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Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Adviser, Under Fire For Lying About Contacts With Russia

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s National Security Adviser, is coming under increasing fire for his contacts with Russia prior to taking office and, apparently, lying about it not only to the press but also to the rest of the Trump Administration:

White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office.

As White House aides scramble to get their stories straight about the exact nature of those communications and as Democrats call for Flynn’s security clearance to be suspended or revoked, neither Trump nor his advisers have publicly defended Flynn or stated unequivocally that he has the president’s confidence.

Privately, some administration officials said that Flynn’s position has weakened and support for him has eroded largely because of a belief that he was disingenuous about Russia and therefore could not be fully trusted going forward.

“The knives are out for Flynn,” said one administration official who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly.

On Sunday, the top White House aide dispatched to represent the administration on the political talk shows pointedly declined to defend Flynn.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether the president had confidence in Flynn, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said he did not know.

“It’s not for me to tell you what’s in the president’s mind,” Miller told moderator Chuck Todd. He added that his colleagues at the White House “did not give me anything to say” about Flynn.

When ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Miller about Flynn’s interactions with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Miller said, “I don’t have any news to make . . . today on this point.”

The Washington Post revealed last week that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia in the month before Trump’s inauguration.

The Post’s finding, confirmed by nine current and former U.S. officials, contrasted with the assurances made publicly by Vice President Pence and other top administration officials that Flynn never talked about sanctions with Russian officials.

Based on Flynn’s private assurances, Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated publicly that Flynn never discussed sanctions with Kislyak.

Pence spoke to Flynn twice on Friday — once face to face and once by telephone, according to an administration official who declined to characterize the contents of those discussions.

“Flynn is running out of friends, no question,” a different administration official said. “The broad consensus in the White House is that he lied. The vice president feels like he lied. In a position that needs to be no drama, it’s nonstop drama. I would be very surprised if he lasts much longer.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), an informal adviser to Trump, called on Flynn to “clear up” what happened with Trump and Pence, but he stopped short of accusing him of wrongdoing.

“I think that’s the obligation of General Flynn, his national security adviser, to have those type of candid conversations with the president and the vice president,” Christie said on CNN. “And then they will act as they see fit, given all the circumstances.”

Over the weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., the president privately voiced frustration with Flynn and the political baggage he is hanging on the White House, according to two people familiar with his comments.

Spicer denied that Trump criticized Flynn to anyone at the club and called assertions to the contrary “fake news.”

(…)

Democratic leaders have called for investigations into the Flynn’s contact with Russian officials and for Trump to suspend and revoke Flynn’s security clearance.

“President Trump’s kowtowing to Vladimir Putin is endangering our national security and emboldening a dangerous tyrant,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Saturday.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said Sunday on ABC News that suspending Flynn’s clearance would be “an appropriate action.”

Trump has not yet issued a comment about Flynn, either on Twitter or in one of his brief appearances before journalists over the weekend. Aboard Air Force One on Friday, reporters asked Trump about The Post’s report on Flynn’s discussion of sanctions and the president claimed he did not know about it, even though it had by then become a major story across cable news.

“I don’t know about that. I haven’t seen it,” Trump said during a flight to Florida from Washington. “What report is that? I haven’t seen that. I’ll look into that.”

While Flynn has reportedly insisted privately that he isn’t going anywhere and that he’s confident that he continues to have the support of the President, In the end, that may yet prove to be correct but his future is far from certain and it seems clear that this issue regarding Flynn’s contact with the Russians in the weeks and months prior to Trump taking office three weeks ago will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Administration for the foreseeable future. As it stands, if it is true that Flynn discussed the future of American sanctions against Russia related to Ukraine and the possibility of a deal to bring them to an end, then there is a potential that Flynn violated Federal laws including the Logan Act, a law that has been part of the United States Code for 218 years that forbids private citizens from negotiating with representatives of a foreign governments that have an ongoing dispute with the United States. A violation of the act is classified as a felony under Federal law and could result in jail time if convicted. While there has been a long history of private citizens being accused of violating the act, there has only been one person indicted for violating the act, and that happened in 1803. The main danger for Flynn, though, isn’t so much whether or not he will be indicted for violating a long-standing law, but whether he will become the first member of the already embattled Trump Administration to be shown the door.

