Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn and Stephen Miller are the ideological triumvirate that shaped Trump’s campaign and very young (and yet sclerotic) presidency. They have led the extreme anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant charge with the Priebus, Conway, Giuliani crowd following along adopting whatever new idea Trump says he is now a fervent believer in. Like people with severe short term memory issues Priebus, Conway and Giuliani have become loud and proud adherents to ideas and people that they had previously denounced as dangerous and wrongheaded. But Flynn is this guy with a strong connection to Russia and Putin:
And he’s this incredibly dishonest guy exhorting the crowd to chant “Lock Her Up”:
This is someone who was fired by the Obama administration and is seen as a loose cannon who spouts nutty ideas. Which is why Trump loves him.
He resigned, likely with the hope that all this controversy would die with him and wouldn’t bring down his beloveds Don and Vlad. But it is hard to imagine that Trump didn’t know about Flynn’s connections and his phone calls, so once again the old Howard Baker question “what did the president know and when did he know it?” reverberates through D.C.
It’s a victory for better government to have people like this out of it. Hard to imagine an administration, less than a month old, that has already been smacked down by the courts, with an even bigger embarrassment in a National Security Adviser that had to resign. Not coincidentally the heroine of both situations is former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. If Trump had just listened to her he could have avoided (or minimized) both problematic situations.
As The Washington Post reported late Monday, just hours before Flynn resigned, the White House was told weeks ago that Flynn had apparently misled them about his talks with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
Yet the situation didn’t come to a head until the public disclosures last week of Flynn’s faulty recollection of the call — and specifically, the fact that it included talk about sanctions, which Flynn and Vice President Pence had both denied.
Which leads to the question: Was the White House concerned that Flynn had apparently lied to them — or at least done something he shouldn’t have and failed to disclose it? Would it ever have taken corrective action if the situation hadn’t been made public?
As Frank Bruni says this is Trump’s just desserts:
Donald Trump’s zeal for extreme vetting has one glaring exception, one gaping blind spot: his own administration…
Michael Flynn’s fall was foreordained, predictable by anyone with the time, patience and fundamental seriousness to take an unblinking look at his past, brimming as it was with accusations of shoddy stewardship and instances of rashness.
This is a man who once claimed that Arabic signs along the Mexican border pointed terrorists toward the United States — and who never provided any corroboration of that. I learned of this particular bit of hysteria when it was being discussed one night on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN. The Trump apologist Kayleigh McEnany was asked for her reaction. She said that no one could prove that there weren’t such signs.