efforts to get Mr Trump to focus on complicated issues are not straightforward.

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