In an ordinary Presidential Administration, Flynn’s future would indeed be precarious and we’d be talking about his dismissal as a matter of “when” rather than “if.” The main reason for this isn’t just because of his apparent violation of the law and effort to undermine American foreign policy during the transition period, but also because of what happened afterward. When questions were raised about exactly what Flynn talked about with the Russian Ambassador, he reportedly insisted to White House officials that the phone call was nothing more than an exchange of Christmas greetings, an expression of sympathy over a plane crash that had killed members of a Russian military band, and a brief cordial conversation between two men who would obviously be working closely together over the coming years. Were this true, then there wouldn’t be anything wrong with what Flynn did, and when questioned about it transition officials and Vice-President Mike Pence both repeated what Flynn said. If it’s true that Flynn lied to transition officials and the then Vice-President-Elect, then that would appear to require Flynn being dismissed given the fact that his apparent misrepresentations led to Trump’s advisers and the incoming Vice-President unknowingly lie to the media. After all, it’s hard to see how Flynn can work alongside other members of the Administration such as the Secretaries of State and Defense if he’s on record as having acted improperly before even taking office and then putting important Administration officials on the spot by lying to them about it.

This is no ordinary Administration, though, so it’s hard to say exactly what Flynn’s future might be. Given Trump’s mercurial personality and a management style that seems from afar to be haphazard at best, it’s hard to say how he’s reacting to this. Additionally, much likely depends on what those closest to him, such as Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, are saying to him and whose advice he decides to follow. Keeping Flynn would seem to be the worst decision he could make under the circumstances, for example, but as we’ve already seen that Trump seems inclined to lean in the direction of the least desirable outcome even when it seems politically suicidal.

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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. J Russ says:

    The delay firing Flynn is embarrassing, but Donny hasn’t received approval from Putin.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    It’s blatantly obvious that Trump is in cahoots with Russia. In order to try and be opaque about that it makes perfect sense to fire Flynn and say;

    “See, we don’t have any connections to Russia”.

    There was Roger Stone and communications with Russia.
    There was Paul Manafort and his Russian connections.
    Now it’s Flynn.
    As they say; one’s an incident, two’s a coincidence, and three’s a pattern.
    It seems that for Trump the problem is not being connected to Russia…it’s getting caught being connected to Russia.

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

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Kabuki theater. Flynn’s sin is not in making the calls (as Trump instructed him to), it is not in discussing sanctions before actually being appointed head of the NSC (as Trump instructed him to), or the future immolation of NATO (as instructed by Trump), and it certainly isn’t using unsecured phones (Trump is President, they don’t need no stinking secure communications!).

    No, Flynn’s sin is in not enforcing the complete and abject fealty the Intelligence Community owes Trump and his minions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Pete S says:

    To me there seem to be three possibilities here. Under this administration I don’t think we can rule anything out.

    1. Flynn lied to Mike Pence et al about speaking about the sanctions.
    2. Flynn told the truth about speaking about the sanctions, but then the administration decided to lie to the press. Either from embarrassment, or just for extra practice, who knows why.
    3. Flynn was instructed to speak about sanctions and never had to report anything to the administration. They already knew what he had done but could not publicly admit it.

    The longer Flynn stays employed, the less likely number 1 seems to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Right. They’ll jettison Flynn and hope everybody loses interest. Republicans, even Trump, seem to get an assumption of respectability. If this was Obama eight years ago everybody would be running around with their hair on fire, “Ohmygawd! The President!! Russia!!” The only thing that’s interesting about this is that Flynn got caught by leaks from people who seem to actually be investigating this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  6. MarkedMan says:

    The fact that he lied is serious and should be investigated. But it’s also important to look at what he lied about. The Obama administration imposed penalties on Russia. Flynn went to the Russians and told them not to worry about them, that they would be repealed as soon as Trump assumed office. It seems he gave up an important piece of leverage and got nothing in return. In fact, it seems apparent he didn’t even try to get something in return. Is that the action of someone working on behalf of our interests, the interests of the US? Because it seems to me that is how someone would behave it they were trying to curry favor with the Russians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    It has been obvious for quite some time now that Trump is under Putin’s thumb. Flynn may be part of that, but he’s the misdemeanor; the felony is sitting in the Oval Office.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  8. Franklin says:

    Isn’t the bigger problem that he’s a nutty conspiracy theorist? But I’m fine if this is what brings him down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  9. Pete S says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I am no longer completely sure of that. Trump is absolutely oblivious to what is going on around him, I believe it is at least possible that a few American Putin lackeys are taking advantage of an imbecile. You cannot blackmail someone who doesn’t understand that they are being blackmailed.

