US Vice President Mike Pence was only told about warnings given to the White House by the Department of Justice about the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two weeks after they were originally given, officials have said.

Pence publicly defended Flynn while it appears that he was being left in the dark by other officials in the administration. While the White House was told on 26 January, NBC reports, Pence was not notified until 9 February.

Flynn resigned from the post of National Security Adviser on Monday night (13 February) after it was alleged he held phone calls with the Russian ambassador in which he discussed easing US sanctions before he held public office. This may have broken a US law that private citizens cannot engage in foreign policy.

Reports then said Flynn had misled other officials, including Pence, in what had happened, leading them to defend him while not knowing all the information.

In his resignation letter, Flynn said that "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 am tendering my resignation, honoured to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way," Flynn wrote. The speed of his departure , after just three weeks in the job, is unprecedented.

The scandal looks particularly bad for an administration fighting off accusations of collusion with Russia, including conclusions from the US intelligence committee that top level Kremlin officials had ordered interference in last year's election to swing it in President Trump's favour.

Russian politicians reacted badly to the news of Flynn's departure, with Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the lower committee on international affairs in Russia's parliament, quoted as saying: "This is kind of a negative signal for the establishment of the Russian-American dialogue."

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that it is "highly likely" Flynn will be investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee: "The intelligence committee is already looking at Russian involvement in our election ... it is highly likely they will want to take a look at this episode as well. They have the broad jurisdiction to do it."