• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Michael Flynn Out As National Security Adviser

Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, a close adviser to Donald Trump throughout the campaign who became a Trump’s National Security Adviser just over three weeks ago, has resigned amid allegations that he discussed sanctions policy with the Russian Ambassador to the United States prior to taking office and then lied about it to transition officials and incoming Vice-President Mike Pence, resigned late last night after his actions and misrepresentations were becoming a serious problem for the Trump Administration:

Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, resigned on Monday night after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Flynn, who served in the job for less than a month, said he had given “incomplete information” regarding a telephone call he had with the ambassador in late December about American sanctions against Russia, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. Mr. Flynn previously had denied that he had any substantive conversations with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, and Mr. Pence repeated that claim in television interviews as recently as this month.

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

In his resignation letter, which the White House emailed to reporters, Mr. Flynn said he had held numerous calls with foreign officials during the transition. “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,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

The White House said in the statement that it was replacing Mr. Flynn with retired Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr. of the Army, a Vietnam War veteran, as acting national security adviser.

Mr. Flynn was an early and ardent supporter of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, and in his resignation he sought to praise the president. “In just three weeks,” Mr. Flynn said, the new president “has reoriented American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world.”

But in doing so, he inadvertently illustrated the brevity of his tumultuous run at the National Security Council, and the chaos that has gripped the White House in the first weeks of the Trump administration — and created a sense of uncertainty around the world.

Earlier Monday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters that “the president is evaluating the situation” about Mr. Flynn’s future. By Monday evening, Mr. Flynn’s fortunes were rapidly shifting — his resignation came roughly seven hours after Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, said on MSNBC that Mr. Trump had “full confidence” in the retired general.

And when he did step down, it happened so quickly that his resignation does not appear to have been communicated to National Security Council staff members, two of whom said they learned about it from news reports.

Officials said Mr. Pence had told others in the White House that he believed Mr. Flynn lied to him by saying he had not discussed the topic of sanctions on a call with the Russian ambassador in late December. Even the mere discussion of policy — and the apparent attempt to assuage the concerns of an American adversary before Mr. Trump took office — represented a remarkable breach of protocol.

The F.B.I. had been examining Mr. Flynn’s phone calls as he came under growing questions about his interactions with Russian officials and his management of the National Security Council. The blackmail risk envisioned by the Justice Department would have stemmed directly from Mr. Flynn’s attempt to cover his tracks with his bosses. The Russians knew what had been said on the call; thus, if they wanted Mr. Flynn to do something, they could have threatened to expose the lie if he refused.

The Justice Department’s warning to the White House was first reported on Monday night by The Washington Post.

In addition, the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015, according to two defense officials. Such a payment might violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits former military officers from receiving money from a foreign government without consent from Congress. The defense officials said there was no record that Mr. Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, filed the required paperwork for the trip.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement late Monday that Mr. Flynn’s resignation would not close the question of his contact with Russian officials.

“General Flynn’s decision to step down as national security adviser was all but ordained the day he misled the country about his secret talks with the Russian ambassador,” said Mr. Schiff, noting that the matter is still under investigation by the House committee.

Two other Democratic lawmakers — Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland — called for an immediate briefing by the Justice Department and the F.B.I. over the “alarming new disclosures” that Mr. Flynn was a blackmail risk. “We need to know who else within the White House is a current and ongoing risk to our national security,” they said in a statement.

Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the chairman of the House intelligence committee, was supportive of Mr. Flynn until the end. “Washington, D.C., can be a rough town for honorable people, and Flynn — who has always been a soldier, not a politician — deserves America’s gratitude and respect,” Mr. Nunes said in a statement.

In retrospect, of course, Flynn’s “resignation,” which was most likely neither voluntary nor a spontaneous idea that Flynn came up with on his own, was neither unexpected nor surprising, even though it’s being characterized as such by the media this morning. Once it became clear that Flynn had not only discussed the lifting of sanctions with the Russian Ambassador to the United States before taking office but that he had also apparently lied about it to transition officials in general and Vice-President-Elect Pence in particular. This is important because both those officials and Pence himself went before the media and repeated what Flynn had told them even though he knew that they were relying on his lies to communicate to the public and push back against press reports that turned out to be true. As the day went on yesterday, though, the Administration continued to insist that Flynn’s position was secure, even as late in the day as four in the afternoon when Kellyanne Conway was appearing on cable news to say that President Trump had full confidence in Flynn. Shortly after that appearance, though, signs began to appear in the media that made it clear that something had happened inside the White House that caused the winds to shift and that Flynn was in a far more precarious position than Conway was indicating. By 11:00 p.m. last night, the winds had shifted completely and Flynn had submitted his resignation. It was an inevitable development that made Flynn the shortest-serving National Security Advisor in the sixty-three-year history of the position.

