Trump’s Trusted General Resigns Over Russian Contacts

Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine called him a “fourth-grade conspiracy theorist.” His son was the chief architect of a false rumor that Mrs. Clinton ran a child sex ring in a D.C. pizza place.

Gen. Mike Flynn, White House National Security Adviser, was forced to resign on Monday night after a media storm over his call to a Russian ambassador before President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated. He was condemned for discussing sanctions against Russia in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from engaging diplomacy with foreign officials.

It was a moment to seize for Mrs. Clinton, who quoted a tweet that offered jobs at Domino’s pizza for Flynns: “… the real consequences of fake news…”

Mr. Flynn had been an unwavering surrogate for Mr. Trump during the bruising electoral campaign last year. He was one of the first ones Mr. Trump honored during his election night victory speech. But he went down in history as a national security adviser with the shortest tenure — 24 days. White House national security advisers stay on the job for nearly 1,000 days on average.

Despite a tremendous pressure by Democrats, it was not clear if and when Mr. Flynn would go after revelations that he violated laws by discussing the sanctions relief with Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey I. Kislyak. Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s counselor, even said on MSNBC earlier on Monday that Mr. Flynn has the president’s “full confidence.”

The general’s exit was accelerated after Washington Post reported on Monday that the Justice Department warned the White House over a possibility that Russians may blackmail Mr. Flynn because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Pence repeatedly denied allegations in televised interviews that Mr. Flynn discussed sanctions relief with the ambassador and said the talk was only limited to “holiday pleasantries.”

The media reported that Mr. Pence was angered when he learned that the general lied to him. Instead of admitting that he made a false statement to the vice president, Mr. Flynn told Mr. Pence that he could not recall if he discussed the sanctions relief with the Russian envoy.

In a statement Mr. Flynn released on Monday that announced his resignation, he said “because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.” He said he apologized to Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump and they accepted his apology.

In one of the past interviews, Mr. Flynn admitted that he received speaking engagements fees from Russia. He traveled to Moscow to attend the 10th anniversary of Russia Today network, a Kremlin-financed mouthpiece of the Russian government. The U.S. Constitution does not allow former military officers to accept money from foreign governments.

Mr. Flynn was also under fire for working with a Dutch group that is owned by a businessman close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Flynn wrote a favorable piece about Turkey and Mr. Erdogan on the very election day.