Vice President Pence and Trump’s NSA Michael Flynn talked Friday morning and Friday evening in an attempt to repair the damage done by Flynn lying to Pence about his contact with Russia, as revealed in the Flynn report.
But President Trump denied any knowledge of the Flynn report Friday evening, while on a plane with Michael Flynn, heading to Trump’s Florida Mar-a-Lago resort.
“I don’t know about that. I haven’t seen it. What report is that? I haven’t seen that. I’ll look into that,” President Trump said aboard Air Force One Friday evening.
If President Trump was being honest with the press, he kept Flynn in his current position as National Security adviser without even inquiring about the report.
On Friday, Senator Claire McCaskill, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to FBI Director Comey demanding an immediate briefing on Flynn’s communications with the Russian government. (A hypocrisy prize of the year award if Comey dodges this by claiming he doesn’t release information on ongoing investigations.)
Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, called for Flynn to step down if he misled the American people and “secretly discussed with Russia undermining US sanctions.”
And Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (D-NY) demanded that Trump fire General Flynn.
So all of these elected officials knew of this report about Trump’s National Security adviser, but the President claimed Friday evening that he was unaware of it.
Is he also unaware that Flynn was forced out of his position in Intelligence Community?
This is the same Trump who didn’t know he had signed an executive order putting Steve Bannon on the National Security Council, and who on Friday left a classified bag with the key in it on his desk as non-cleared people traipsed through his office.
Is anyone at the wheel in this White House?
There is no excuse for Trump not knowing about the Flynn report, which is what he claimed. If he did know about it and he’s lying to the press, that is also problematic.
Either way, we need to know why Trump left Flynn in position after finding out that Flynn probably undermined America in talks to Russia. Flynn’s top aide has already been denied security clearance, though the reasons for this weren’t given.
The Flynn debacle is worse than simply lying to the Vice President, who then seemingly unknowingly carried that lie to the press. Flynn’s discussions with Russia’s U.S. Ambassador were not a one-time contact. This contact began before the election and continued through the transition, according to the Washington Post and the New York Times.
If Trump enabled a person who was working with an enemy of the United States by naming him his National Security adviser that is a high crime. If Trump ignored all of the public information available about the Flynn/Russia connection and moved forward anyway, that is a high crime. The Flynn scandal is worthy of presidential impeachment, because of Trump’s own actions.
This isn’t hyperbole. We are talking about a President who put a person who already had been accused of championing problematic, anti-American interests with pro-Russian friendliness in the West Wing.
On November 21, Douglas E. Schoen wrote for Fox News about Flynn and not just about his dinner with Putin and troubling RT propaganda appearances, “While Flynn is certainly a patriot who has served his country, he is also dangerously pro-Russia, and dramatically underestimates the threat that Putin poses to American values, interests, and allies around the world.
…Flynn is either willfully ignorant of Russia’s outright hostility towards NATO, or he is simply opposed to defending American interests and allies in Europe. Neither option inspires confidence in his role as National Security Adviser.”
Flynn had been talking to Russia and possibly undermining America by selling Russia on the idea that the Trump administration would be easier regarding the sanctions President Obama issued as retaliation for Russian interference with our election.
The NSA also chairs meetings that the president does not attend, with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. So if Trump isn’t Russia inclined, but his NSA is, Trump is allowing a person who worked to undermine America lead meetings with the SOS and SOD.
This is impeachable level incompetence, as Trump’s (at best) poor decision making abilities are endangering our national security. At worst, Trump knew of Flynn’s talks with Russia and he knew Flynn lied to Pence.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.