Defense Secretary James Mattis appears unconcerned about the resignation of President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, telling reporters Tuesday the exit has "no impact."
In an interview ahead of his arrival in Brussels for a NATO meeting, Mattis opened up for questions from reporters who also were on the flight, according to reports by Yahoo News and The Washington Post.
Video of the remarks was posted by Mediaite.
"Here's the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "I'm brought in to be the secretary of defense. I give the president advice on the use of military force. I maintain good relations, strong relations . . . and so military-to-military relations with other ministries of defense around the world.
"And frankly, this has no impact. Obviously, I haven't changed what I'm heading there for. It doesn't change my message at all. And who's on the president's staff is who I will work with."
Flynn and Mattis reportedly have a history.
From August 2010 to March 2013, Mattis, then a Marine general, led an investigation into unauthorized disclosures of classified information allegedly made by Flynn, who was then a lieutenant general in the Army.
According to The Washington Post, the probe found Flynn shared "classified information with various foreign military officers and/or officials in Afghanistan without proper authorization."
Flynn was not disciplined because the disclosures were not done "knowingly" and not damaging to national security, Business Insider reported. After the investigation, Flynn was assigned to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency in September 2011, and left in 2014.
In November, NBC News reported Flynn crossed Mattis' name off a list of candidates for national-security positions in the Trump administration.
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