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Michael Flynn: Trump aide resigns after Russia controversy

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia.

His departure comes less than a month after Trump’s inauguration.

In a resignation letter, Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, before Trump took office and gave “incomplete information” about those discussions to Vice President Mike Pence.

The vice president, reportedly relying on information from Flynn, had publicly said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy.

Flynn later conceded that the issue may have come up.

The revelations are the latest destabilising blows to an administration that has already suffered a major legal defeat.

On Monday, Trump named retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg as the acting national security adviser.

Kellogg had previously been appointed the National Security Council chief of staff and advised Trump on national security issues during the campaign.

The Trump team’s account of Flynn’s discussions with the Russian envoy changed repeatedly over several weeks.

Those included the number of contacts, the dates of those contacts and the content of the conversations.

It emerged that last month the Justice Department warned that Flynn could be at risk of blackmail as a result of the contradictions between the public depictions of the calls and what intelligence officials knew to be true based on recordings of the conversations.

It was unclear when Trump and Pence learned about the Justice Department outreach.

The Washington Post was the first to report the communication between former acting attorney general Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, and the Trump White House.

The White House had indicated that Flynn’s future was in doubt when spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump was “evaluating the situation”.

Asked whether the president had been aware that Flynn might have discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, Spicer said: “No, absolutely not.”

Flynn’s discussions with the Russian raised questions about whether Flynn offered assurances about the incoming administration’s new approach.

He was a loyal Trump supporter during the campaign, but he is viewed sceptically by some in the administration’s national security circles, partly because of his ties to Russia.

In 2015, Flynn was paid to attend a gala dinner for Russia Today, a Kremlin-backed television station, and sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the event.

Kellogg takes charge of the helm of the National Security Council at a time when the new administration is battling with a series of national security challenges, including North Korea’s reported ballistic missile launch.

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