Michael Flynn Resigns Amid Russian Revelations: “Dishonest or Forgetful”
Let’s not tarnish Michael Flynn’s reputation or anything, thirty years in the armed forces service, serving under two Presidents (even for only a few days), and lying to the general public about calling Russia to discuss how he would lift sanctions when he became President. Whoops, Michael Flynn was never elected. Michael Flynn was acting under orders from then-President Elect Trump. Tellingly, Trump hasn’t admitted that Flynn misled him about calling Russia to discuss sanctions then-President Obama had imposed, because Flynn wouldn’t have been in the position of calling Russia were it not for his position with Trump.
Obama had fired Flynn back when Obama was President for “insubordination,” and the scuttle is that Michael Flynn used increasingly hostile rhetoric toward Muslims. The AP reports that Flynn has maintained a rocky history:
The White House said Tuesday that President Trump asked for the resignation of his national security adviser, a hard-charging, feather-ruffling retired lieutenant general who just three weeks into the new administration had put himself in the center of a controversy. Flynn resigned late Monday.
At issue was Flynn’s contact with Moscow’s ambassador to Washington. Flynn and the Russian appear to have discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia late last year, raising questions about whether he was freelancing on foreign policy while President Barack Obama was still in office and whether he misled Trump officials about the calls.
The uncertainty about his future had deepened Monday when the White House issued a statement saying that Trump is “evaluating the situation” surrounding Flynn. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the transition and gave “incomplete information” about those discussions to Vice President Pence.
The center of a storm is a familiar place for Flynn. His military career ended when Obama dismissed him as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Flynn has said he was pushed out for holding tougher views than Obama about Islamic extremism. But a former senior U.S. official said the firing was for insubordination, after Flynn failed to follow guidance from superiors.
What a reputation. How could we tarnish Michael Flynn’s reputation when he has done such a smashing job of it himself? Indeed, it’s impossible to believe that a man who as in the military for about thirty years suddenly called Russia on tapped phones, unknowingly, of course, and discussed what would happen to Russian sanctions just as a concerned citizen. Why would Russia take calls from just any American citizen?
The Washington Post and other U.S. newspapers, citing current and former U.S. officials, reported last week that Flynn made explicit references to U.S. sanctions on Russia in conversations with Putin’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. One of the calls took place on Dec. 29, the day Obama announced new penalties against Russia’s top intelligence agencies over allegations they meddled in the election with the objective of helping Trump win.
While it’s not unusual for incoming administrations to have discussions with foreign governments before taking office, the repeated contacts just as the U.S. was pulling the trigger on sanctions suggests Trump’s team might have helped shape Russia’s response. They also contradicted denials about such sanctions discussions by several Trump administration officials, including the vice president. Some Democratic lawmakers want a congressional investigation.
Michael Flynn worked Intelligence. He made no mistakes. Either he felt he was immune to impropriety because Trump told him to call Russia, or he believed that Russia could protect him from fallout. The Japan Times had covered the story quoted above, and they also had a synthesized summary of Flynn’s military history, demonstrating that when a shake up this big happens in US intelligence circles, everyone notices.
Flynn’s sparkling military resume had included key assignments at home and abroad, and high praise from superiors.
The son of an Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Flynn was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1981. He started in intelligence and eventually rose to senior positions, including intelligence chief for U.S. Central Command.
Ian McCulloh, a Johns Hopkins data science specialist, became a Flynn admirer while working as an Army lieutenant colonel in Afghanistan in 2009. At the time, Flynn ran intelligence for the U.S.-led international coalition in Kabul and was pushing for more creative approaches to targeting Taliban networks, including use of data mining and social network analysis, according to McCulloh.
“He was pushing for us to think out of the box and try to leverage technology better and innovate,” McCulloh said, crediting Flynn for improving the effectiveness of U.S. targeting. “A lot of people didn’t like it because it was different.”
A man who started his career in intelligence and rose to Intelligence Chief for U.S. Central Command doesn’t “accidentally” “forget” his calls to foreign governments would have been monitored. Which leads us to the next question: What did Michael Flynn think would protect him from criminal charges when he began issuing deals for the US with Russia back in December 2016, before Trump was even President?
Flynn wasn’t the only Trump associate contacting the Russians during a time when it was confirmed that Russia interfered with the United States elections. News outlets seem to believe Trump’s motive for mentioning Electoral College numbers is merely hubris, but it’s also a way to distract any attention away from the fact that Trump would most likely have lost the election without Russia’s help. How can Trump’s win and Russia’s help ever be separated? When cornered, which is easy to accomplish with Trump, Trump responds by talking about the size of his win.
But there is more. Trump associates were also linked to stealthy calls to Russia, and those calls haven’t been openly discussed yet. The NY Times reports there are multiple calls from Trump’s team to Russia, with love, and they aren’t limited to the Michael Flynn scandal.
The intercepted calls are different from the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. In those calls, which led to Mr. Flynn’s resignation on Monday night, the two men discussed sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russia in December.
The F.B.I. declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment Tuesday night, but earlier in the day, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, stood by Mr. Trump’s previous comments that nobody from his campaign had contact with Russian officials before the election.
When Trump is questioned about his ties to Russia, Trump complains that “illegal leaks” were the only reason he essentially fired Flynn anyway. Trump never asserted that he didn’t support Flynn making side deals with Russia during Obama’s Presidency. Trump just complained that it was illegal for people to tell the public that Flynn had been talking with Russia.
President Trump lashed out at the nation’s intelligence agencies again on Wednesday, saying that his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was brought down by illegal leaks to the news media, on a day of new disclosures about the Trump camp’s dealings with Russia during and after the presidential campaign.
“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Mr. Trump said at a White House news conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel. “It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on. And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.”
Dodge and parry. That’s all Trump has left. “Dumpy Trumpy” as my father calls him, has no other options other than to keep evading questions he can’t answer without perjury at a later date.
CNN reports that the sheer volume of communication between Trump’s team, at a time when Russia was being sanctioned for interfering in the US elections, is enough to warrant investigation.
However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.Adding to US investigators’ concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access
Republicans are no longer rank and file supporting Trump and Michael Flynn with emerging Russian connections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday it’s “highly likely” the Senate intelligence committee will investigate former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador.
“I think the fundamental question for us is what is our involvement in it, and who ought to look at it,” the Kentucky Republican said. “And the intelligence committee is already looking at Russian involvement in our election. As Sen. (Roy) Blunt has already indicated, it is highly likely they will want to take look at this episode as well. They have the broad jurisdiction to do it.”The Senate’s second-ranking Republican and other GOP senators have called for an investigation into the episode, building on a string of investigations underway on Russian interference in the US elections. Sen. John Cornyn told reporters Tuesday that the Senate standing committees with oversight of intelligence needs to investigate.Asked by CNN if he wanted the Senate’s committees to investigate Flynn, Cornyn replied: “Yes.”
Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway made it sound like a mutual decision on Good Morning America as she gently ushered Flynn out.
Flynn resigned because he realized he’d become a distraction for the administration, she said. ‘It became increasingly unsustainable for him.’
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper parliamentary chamber, wrote on Facebook that Mr Flynn’s resignation was “not just paranoia but something even worse.
“Either Trump hasn’t found the necessary independence and he’s been driven into a corner… or Russophobia has permeated the new administration from top to bottom.”
Even the Russians see the writing on the wall, especially when Trump isn’t willing to face it.
“‘Flynn is out, but the Russian problem remains in the Trump White House,’ The expulsion of Flynn was the first act. Now the target is Trump himself,” Pushkov said in another tweet.
Perhaps the Valentine Trump sent to Russia with love is already fading.