In addition to the allegations regarding his contact with Russia, there were other factors that have come out that may have induced the Administration to dump Flynn so early on in the President’s tenure. According to those reports, Flynn’s transition into his role as National Security Adviser, whose official title is Senior Adviser to the President for National Security Affairs,  was rocky to say the least. For example, Flynn apparently came into office completely unaware of exactly what it was he was supposed to be doing and completely unaware of some aspects of the NSA’s role in the Administration, such as how to call up national resources to deal with a natural disaster or other emergencies. This would be consistent with Flynn’s tenure at the Defense Intelligence Agency, from which he was reportedly dismissed by President Obama largely due to a lackluster at best management style. While it is true that Flynn had only just begun settling into his role at the White House, these apparent problems, added to the allegations about Russia, it was likely part of the issue of what was going on behind the scenes. At the very least, though, this entire affair calls into question Trump’s ability as a manager himself and his claims that he only hires “the best” to work for him. Given how the first month of his Administration is going, that hardly seems to be the case.

Flynn’s resignation doesn’t necessarily mean the end of this story, of course. If the reaction from Members of Congress and the Senate this morning is any indication, in fact, it’s likely to spur further investigation of the ties between the Trump campaign, transition team, and Administration to Russia as manifested in personnel that goes beyond Flynn, including former campaign strategist Paul Manafort and others. Also relevant is the question of exactly when the Administration became aware of Flynn’s apparent misrepresentations and what the initial internal response was to that information. As noted above, The Washington Post reported last night that Sally Yates, who was serving as Acting Attorney General until being fired by Trump after she publicly spoke out against his immigration Executive Order, warned the Administration back in January that the Department of Justice’s own investigation had discovered that Flynn had lied about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador and that this made him a potential target of Russian blackmail. Already there are investigations gearing up in both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and Senator John McCain is reportedly set to open an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee. Other investigations are sure to follow, even with Republicans in charge of both Houses of Congress simply because Russia policy is one of the few areas where Republicans on Capitol Hill part ways with the President. It’s hard to say at this point where all of these investigations will lead, but it is clear that the President is going to be unable to avoid them simply by getting rid of Flynn.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Anybody smell that?

    It’s the reincarnated stink of Watergate :-)

    One down, how many more to follow?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  2. Tony W says:

    The slow and incessant trickle of leaks is the only thing that will keep this scandal alive. Trump is a master at flooding the market with BS, we need to keep the Russian connection in the press as long as possible.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  3. SenyorDave says:

    At least Jason Chaffetz is on top of this:

    Q: “Are you not curious about what Trump aides knew about (Flynn)? Chaffetz: “It’s taking care of itself at this point”

    For a while I thought the whole Benghazi thing was a partisan witch hunt.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 1

  4. CSK says:

    I wonder how much behind-the-scenes wrangling there was between the pro-Flynn team and the anti-Flynn team, and at what point, using what tactics, the anti-Flynn team prevailed?

    And who’s on which team?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Pch101 says:

    It has only been a few weeks, yet there’s already a lot for Congress to investigate.

    Where are the committee hearings?

    Where is the special prosecutor?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  6. Mu says:

    Trump is now whining about leaks – that happens if you shoot the messenger. And he fired Yates who told him not to install Flynn BEFORE he took office. Completely homemade disaster for Trump, and I don’t think he’ll draw the right conclusions from it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    – Trump was told BEFORE he swore Flynn into office that Flynn was compromised by the Russian FSB.

    – Flynn told the Russians not to worry about the sanctions – something he could only have done with Trump’s support.

    This is not about Flynn. Yes, obviously Flynn is a Russian tool. But this is about the much bigger, much more orange Russian tool. The president is a traitor. The president has sold out American national security. The president may be on his way to Leavenworth.

    I understand that this is hard for rational people to absorb since it feels like one of Tom Clancy’s less credible novels, but it has been clear for many months now that Trump is entirely subservient to Putin. People need to absorb the bizarre, because yes, we do in fact actually have a Russian tool in control of 4500 nuclear weapons and all of this nation’s secrets.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 4

  8. al-Alameda says:

    Just maybe, before Flynn eventually is called to appear before a congressional committee, he could use his free time to shut down that child sex slave operation that Hillary Clinton is running out of that family pizzeria in D.C.?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Roger Stone, Carter Page, Paul Manafort – All Trump aides, all investigated for ties to Russia.
    Now Flynn.
    Conway just before Flynn resigned:

    Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president

    Donnie Jr.:

    “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

    The Mango Mussolini himself:

    I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing

    From the WaPo:

    FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the White House

    Trump again:

    I think it’s ridiculous…I don’t believe it. . . . No, I don’t believe it at all.

