Michael Flynn has become the first person from President Trump’s administration to resign from his position. The former National Security Adviser decided to step down from the job after reports came forward about not giving President Trump and Vice President Pence a full report on conversations he had with the Russian ambassador. President Trump and Vice President Pence have said that they forgive Flynn for his actions after he sincerely apologized. His sudden resignation has opened more questions about the stability of the administration and what the future may hold for the presidency.
Prior to Flynn’s resignation, the Department of Justice expressed their doubt about his appointment and stated that they feared that Flynn might be at risk to be blackmailed by the Russian government. Here are seven facts you should know about Flynn, his past and the circumstances surrounding his departure.
1. The FBI was investigating Flynn’s connection with Russia.
A few days before his resignation, the Washington Post reported that federal intelligence officials recorded Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. These phone calls took place prior to President Trump’s inauguration and caused Trump to call into question how federal departments were leaking information to the media. However, the phone calls may have simply been recorded by the FBI because calls that are made to and from Russia are often monitored. The FBI has now cleared Flynn of any illicit activity based on their reviews.
2. The Army launched an investigation into Flynn in 2015.
Having received money after visiting Moscow in 2015, the United States Army decided to look into Flynn’s relationship with Russia. Two defense officials told the New York Times about the investigation. Flynn has publicly admitted to being paid by Russia, having appeared on their national government-influenced television programming numerous times. The issue with the payment falls under the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. This clause prohibits former military officers from receiving money via foreign governments without consent from Congress, consent that it appears Flynn did not receive.
3. Flynn shared information with foreign leaders without permission.
According to a report published by the Washington Post in regards to the United States Army, Flynn was investigated for the unauthorized sharing of classified information with foreign officials while he served as a Major General in the army. Though the investigation remains private, the report states that the army received a complaint from a Navy Intelligence Specialist stating that Flynn was sharing information that he was not given permission to share. Fortunately for the United States, the information shared had no effect on security and the Army determined that Flynn didn’t realize he was breaking the law.
4. He has a publicly poor relationship with former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
After retiring from the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, rumors swirled around about whether he actually retired or was fired. After Powell’s emails were leaked, the rumors gained traction as Powell had stated in an email that he heard that Flynn was fired for abusive tendencies with the staff, not listening to instructions and “working against policy.” In the leaked emails, Powell called Flynn a “right-wing nutty,” claiming that he had started acting that way after leaving the DIA. Flynn did not take the emails lightly and blasted back at the former Secretary of State, saying that he doesn’t disparage people in his emails and that he follows the golden rule, treat others like you’d like to be treated. Flynn told former Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly that the situation was “soap opera-level stuff.”
5. He is a registered democrat.
Though he was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention and was hired to be a part of a conservative administration, Flynn is a registered democrat. Growing up, his family was considered to be a “very strong democratic family” and he stated in an interview with ABC that he believes women should have the right to choose whether or not they want an abortion. However, after being put under heavy fire, he retracted his comments and said that he was pro-life.
6. He wrote a book against Radical Islam.
Published in 2016, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies is a book that Flynn co-authored with Michael Leedan. The book states that America is still at war with Radical Islam because of political correctness. It goes on to say that America is going against “an international alliance of evil countries and movements that is working to destroy us.” The book advocates for an overthrow of the Iranian government as a tactic to end Radical Islam and calls for an increase in military action across the board.