    I think the weekend’s events at Mar-a-Lago, where he seemed to be conducting a strategy session re: North Korea in the dining room, during dinner, show him to be epically clueless about the world.

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

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Franklin: I’m afraid I’d have to say that being one of the conduits between Trump and Putin is a bigger problem than that he’s a fruitcake. I’m hoping they keep him on and defend him strenuously in every public statement. Maybe that would draw appropriate attention to this shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Pete S:

    After all Trump’s campaign bluster regarding N. Korea, his response to the missile test was awfully tepid. If that had been Obama’s response the hawks would have been screaming.

    It is pretty obvious that the best description of the Trump administration is either overwhelmed or dazed an confused.

    Add to that Bloomberg is reporting that foreign banks and other investors are dumping US Treasury bonds. So long low interest rates and hello inflation.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Alameda says:

    Michael Flynn has been a Super Fund Site for the last few years.

    A few short months ago I believe it was the Washington Post who reported that Flynn, through his Twitter platform, passed along and re-tweeted conspiracy accusations that Hillary Clinton was involved in child sex trafficking from a DC pizzeria, and that she was secretly waging war against the Catholic Church. Flynn also pushed along constant high fever right wing charges that Obama was a secret jihadi who laundered money for Muslim terrorists.

    I can see why he was a valuable member of the Trump Team … until now.

    I think we’re coming to Under The Bus Time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  13. Timothy Brian Watson says:

    One story suggested that Flynn had been questioned by the FBI about the conversation.

    Did he lie to them? If so, why hasn’t a grand jury be impaneled?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Pete S:

    Oh, I think Trump knows when his balls are in someone’s fist. I don’t think that’s inconsistent with him being staggeringly clueless about everything else. Psychopaths see the world in terms of power dynamics, it’s instinctive not an intellectual process. For reasons not yet clear, Trump is subservient to Putin, and both men know it.

    I would urge the wolf pack not to be distracted by the sacrificial bodies being tossed off the fleeing sleigh; our main course is still the Mango Mussolini.

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

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    I suggest we waterboard Flynn.

    “If the nation was in grave danger from a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction, and we had certain individuals in our custody with information that might avoid it, then I would probably okay enhanced interrogation techniques within certain limits.”

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/how-mike-flynn-became-americas-angriest-general-214362

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Add to that Bloomberg is reporting that foreign banks and other investors are dumping US Treasury bonds. So long low interest rates and hello inflation.

    This probably has more to do with the Fed raising interest rates than Trump. While the Fed rate doesn’t directly effect bond rates, there is likely going to be some spill over into bond rates that is going to depress yields in the short term, so some investors may be selling off current bond holdings and planning to buy new bonds with higher interest rates later on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. Mr. Bluster says:

    Russian spies in the White House? Secrets being withheld from Trump says ex-NSA analyst
    John Schindler, a former counterintelligence expert for the secretive US intelligence agency, said some spooks are in a state of revolt over Trump’s apparent lack of support. One key Pentagon official said it is now assumed the Kremlin “has ears inside” the Oval Office.
    “For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence,” he wrote. “In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best Sigint [Signals Intelligence] secrets.

    “In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway?”

    Additionally, Schindler quoted an anonymous senior Pentagon official as saying: “Since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM [White House Situation Room]. There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point.”
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/russian-spies-white-house-secrets-being-withheld-trump-says-ex-nsa-analyst-1606281?spMailingID=1337498&spUserID=MTI0NzI1OTk3NzQS1&spJobID=730400888&spReportId=NzMwNDAwODg4S0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Mango Mussolini.