    ’nuff said

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  10. Jen says:

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  11. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Dems pretend to have grown a pair and send a letter to Chaffetz:

    Today, all Democratic Members of the Committee write to you jointly to request that you either reconsider your decision and initiate this investigation, or step aside and allow the Committee to vote on conducting basic oversight going forward

    Emphasis mine.
    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/ChaffetzReFlynn.pdf

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  12. Gustopher says:

    Honestly, I was expecting the administration to double down and keep Flynn. Maybe sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to have employee databases that limit gender to male and female, or something equally pointless to create a new outrage du jour.

    Now that Flynn’s gone and they have implicitly acknowledged that there was something like wrongdoing, the calls for investigation will get louder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  13. pylon says:

    There is going to be a domino effect. At the VERY least the WH Counsel knew about the details of the Flynn conversation in January. So he needs to be questioned. If he didn’t tell Trump, he needs to be fired and disciplined by the bar. If he did, he needs to be fired and so does Trump.

    I don’t think solicitor-client privilege can protect him either. He was told a fact. He either relayed the fact or he didn’t. I don’t think that’s protected communication. Even if it is it stinks and will not wash off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  14. Dmichael says:

    How do we get the Congress to do its job and conduct a complete investigation? What pressure can we bring on the slimy weasel Chaffetz? He has already insulted his constituents who attended his latest town hall.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  15. Pch101 says:

    @Dmichael:

    The Dems need to follow Elizabeth Warren’s example: Take it to social media.

    If the GOP won’t agree to hearings, then the Democrats need to hold their own, letting everyone know that the Republicans punted on these important matters. Rent a hall if necessary, invite the media, stream it on Facebook, tweet about it.

    No, these hearings won’t be official, but neither was Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook presentation. And do this well enough, and the GOP will probably end up holding hearings in order to avoid further embarrassment.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Pch101:

    the GOP will probably end up holding hearings in order to avoid further embarrassment.

    Hahaha…if they could be embarrassed they couldn’t be Republicans.
    I wholeheartedly agree with the tactic though. It’s clear that there are some patriots working in the Intelligence Community…and that the leaks are going to continue. Democrats need to keep pace with the rapidly unwinding ball of string that is the Trump administration.
    @Dmichael:

    What pressure can we bring on the slimy weasel Chaffetz? He has already insulted his constituents who attended his latest town hall.

    I know…those radicals…asking Chaffetz to do his job. What planet are they on???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  17. grumpy realist says:

    Well, the WSJ’s editorial page is getting shocked, absolutely shocked, that someone was listening in on Flynn’s conversations in the first place.

    Makes me wonder what they already know….?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  18. Argon says:

    Ever the vigilant oversight watchdog, Chaffetz says he won’t further investigate Flynn, saying ‘Executive privilege’ but he will investigate the leaks about Flynn’s resignation and the contents of Flynn’s calls to the Russian parties.

    As Trump tweeted, it’s all about the illegal leakers, not the leakee’s illegal acts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  19. Pch101 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    There are Republicans who are also wary of Trump’s Russophilia. They won’t make the first move to investigate, but they’ll quietly support the effort it if the Democrats make it an issue.

    My only concern is Trump getting forced out. Pence would be even worse, and the GOP establishment would rally behind him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  20. gVOR08 says:

    This is important because both those officials and Pence himself went before the media and repeated what Flynn had told them even though he knew that they were relying on his lies to communicate to the public and push back against press reports that turned out to be true.

    Seriously? Someone in the Trump admin gives a spit about a couple of lies one way or another? About preserving their credibility at this late date? The hope is that the wolves will go after Flynn and let the Trump sleigh get away.

    Good luck with that. There are about 200 inside the beltway “journalists” who right now see themselves as the next Bob Woodward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    There are about 200 inside the beltway “journalists” who right now see themselves as the next Bob Woodward.

    Let’s hope.
    Blood in the water is a powerful motivator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  22. Jen says:

    @Argon:

    he won’t further investigate Flynn, saying ‘Executive privilege’

    How could it be executive privilege when Trump wasn’t the executive yet when the offense occurred?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  23. Argon says:

    @Jen: Well obviously because the chief executive doesn’t want an investigation. Why call it ‘executive privilege’ if the executive doesn’t have the privilege of deciding which of his staff can be investigated?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  24. michael reynolds says:

    Now the WH admits Trump knew about the Flynn calls and knew he’d lied to Pence and the public.

