WASHINGTON (JTA) — Michael Flynn, the national security adviser who emerged as a key player in President Donald Trump’s Iran strategy, resigned just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived for his first White House summit with Trump.
Flynn quit late Monday after acknowledging that he had misled other administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about a phone call he had with the Russian ambassador in December.
Flynn had denied discussing with the ambassador sanctions imposed on Russia for its alleged interference in the U.S. elections. Reports this week said transcripts of the calls compiled by U.S. intelligence showed that the sanctions were indeed discussed.
Law enforcement and intelligence officials feared Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail because he had misled others about the call.
The timing of Flynn’s resignation was inopportune for Netanyahu, who landed in Washington Monday night for his first meeting with Trump as president, which will take place on Wednesday.
A key agenda item at the summit will be how to confront Iran given the strictures of the deal reached in 2015 between Iran and the international community trading sanctions relief for a rollback in Iran’s nuclear program.