    You win the internet today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  19. Michael,

    “Mango Mussolini”

    Yes, I like that. I like that a lot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @Doug Mataconis:

    I am ashamed to admit it’s a steal, and I think it may be a steal from CSK, but I’m not certain so I didn’t know who to credit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yes. Kevin Drum has a post up this morning pointing out that the bond sell-off by foreigners started in June, when everyone expected Clinton to be elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    I bet Fat Christie will sign onto team Trump soon; they are supposed to have lunch on Tuesday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:..I bet Fat Christie will sign onto team Trump soon; they are supposed to have lunch on Tuesday.

    What is Garden State Governor “Lane Closed Ahead” Christie gonna do for
    President Pud?…Build a Bridge?

    Donald J. Trump Verified account
    ‏@realDonaldTrump
    “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” – Isaac Newton
    1:11 PM – 7 Oct 2013

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Have you read about Trump discussing how to respond to N Korea’s missile test in a crowded dining room in earshot of everyone?
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/12/politics/trump-shinzo-abe-mar-a-lago-north-korea/
    Yet these people were ready to put Clinton in jail for having some e-mails, which no one ever saw, on her own server.
    It’s no wonder the intelligence community is withholding information from the so-called president.

    some the America’s spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office amid fears “the Kremlin has ears inside” the White House situation room.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/nsa-donald-trump-team-ties-russia-mike-flynn-national-security-adviser-daily-intelligence-briefings-a7576986.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  25. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    There’s no way Christie will ever be a part of Trump’s inner circle. He was the prosecutor who nailed Jared Kushner’s ultra-sleazy father on 18 counts of criminal tax evasion and witness tampering. Jared hates Christie’s guts, and was probably the moving spirit behind Christie’s humiliation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  26. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:
    Interesting…didn’t know that background.
    Still…Trump is freaking out because he now he is already at the helm of a failed presidency. He knows he needs someone like Christie if he is ever going to right the ship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Pch101 says:

    Obama plays golf: Disaster!

    Trump plays golf: Terrific!

    Clinton uses email: Disaster!

    Trump blabs about strategy in an open room: Terrific!

    Federal court tosses out Obama executive order on immigration: Terrific!

    Federal court stays Trump executive order on immigration: Disaster!

    I’m noticing a pattern here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  28. Mr. Bluster says:

    News From the Future!
    President Pud’s Big Yuuuge Bridge spanning the Bering Strait is now complete!
    The mighty structure was built by Russia and paid for by the United States!
    First to traverse the causeway is President Vladimir Putin riding atop a mammoth stallion bearing bloated sacks of gold! A gift to the American people from the Russian Motherland.
    Fears that the crossing will allow Russians to occupy and control Alaska and it’s oil have been poo-pooed by the current administration in Washington.
    “They have ICBM’s for that.” Kellyanne Conway explained. “Besides if anything goes wrong it will be Obama’s fault!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Maybe he does need Christie, but the hovering presence of Jared and Ivanka will prevent that. from happening. Why do you think they moved to Washington? And Jared is, after all, one of Trump’s senior advisors. Trump got a waiver of the Kennedy nepotism rule to get his son-in-law on staff.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Mr. Bluster: Yeah. And what @CSK: said. Plus, what is Christie going to do for Trump? Stand next to him to make Trump look slim by comparison?

    I suppose he could replace Giuliani as the master planner for Muslim bans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Christie also is too connected to reality to ever get picked. Yeah, he’s a weasel, but I think even Christie’s quest for power is going to run up against Christie’s sense of self-preservation and his realization that going down with this set of fools will mean, well, going down with this set of conspiracy lunatics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. MarkedMan says:

    The problem Trump, and therefore the nation, has is that no one except fools, toadies and grovelers will serve him. I know there are people who think they can use him for their own gain and get out before they are completely covered in sh*t but his dealings in the past puts them into the ‘fool’ category.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. Moosebreath says:

    This piece by Martin Longman of Washington Monthly puts together a number of pieces in an alarming fashion:

    “in retrospect, it’s easy to see Putin’s strategy for beating Clinton and why he chose to host both Green Party candidate Jill Stein and the former head of our Defense Intelligence Agency and eventual Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (circled below) at the gala celebrating the ten-year anniversary of RT, a CNN-like propaganda organ of the Russian state.”