    Which means Trump approved of Flynn undercutting US sanctions policy. Which, coupled with Trump’s utter slavishness toward Putin very, very strongly suggests Trump is an owned FSB asset.

    Drip. . . drip. . . drip. . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  25. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I still think “useful idiot with a pathetic schoolboy crush on Putin” is a more likely scenario for Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  26. michael reynolds says:

    The law:

    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    An inescapably defining moment is fast approaching. You stand with a traitor, or you stand with the United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  27. Argon says:

    Let’s start a countdown pool for how many days pass before Fox hires Flynn.

    I’d guess 60 days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    Why am I stuck in moderation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. panda says:

    @michael reynolds: Just keep in mind that this law was written very narrowly, with an enemy being defined as a country at war with the United States, which Russia isn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Russia has deployed cruise missile in violation of a 1987 treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces.
    Keep in mind that during the campaign Trump tweeted:

    “When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now.”

    This must be what he meant.
    I knew Trump would be tested immediately after taking office. I thought it would be ISIL, not Russia. Fasten your seat-belts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But James Joyner said:

    “Trump was duly elected whether we like it or not…”

    That’s not going to age well.

    By the way, the POTUS being a Russian agent is not just a national crisis. It’s an international one. Do you think for a second that if our criminal and IC investigations were shut down, even by a compliant GOP, that everything wouldn’t simply leak overseas? Or that the Mossad or MI6 isn’t monitoring Trump closely?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  32. charon says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Russia has deployed cruise missile in violation of a 1987 treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces.

    Response to Flynn being fired – Putin unhappy with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Tyrell says:

    I have not had the time to study in detail the various in’s and outs, ups and downs, slants and tangents of this particular case. I do think that Trump will have to come back strong on this one and swing for the fences by nominating someone with a sterling reputation, long on experience, and high in stature. Someone who people would compare with:
    Henry Kissinger (Mr. China)
    McGeorge Bundy (Yale grad, Harvard prof: “Best and Brightest”)
    Brent Scowcroft
    Zibigniew Brzezenski (tough, hard liner)
    General Powell (Vietnam vet – what more can we say ?)

    Trump will need to select someone who simply will leave both Democrats and Republicans slack jawed and bring them to their feet in admiration: a person who is so impeccable and well respected that they will be approved by acclimation without a hearing !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    Dude, the news just broke that several of Trump’s people were in regular contact with Russian intelligence throughout the election – even while the Russians were hacking the DNC.

    This is treason. Period.

    Trump either tries to pull off a coup, or resigns, or goes to prison. Really.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Worst. Tom. Clancy. Novel. Ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Lit3Bolt:
    I find the plot so implausible. From zero to Treasongate in three weeks?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t think he’s a traitor. He’s Putin’s useful idiot. There *may* however be people within the Administration who did work with a foreign power. That should be investigated thoroughly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    I don’t think treason requires a conscious plan to commit same. Maybe one of our lawyers will chime in. But one thing is clear, Trump conspired with an enemy foreign intelligence agency to subvert the US election.

    If that isn’t treason I don’t know what is. It is a deliberate, malicious attack on this country, aided, abetted, and perhaps even suggested, by the man who is now president.

    There’s no spinning that, not in the end.

    It is choose up sides time. We are Free French or we are Vichy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  39. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Trump isn’t committing treason because Russia is not an enemy of the United States.

    Trump’s judgment is horrendous and he may be violating some laws, but it is treason only in a colloquial sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:
    Russia is an enemy of the United States. The US military in Europe is configured to fight Russia. Our nukes are targeted on Russia and theirs on us. And interfering in our election is an act of war.

    We don’t declare war anymore, not since 1941. But I think if you’d aided the North Koreans, North Vietnamese, Saddamists, Al Qaeda or ISIS, it’d be treason. As it was when people aided the Soviets – with whom we were also not at war.

    It’s treason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The US and Russia are not at war, so Russia is not an “enemy” of the United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Treason requires the establishment of willful intent and the commission of an overt act in furtherance, among several other criteria, to prove the offense.

    They’re also correct – it only applies during an actual, declared state of war. The Rosenbergs, for example, weren’t convicted of & executed for treason – they were convicted of and executed for espionage, and even then only because their activities actually took place during a declared war (WW2).

    I agree that it’s treasonous, not to mention despicable (and I’d gladly throw the switch myself), but legally it wouldn’t meet the burden for the Article III offense.

