This Week’s Top Story:

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Resigns After Concern Over Russian Talks

Embroiled in controversy, and just weeks after his appointment, Michael T. Flynn handed in his letter of resignation as the White House National Security Advisor.

Flynn resigned late Monday night, once it became clear that the Department of Justice had briefed the White House on Flynn’s potential vulnerability to blackmail from Russia. Flynn also gave incorrect information to Vice President Mike Pence and others after conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the United States.

According to his resignation letter, Flynn admitted to, and apologized for, “inadvertently” providing incomplete information about his discussions. The Trump administration expressed concern that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian diplomat weeks ago, despite not yet being authorized to do so. However, investigators have not found any illegal actions thus far, although unauthorized citizens are legally disallowed from negotiating with foreign governments, according to the 1799 Logan Act.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the odds of a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the matter “highly likely” on Tuesday.

In Tuesday’s daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer remarked on Flynn’s resignation.

“The level of trust between the President and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt that he had to make a change. The President was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the Vice President and others.”

He re-emphasized that “this was not an illegal issue, just a trust issue.”

In the absence of an appointee, Gen. Joseph Kellogg Jr. will serve as acting National Security Advisor until the administration appoints a replacement, who was previously Chief of Staff on the National Security Council serving under Flynn.

 

Also This Week:

…From Local News

In a meeting with the Providence City Council, the Providence Police Department continued work on implementing an officer body camera policy. In addition to a $375 million federal grant, the Department is considering a five-year contract with TASER International to supply 250 cameras.  

On Monday, The Coventry Town Council considered a city ordinance that would require residents to clear their sidewalks of snow, which would carry a potential monetary fine. The ordinance, scheduled beforehand, comes at a time just after a 19-year-old was killed in a hit and run incident while in the street next to an uncleared sidewalk.

Central Falls’ Town Council approved an ordinance which banned the sale of tobacco in the city to anyone under 21 years of age. No other city in Rhode Island has implemented such a law, but some large cities around the country, such as Boston, New York City, and Chicago have passed similar bans.

…From National News

Steven Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs banker, was confirmed 53-47 by the Senate as Secretary of the Treasury on Monday. All Republicans in the Senate and one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin voted “Yes,” while all remaining Democrats and both Independents voted “No.”

The Office of Government Ethics recommended that the White House take disciplinary measures against Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump administration advisor. The Office stated that Conway’s words, on a televised news program, encouraging viewers to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line violated government ethics standards.

Yale University plans to rename a residence hall building currently named after John C. Calhoun, a prominent Yale Alumnus, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Congressman in the 19th century who also supported slavery. The building will be renamed for Alumna Grace Murray Hopper, an innovating computer scientist and officer in the Navy.

…From World News

A Philadelphia judge ordered Google to comply with FBI requests to view emails for users who are not U.S. citizens, in the case that they are required for a domestic investigation.

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, officially rejected a petition which would have prevented Donald Trump from making a U.K. state visit, and stated that the President will be granted a full state visit as is customary.

Kim Jong Nam, brother of Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, died suddenly on Monday at an airport in Malaysia. Authorities in Malaysia are investigating, but the cause of death remains unclear.