    (snip)

    “This lax attitude about Ukraine was evident throughout Trump’s campaign, and nowhere more obvious than when they interceded to soften the Republican platform on the issue.”

    (snip)

    “It appears that Flynn’s job is in jeopardy, but mainly because his conversations with the Russian ambassador were intercepted and show that he lied about what they discussed. Yet, even if Flynn is fired, the problem will remain because Flynn is not the only connection between Trump and Putin. The new Secretary of State has the unique distinction of having been recognized with Russia’s Order of Friendship award. We can’t forget that Trump had to sack his campaign manager Paul Manafort because of his ties to Russia or the whole Carter Page saga that briefly caused controversy last fall.”

    (snip)

    “No one seems to know quite what explains it. Fear that people will find out that Trump once hired Russian prostitutes to pee on each other on the mattress that Barack and Michelle once slept on doesn’t seem like an adequate explanation.

    And, in any case, it doesn’t really matter so much what the explanation is as it matters that our intelligence community does not and will not trust the administration.”

    My take is that we may have at least one person at the upper levels of the Administration’s security team whose primary loyalty is not towards the US government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  34. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yeah, he’s a weasel, but I think even Christie’s quest for power is going to run up against Christie’s sense of self-preservation and his realization that going down with this set of fools will mean, well, going down with this set of conspiracy lunatics.

    Christie will see this as his opportunity to be a hero to the party.
    Who knows…we will see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Christie is a fairly shrewd operator, and not by any means stupid, so it’s a bit puzzling why he threw in with Trump, since he had to have known not only that Kushner despises him and would do anything to thwart/injure him, but that Kushner was Trump’s chief henchman. Kushner effectively killed Christie’s chances of being the vice-presidential nominee.

    By the way, if you’re curious about the witness tampering charges against Charles Kushner, one of the things he did was hire a hooker to seduce his brother-in-law, make a tape of the seduction, and send the tape to his sister. Charming guy.

    I suppose we should hope that in Jared’s case, the apple fell very far from the tree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. Mr. Bluster says:

    Totally Off Topic
    (was suitable for work in 1970 when this was made)
    Watch out for your goodies Hawkeye that man is a sex maniac…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXtVS8SFmJw

    Thank You Robert Altman
    RIP

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Remember that last year Paul Ryan said:

    that people who are “extremely careless” with classified information “should be denied further access to such info.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    In part the anticipated Fed rate increases have dampened demand for treasuries, but that type of activity can be factored in to the pricing. What has been attractive about US Treasuries has been the stability of US and that the direction of its politics was predictable. Trump has up ended that predictability and he has expressed the intention to pursue policies that are at variance to what much of the world views as prudent financial management.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Jen says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    The cavalier attitude to security is driving me crazy combined with the double standard. Clinton had an email server, Paul Ryan thinks she should have been denied briefings. Trump has, according to this Washington Post piece: 1) left the security key in the lockbag in a room with non-cleared people present; 2) conducted a strategic discussion on a foreign policy issue in a public dining room; 3) allowed cell phones to be used as flashlights (article goes into why this is such a lousy idea); and 4) is STILL using his old Android phone.

    But sure, tell me again about how important intelligence security is to these clowns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  40. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think even Christie’s quest for power is going to run up against Christie’s sense of self-preservation

    You may be right, but the fact that Christie is deeply, deeply despised and unpopular in NJ may have him desperate enough to jump from a sinking ship to a burning one. NJ’ites can forgive a lot, but Christie has made himself look pathetic and weak. They won’t forgive that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:
    Flynnghazi

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: I love your analogy!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Mikey says:

    @Jen: The key in the document bag probably isn’t a big deal–by convention, it means the bag is empty.

    The cell phones as flashlights, on the other hand, is a major security violation if they were actually pointed at classified documents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. Jen says:

    @Mikey:

    The key in the document bag probably isn’t a big deal–by convention, it means the bag is empty.

    So the documents were potentially *out* of the bag while he had people without clearances in the room?

    I’m only being slightly facetious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “I would urge the wolf pack not to be distracted by the sacrificial bodies being tossed off the fleeing sleigh; our main course is still the Mango Mussolini.”

