The White House spin on Flynn’s departure is only getting more self-contradictory

Spicer and Conway are telling mutually exclusive stories. Who’s lying this time?

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Was National Security Adviser Michael Flynn sacked or did he resign of his own volition? The White House can’t seem to make up its mind.

On Tuesday afternoon, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump had asked for Flynn’s resignation on Monday, several days after the Washington Post reported the national security adviser had discussed U.S. sanctions with a Russian diplomat prior to Trump’s inauguration and then lied about it. But Spicer’s account of Flynn’s departure flew in the face of the account given just hours earlier by White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Here’s Spicer on Tuesday afternoon: “The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for Gen. Flynn’s resignation.”

And here’s Conway, speaking to NBC’s Matt Lauer on Tuesday morning: “I spoke with the president this morning. He asked me to speak on his behalf and reiterate that Mike Flynn had resigned. He decided that the situation had become unsustainable for him, here, and of course the president accepted that resignation.”

Later that morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also contradicted Conway and said that Trump had asked for Flynn’s resignation.

Did he offer his resignation, or was it demanded?

The White House’s fogginess regarding Monday night’s resignation is just one more mystery among several related to Flynn’s dealings with Russia. Shortly before Spicer’s Tuesday press conference, a group of Republican senators said Flynn should be called to testify as part of a broader investigation into links between the White House and the Kremlin.