There is trouble in Donald Trump’s cabinet. New trouble. Amidst all Donald Trump’s posturing and lies about his Kremlin ties, and on Friday his blaming political enemies and Hillary Clinton, comes the revelation that, as CNBC’s John Harwood tweeted,
"According to US govt official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador several times the day Obama announced retaliation" https://t.co/u9KmTi8Yqv
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 13, 2017
Yes. This is a problem. Michael Flynn is to be Donald Trump’s national security advisor, and here he was apparently undermining President Obama’s foreign policy decisions on behalf of a man who has yet to take office.
As David Ignatius, who broke the story, observes at The Washington Post,
“Trump said Wednesday that his relationship with President Vladimir Putin is “an asset, not a liability.” Fair enough, but until he’s president, Trump needs to let Obama manage U.S.-Russia policy.”
Clearly, Trump was no more doing that than he was not carrying out diplomacy with other countries from Trump Tower on Obama’s watch. Ignatius explains,
According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump can cry foul, that this, too, is “fake news” but AP has confirmed Ignatius’ story.
Backdoor diplomacy aside, intelligence specialist Malcolm Nance, an analyst for NBC/MSNBC asks a more serious question: “Do we have an Espionage problem in Trump campaign team? Did Trump & Flynn cut a deal w/Russia on its spies behind Obama’s back?”
The more Donald Trump raises his voice or his smartphone in denial, the more guilty he looks. This morning’s tirade about Hillary Clinton and imaginary political enemies being out to get him are a substitute for the real news, which is Trump’s very real and very shady dealings with Vladimir Putin.
Michael Flynn is supposed to our general, not Putin’s, just as Donald Trump is supposed to be our president, not Putin’s governor of his North American colonies. There is a whole lotta lawbreaking going on in Trump Tower, and it is time for Congress to call a halt to Trump’s power play and rein it in before it’s too late.