The Trump administration is trying to portray the Russians as more aggressive than the United States after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned, as part of a broader cover-up of the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the White House said Wednesday.
The White House did not elaborate on what exactly prompted Flynn’s resignation and said the White “continues to be confident that the Russians were not involved in our election.”
The president and his aides have been under intense scrutiny since Flynn resigned amid reports that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others about the nature of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks leading up to the November election.
Flynn had previously been in talks to be Trump’s pick to become national security advisor, a job that would have given him wide latitude to make decisions on national security and foreign policy.
But on Wednesday, Trump’s administration said the president is “extremely disappointed” in Flynn, saying he “failed to report” contacts with Kislyak and misled Vice President Pence and other White House officials about them.
In a statement, the administration said Flynn was fired because of “a pattern of poor judgment and gross misconduct.”
The White house has made no specific allegations about any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and has instead focused on the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin in influencing the election, a statement said.
Fate of the U.S.-Russia relationship is still unknown, however.
The president has long called the U,S.-Russian relationship a “buddy system,” a reference to the friendship that the two countries built during the Cold War.
In February, Trump announced a new U.K.-Russian partnership in a tweet, saying it would “be the greatest thing that ever happened to NATO.”
Trump also said he was considering appointing a “strong, independent” U.N. ambassador to the U.-N.
General Assembly, though that has yet to be confirmed by the 193-nation body.
The Kremlin has been particularly focused on undermining the U-S.
relationship, especially with regard to U.A.E. sanctions against Russia imposed over its annexation of Crimea.
The U.KS’ new ambassador, Alexander Vershbow, is known as a tough negotiator who has pushed back against Russia, while the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, has also been an outspoken critic of the United Kingdom.