    Yes, but if Flynn didn’t lie to Pence — that is, if Pence knew — then the Russia thing can bring him down before Trump goes. And we all know you have to get rid of Agnew before you can take out Nixon…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  46. Mikey says:

    @Jen: That wouldn’t be a big deal either, if they had the proper cover sheets on the documents.

    Of course, given this administration’s tendency to flout all commonly-accepted norms, who knows?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @wr: OK, but then you also have to get rid of Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch, Rex Tillerson, and Steven Mnuchin. That gets you to Mattis, and his suitability is a statement from facts not in evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. Must B Fake News says:

    Missouri KKK Wizard shot dead by wife.
    She said she was tired of him cutting holes in her good sheets!
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/slain-missouri-kkk-leaders-wife-held-suspicion-murder-45459182

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I made a tiny, tiny contribution to ousting Agnew. I was working at Wilmer, Cutler in those days and they repped Time, which Agnew was suing, or maybe it was the other way around. In any event one of the partners needed a precedent in English common law from like the 15th century (seriously) which was written in legal French and the only otherwise useless person they had who could read French was me. Spent some hours in the bowels of GW law school, found the precedent, delivered it, partner says, Hah! and three days later Agnew quits.

    So what I’m saying is I single-handedly saved democracy. And yet: no statue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. Argon says:

    About the N. Korea huddle… In some of the reporting they noted that the officer with the ‘nuclear football’ was posed for snapshots with guests at the resort. I can pull out a number of Breitbart articles where people went ballistic over Biden pointing in the general direction the officer carrying the VP’s device because it either put the officer at risk or revealed a target to ‘our enemies’.

    Times sure change…

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  51. Lit3Bolt says:

    Flynn resigns.

    Start of Week 4.

    Now will Flynn turn vengeful against Trump and/or Pence? Or rush back to Moscow like a a good dog?

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  52. gVOR08 says:

    CNN is reporting Flynn has resigned. That was quick.

    Now the relevant question is who told him to quit. Bannon? Preibus (sometimes I just crack myself up)? Kushner? Trump? Putin?

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  53. Mr. Bluster says:

    @michael reynolds:..And yet: no statue.

    Watch out what you wish for.
    There is no statue of Moe Greene in Las Vegas either.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zfGdG79taE

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  54. Argon says:

    Oddly enough, Kellyanne Conway said earlier that Flynn had the full confidence of the President. An hour later Sean Spicer said that the President was evaluating the situation. Given that both Conway and Spicer feel unconstrained to provide reality-based information, it was impossible to know the mind of Trump until after then fact.

    Good to see coherent messages still do not emanate from official Administration spokespersons. At least they’re very consistent in that respect.

    There were a few Republican Congressmen that opted earlier for a full-throated defense of Flynn. Now I suppose they’re halfway through a pack of Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads to ease the burn.

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  55. Argon says:

    Whoa! The Washington Post is reporting that previous acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House last month about Flynn misleading officials about his contacts with the Russian government and that he might be vunerable to Russian blackmail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  56. Mr. Bluster says:

    From “In Like Flynn’s” resignation letter:

    I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reprinted American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world.

    As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency.

    I know with the strong leadership of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S> history, and I firmly believe the american people will be well served as they all work together to help Make America Great Again.

    I think I’m going to puke…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  57. Mr. Bluster says:

    What ever happened to the Good Old Days when political loyalty actually meant something!

    “I am one thousand percent for Tom Eagleton and I have no intention of dropping him from the ticket.”
    Democratic Presidential Candidate George McGovern July 26, 1972

    Well, most of the time anyway.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7755888

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  58. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Pete S: A lifetime ago, before the election, one of my friends, a retired Army officer said of Hillary’s e-mails, “If I’d done what she did, I’d be in Leavenworth.” As a long-time holder of a security clearance, if I’d done what DJT did over the weekend, I’d be answering questions from the FBI in short order.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  59. Guarneri says:

    What a dumbass. Doesn’t Flynn know you tell everyone you talked about yoga poses and your grandchildren. Even Loretta Lynch learned that……..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  60. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    Funny…you spent so much time crying about Banghazi and email servers…now you simply deflect when your dear leader does far, far, worse.
    Colluding with the enemy.
    Having nat’l security discussions in the open in a crowded public venue.
    Credibility, you have none.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  61. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Argon:

    Whoa! The Washington Post is reporting that previous acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House last month about Flynn misleading officials about his contacts with the Russian government and that he might be vunerable to Russian blackmail.

