A Russian official said Tuesday that the resignation of President Trump’s national security adviser may show early signs that the administration has been “infected” by anti-Russian feelings, Reuters reported.
Michael Flynn handed in his resignation late Monday night, conceding that he gave “incomplete information” about his calls with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
“Either Trump has not gained the requisite independence and he is consequently being not unsuccessfully backed into a corner, or Russophobia has already infected the new administration also from top to bottom,” MP Konstantin Kosachev said, according to news reports out of the country.
Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said in a post on Facebook that firing a national security adviser for his contacts with Russia is “not just paranoia but something even worse.”
Kosachev’s counterpart at the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, Alexei Pushkov, tweeted shortly after the announcement that “it was not Flynn who was targeted but relations with Russia.”
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 during the campaign.
Trump is also considering former CIA Director David Petraeus and Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a U.S. Navy SEAL, for the post, according to a senior administration official.
The Trump team’s account of Flynn’s discussions with the Russian envoy changed repeatedly over several weeks, including the number of contacts, the dates of those contacts and ultimately, the content of the conversations.
Late last month, the Justice Department warned the White House that Flynn could be in a compromised position 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, which were picked up as part of routine monitoring of foreign officials communications in the U.S.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that Flynn was in frequent contact with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the day the Obama administration slapped sanctions on Russia for election-related hacking, as well as at other times during the transition.