After General Michael Flynn's resignation as Donald Trump's national security advisor, the US President's political environment may push him toward a new confrontation with Russia, Alexey Fenenko, Associate Professor at Moscow State University's World Politics Department, told RIA Novosti.
"This means the weakening of the wing which stands for a constructive dialogue with Russia and China. I think that there will be more people in Trump's entourage pushing him to take a hard line on Russia. First of all it's the present Vice President [Mike Pence]. This group will really push [Trump] toward a new confrontation," Fenenko assumed.
"Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of 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," Flynn wrote in his resignation letter.
Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller News Foundation highlighted Tuesday that in the final hours before his resignation Flynn told the media outlet that he "crossed no lines" in his talk with Russia's Ambassador Kislyak.
"In some of these cases, you're talking about stuff that's taken off of a classified system and given to a reporter. That's a crime," Flynn told the media outlet.
"We have to wonder that people who work for our government, who are entrusted with classified information, decisional-based materials are leaking that information out. That, I do believe is a big story," he said voicing serious concerns about the "politicization of intelligence."
In his recent op-ed, Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake echoed Flynn.
"Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do," Lake wrote.
The columnist noted that while it's possible that Flynn had more links with Russia that he kept secret from his colleagues it's equally possible that "a group of national security bureaucrats and former Obama officials are selectively leaking highly sensitive law enforcement information to undermine the elected government."
Thank you to Eli Lake of The Bloomberg View — "The NSA & FBI…should not interfere in our politics…and is" Very serious situation for USA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 15 февраля 2017 г.
In response to Lake's article President Trump tweeted Wednesday: "Thank you to Eli Lake of The Bloomberg View — 'The NSA & FBI…should not interfere in our politics…and is' Very serious situation for USA."
Kharlamov believes that Trump's opponents seek to force the US President into following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and adopting a tougher stance toward Russia. However, if that doesn't work, they will try to impeach Trump, the Russian journalist suggested.
Indeed, US mainstream media have recently raised the alarm over Trump's alleged ties with Russia during his election campaign.
On Tuesday, the New York Times and CNN reported that Trump's aides and associates had contacts with Russian intelligence services, citing unnamed American officials.
What deserves special attention is that no proof has yet been presented to confirm these claims.
Callum Borches of the Washington Post pointed out that "both of the stories use zero on-the-record sources to back up their claims."
Borches added that the two media outlets admitted that there is still no evidence to prove Trump's "collusion" with Russia as well as no proof that his aides' alleged conversations with Moscow "had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself."
"The bottom line is there is no proof that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election. Absent such proof, the significance of communication between the campaign and Russian intelligence officials is unclear," Borches pointed out.
According to Fenenko, Flynn's ouster has not dealt a heavy blow to the Trump administration. However, the Russian scholar doesn't exclude the possibility of further reshuffling of the cabinet.
"I think this will not be the last resignation," Fenenko said.