House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that he supports the ouster of President Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
“You cannot have a national security adviser misleading the vice president and others,” Ryan told reporters at a weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill. “So I think the president was right to ask for his resignation.”
The comments followed a report that Flynn had discussed easing American sanctions imposed on Moscow in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — and had misled the administration about his conversations with Moscow.
Ryan said he would leave it up to the White House to discuss “the circumstances that led” to Flynn’s ouster, but “the key is this: As soon as the person lost the president’s trust, the president asked for his resignation, and that was the right thing to do.”
Ryan’s comments seemed to contradict the Trump administration’s initial version of events. The White House announced that Flynn resigned late Monday, hours after Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway insisted Flynn enjoyed “the full confidence of the president.”
On NBC’s “Today” show Monday morning, Conway said Flynn “decided it was best to resign” because he realized “he had become a lightning rod, and he made that decision.”
But at his daily press briefing Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump indeed asked for Flynn’s resignation.
In his resignation letter, Flynn claimed that “because of the fast pace of events,” he “inadvertently” briefed Vice President Mike Pence and others “with incomplete information” regarding his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.
“I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology,” Flynn wrote. “I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way. I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world.”
Ryan was also asked about reports that Trump and his aides were preparing a response to North Korea’s missile test in full view of guests at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday night. The scene raised eyebrows among former White House security officials.
“Talking about foreign policy at the dinner table is perfectly appropriate,” Ryan said.
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