    Meeting the burden for a conviction in the court of public opinion, however, is entirely another ballgame. We should absolutely use this to long knife the administration by association.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Trump conspired with an enemy foreign intelligence agency to subvert the US election

    Proving this would be a bear, but this one generally has merit. He’d have been a private citizen at the time, and therefore in violation of the election laws of potentially 50+ electoral jurisdictions.

    You’d have to impeach and remove him via Congress, then bring charges against him in as many state courts as you can can find willing Attorneys General.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  44. Hal_10000 says:

    But one thing is clear, Trump conspired with an enemy foreign intelligence agency to subvert the US election.

    Based on what? Flynn? Anonymous reports in the NYT? You know I despise Trump and hate defending him, put you’re putting an awful of lot of conspiracy theory into this. I’m not seeing a lot of evidence to back it up. Yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  45. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The question will be, did Trump ever know about Russian hacking efforts?

    Like with Flynn, his Tweets will come back to haunt him. They mark a definitive timeline of events and motives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  46. Jen says:

    The Russians certainly aren’t acting like friends. They are helping out anti-US insurgents in Afghanistan.

    It’s hard not to be a bit alarmed at the behavior emanating from the Kremlin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. Moosebreath says:

    Josh Marshall has a good piece from overnight. The coda is:

    “If you were Vladimir Putin you could not have done more to help the cause of Donald Trump. And if you were Trump, you could not have done more in actions and statements to repay the favor. The only question is whether the trajectory of perfectly interlocked actions were simply chance or tacit. Is it even remotely credible that with everything that led up to it, Michael Flynn initiated and conducted this back channel on his own? Hardly. It’s crazy that we’re having this conversation about a sitting President. But here we are. It’s time. We need to know the answer to this question.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  48. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ” a person who is so impeccable and well respected that they will be approved by acclimation without a hearing !”

    The NSA is not subject to confirmation, and thus anyone Trump picks will be approved without a hearing, as was Flynn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  49. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Tyrell:

    Trump will need to select someone who simply will leave both Democrats and Republicans slack jawed and bring them to their feet in admiration: a person who is so impeccable and well respected that they will be approved by acclimation without a hearing !

    Good luck with that…there is a reason Trump is surrounded by third stringers…no on else wants any part of this dumpster fire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. Pch101 says:

    If Trump’s team is feeding information to the Russians, then that would be espionage.

    It would not be treason because we are not at war with Russia, and it probably is not sedition because it is not an effort to inspire an insurrection.

    On the other hand, if you were to hold a protest sign that accuses Trump of accusing treason or sedition, then I’m not going to quibble with you because I agree with the underlying sentiment of the point even if it isn’t correct in a legal sense.

    It’s simply remarkable that a US president is so eager to sell out the country to a foreign power, particularly one that is as bad as Russia. And it’s ridiculous that the kinds of voters who scream about freedom this and liberty that are so eager to support a half-wit bully who would offer up this country on a platter to the Russians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. MarkedMan says:

    Trumps behavior in this is comparable to someone pulled over for DUI. He may be within his rights to refuse a breathalyzer but it is then incumbent upon the police to assume guilt as it is too dangerous to leave him on the road. Trump is refusing to cooperate in any way towards proving innocence. This certainly seems to indicate guilt and, more importantly, for the safety of our nation we should treat it as an admission of guilt.

    We should also look to who else in the government may be compromised by Russia. It certainly arouses suspicion that Ryan, Chaffetz and Paul are so quick out the gate to try to thwart investigations. Now, Chaffetz is such a total partisan hack it is easy to believe he is simply putting party over country and in his tiny unimaginative brain he may think Stonewalling will help the GOP. But with Paul it is entirely plausible to imagine he was compromised during his long term association with white supremacist groups and the crazy fringe of right wingers, who we now know are intertwined with Russian propaganda outlets (Flynn, among other alt right figures, has accepted at least one paid engagement from Russia Today and used it to praise them and their mission. ) Ryan? As much as I dislike his policies it’s hard for me to believe he would sell out the country. But he is incredibly ambitious and perhaps he was compromised by some deal with the devil. It wouldn’t have to have been with the Russians directly; they could simply have obtained the leash.

    Nevertheless, all three could dispel suspicion by actively seeking out the rot within the Republican (and yes, Democratic) Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. Pch101 says:

    Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

    Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/russia-intelligence-communications-trump.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. al-Alameda says:

    @SenyorDave:

    For a while I thought the whole Benghazi thing was a partisan witch hunt.

    On my commute home, on drive time radio, I recently heard someone (can’t remember who) refer to this developing scandal as “Flynnghazi”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0