15:22 GMT16 July 2020
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    US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said while en route to Europe on Thursday that the resignation of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn has had no impact on his mission to meet with NATO and allied defense ministers in Belgium and Germany.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The controversy surrounding Flynn began when someone leaked information that he was speaking to Russian officials and urging them not to overreact to the sanctions placed on them by the Obama administration — implying that the Trump administration may have a different position on Russia than his predecessor.

    Flynn resigned after media reported based on leaked information that Flynn has misled Trump administration officials on the extent of his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak focused on anti-Russia sanctions.

    "Here's the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen," Mattis explained. "I'm brought in to be the secretary of defense and I give the president advice on the use of military force and frankly, this has no impact on what I'm heading there [to Europe] for."

    Mattis pointed out that Flynn's departure from the Trump administration does not change the message at all.

    "And who's on the president's staff is who I will work with," Mattis added.

    In Europe, Mattis will attend the annual Munich Security Conference from February 17 to February 19 where he will hold meetings with defense ministers with other major nations from around the world.

    Mattis plans to emphasize the continued commitment of the US government to the NATO alliance and to defeating Daesh.


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