Let’s briefly break down exactly what happened with the Michael Flynn national security fiasco, shall we?
After Donald Trump won the severely-contentious 2016 election allegedly via the handlers of the Russian government, then-President Obama hit the Russians right where it hurt: a series of sanctions that were aimed at damaging their diplomatic standing and subsequent influence within the U.S. and its interests.
In response, soon after and before Trump actual became president, would-be National Security Adviser Michael Flynn allegedly reached out to Russian leadership as a civilian to discuss and negotiate the sanctions themselves – which is illegal.
Flynn initially denied having discussed sanctions with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, and Vice-President Mike Pence publicly denied the allegations on his behalf.
But according to a report from the Justice Department, the Trump White House had in fact been notified of Flynn’s illegal contact with the Russian government and that his actions could expose he and the country’s national security as vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
And the report itself? Well as it turns out, it was delivered by the former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. If her name sounds familiar, it should: she was recently fired from her position by Donald Trump himself shortly thereafter for famously opposing his controversial Muslim travel ban.
By Flynn’s own telling in his letter of resignation, the White House is at no fault. According to the retired army lieutenant-general himself, Flynn “inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador” late last year.
In short, the former National Security Adviser is insisting that the Trump/Pence team is free and clear and apparently knew nothing of his illegal negotiations to reverse sanctions imposed by the president’s predecessor, thereby acquitting the administration of facilitating any wrongdoing while disassociating himself of any future blackmail material.
More questions, fewer answers
Despite Flynn’s resignation, the implications fun far deeper than the Trump administration wants to admit.
Not even a month into his presidency, the Trump promise of political transparency is taking yet another huge hit. On the scandal itself, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway recently said of the administration’s answer to the alleged implications: “We’re moving on.”
But the idea that the future (and now former) National Security Adviser to President Donald J. Trump – perhaps the most vainly self-aggrandizing figure to hold office since Richard Nixon – would autonomously negotiate with Russian ambassadors without Mr. Trump’s full knowledge reeks of utter nonsense.
Trump’s universally-contested legitimacy as president has already been linked to Russian involvement – an involvement that seems even more likely now that Michael Flynn has finally admitted to colluding with the foreign government prior to his boss taking office.
Whether we chalk it up to the Trump administration’s negligence regarding its own staff, ignorance of the rules and restrictions of governing as opposed to the “Art of the Deal”, or something for more nefariously international – either way, something’s got to give.Click here for reuse options!
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