We woke up this morning to this…
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.
1. Good. Good because it was evident from the beginning that this was a questionable appointment by Trump. Flynn is a hoax news addict and a well-established loose cannon. Good also because his removal was fast.
2. Naturally, the news media spin, since the idea is always to make the President look as bad as possible, is that this is a record for short tenure. The previous administration stuck with demonstrably incompetent, corrupt or untrustworthy officials for months, years and in the case of Eric Holder, more than a full term after they had shown that they were liabilities. There is no honor in giving power to someone who is unqualified and unworthy like Flynn, but it vastly compounds the breach of duty to hesitate to fire them as soon as their disqualifications are known. In this respect, at least, the President’s CEO habits, and his fondness for saying, “You’re fired,” served him, and the American people, well.
3. Next up: learn to deal with such unpleasant situations without making them worse with lies, obfuscation and transparent deception. Kellyanne Conway yesterday said that Flynn had the President’s “full confidence,” an obvious lie from the second the words left her mouth. (Conway would be a good candidate for the next hook. Or Reince Priebus. Or Sean Spicer. Or Steve Miller. Or Rudy Giuliani….) Then Trump denied that he was aware of Flynn’s deceptions, even as contrary news reports were flashing. This is just incompetent, and there is no excuse for it. Admittedly, this President has no reputation for truth to shatter, but these Jumbos (“Elephant? What elephant? “) make a leader look stupid or contemptuous of the intelligence of the public.
4. When I heard that the Fifth Column Justice Department under the justly fired Sally Yates had warned the Trump administration that Flynn might be blackmailed by the Russians, I assumed that the FBI learned that Putin had photos of Flynn in a Vegas hotel with a scantily dressed okapi or something. No, it was just the conversation with the Russian ambassador. Really? Was Obama risking blackmail in 2012 when he told outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev that Vladimir Putin should give him more “space” and that “[a]fter my election I have more flexibility”? That was at least as troubling an exchange; it was caught on a hot mic, so the question was moot. As with her grandstanding opposition to the immigration Executive Order, I see partisan sabotage in Yates’ warning. Is it plausible that the General would be so terrified of this revelation that he would sell out his country? Ridiculous.