    I think this Russia thing is going to blow up in the Mango Mussolini’s face…bigly.
    The collusion between Trump and Russia becomes more obvious everyday.
    It’s going to be very hard for the craven Republicans in Congress to ignore this much longer.
    And even the feckless media seems emboldened by the smell of blood in the water.
    The Trump sycophants like Guarneri won’t ever care; they don’t know the meaning of the word “principals”. Remember, even Nixon had supporters right up to the end.

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  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Drew is essentially a cheerleader- my team good, your team sucks. That’s all the perspective anyone needs to evaluate anything he says.

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  63. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    There are a lot of people asking, this morning, what did the president know and when did he know it?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-michael-flynn-flames_us_58a29e1ee4b0ab2d2b187775?
    That’s just stupid. The acting AG Sally Yates told the White House last month that Flynn lied and was vulnerable to blackmail…but as recently as yesterday afternoon Flynn still had the complete trust of the so-called president. Trump is in this up to his fat orange elbows. I’m betting one quick look at his taxes would prove it. He owes over $600M to China. Why in the world would anyone think he doesn’t owe Russia the same? Especially when Donnie Jr. law has said:

    “And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble,”

    I don’t ever want to utter the words “President Pence”…but Trump has to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  64. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Heh. A lot of the legal proclamations which were put out by the Holy Roman Empire were in Latin and Old French. My technique for dealing with the French was to down a bottle of beer or two, then read the stuff out loud. MUCH easier than dealing with the Latin…

    (I don’t know what it is about alcohol and understanding, but this trick seems to work very well for me for any language which is close to but not quite the same as one I know. I’ll have to try it on Ukrainian vis-a-vis Russian.)

    I wonder if I could write off the beers as a business expense…?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I don’t ever want to utter the words “President Pence”…but Trump has to go.

    Second the motion. But we’d have to live with Pence. We’d have Ryan playing for Pence the role Quayle played for HW, impeachment insurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  66. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Guarneri:

    Your partisan hackery is useless.

    Try masturbation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  67. Lit3Bolt says:

    @gVOR08:

    The fact that the replacement is a religion retard does not engender confidence.

    I bet Chris Christie is FURIOUS that he didn’t gobble up enough Russian sperm to have HIM be POTUS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  68. Argon says:

    Chaffetz to the rescue! No doubt the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee will be on that case…. now that his back is to the wall and weeks late after first declining to investigate Flynn’s rather obvious issues. I’m sure he’ll issue subpoenas to the highest level of the administration now and dig relentlessly….. ah, nevermind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  69. Pch101 says:

    Newsweek is claiming that the Russians are having a meltdown because of Flynn’s exit:

    http://www.newsweek.com/who-russian-ambassador-kislyak-and-other-questions-about-flynns-scandal-556636

    Meanwhile, Trump’s incompetence is just going to get worse. He’ll hire lousy people to carry out his lousy ideas, then throw them under the bus when they fail to execute his lousy ideas.

    I’m sure that Trump is a strong believer in personal accountability, i.e. everybody is personally accountable, except for him. Typical Republican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  70. Mr. Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..Just yesterday I met a new cashier at the local Panera Bread.
    She: “I just left Colorado Springs.”
    Me: “I have a friend who just moved there for Grad School.”
    She: “Oh, how nice. I was in the Air Force.”
    Me: “Really! Are you a pilot?”
    She: “No. I’m not tall enough.”
    Me: “What did you do for the Air Force?”
    She: “Russian Intelliegnce.”
    Me: “I think the President wants to talk to you!”
    She: “I don’t think so!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  71. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    What a dumbass. Doesn’t Flynn know you tell everyone you talked about yoga poses and your grandchildren. Even Loretta Lynch learned that……..

    Well, now Michael Flynn will have ample time to pursue his conspiracy fetishes. He can work with the Alex Jones/Breitbart private detective agency to confirm that Hillary Clinton is indeed running a child sex slave operation out of a family pizzeria in Washington DC.

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