By: Savin Mattozzi ~Staff Writer~
Former national security adviser and retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, resigned last Monday when it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about communications he had with Russia’s ambassador concerning sanctions prior to President Trump’s inauguration.
The communications in question were a series of phone calls in which Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.
The Logan Act, a 1799 statute, prohibits private U.S. citizens from interfering or negotiating with foreign governments without authorization.
Chair and associate professor of political science, Dr. Mack Mariani, explained that Flynn operated in a legal gray area when he communicated with Kislyak in late 2016.
“When incoming administration’s personnel are in contact with foreign governments, it raises questions about whether those not-yet officials are in violation of the Logan Act,” Mariani said.
“Partly, it depends on questions of authorization: Who is authorized to speak for the United States? If they are acting on behalf of the president-elect, that’s kind of a gray area. Likewise, what constitutes negotiation and what constitutes simple conversation and relationship-building is also unclear. To date, no individual has been convicted under the Logan Act.”
Mariani continued that the legal question now is not whether Flynn misled the vice president, but whether he told the truth to investigators while under oath.
In his resignation letter, Flynn explained that due to “fast passed events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
Trump’s first pick as a replacement was Vice Adm. Robert Harward, a retired Navy SEAL and former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Howard turned down the positon because of family commitments and will continue working as a senior executive for Lockheed Martin.
Since then Trump has named Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster as his national security advisor.
McMaster served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014.
James Bays of Al Jazeera referred to McMaster as being seen as “one of the thinkers of the U.S. military.”
McMaster does not need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as he is an independent aide to the President.