Discussing the resignation of Mike Flynn on the Today Show, Matt Lauer blasted Kellyanne Conway for her steadfast denial of reality as she pretended that President Trump had only recently found out that his National Security adviser had been compromised by the Russians.
Conway’s insistence on lying finally drove Lauer to drop a bombshell question, the question that could bring the entire Trump administration down. Lauer said, “You’re starting to make me think that perhaps General Kelly wasn’t freelancing – I’m sorry, General Flynn. In fact he may have been making that call on behalf of the administration, or the incoming administration.”
Watch the Tuesday show here:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 14, 2017
Conway suggested that Flynn had President Trump’s full confidence, and they only became concerned when they found out Flynn lied to the Vice President, “misleading the Vice President was the key here.”
But Lauer wasn’t having any of that, because they found out a month ago.
Lauer pushed back forcefully, pointing out that the White House knew about Flynn’s Russia calls during the transition, “But the White House knew about that last month, when the Justice Department warned the White House that Flynn had not been completely honest!”
“You’re saying that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Lauer said of reports that Flynn misled Vice President Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, including five calls made on December 29, the day President Obama issued tougher sanctions on Russia for their interference in the U.S. election.
“But the White House knew about that last month, when the Justice Department warned the White House that Flynn had not been completely honest,” Lauer blasted, referring to the fact that the Obama administration warned the incoming Trump team that Trump’s pick as National Security adviser, Mike Flynn, could easily be bribed by the Russians.
“Well that’s one characterization,” Conway replied, pulling the alternative facts card.
Bizarrely, Conway used the fact that Flynn was still working in his position as a rebuttal to the correction of her inaccurate timeline of events. “But the fact is General Flynn continued in that position.”
Yes, and that is the problem. Anyone?
That was a road too far for Lauer, who shut that down right away, “Kellyanne, that makes no sense! Last month, the Justice Department warned the White House that General Flynn misled them. And that as a result he was vulnerable to blackmail. And at that moment he still had the complete trust of the president?”
To this harsh, stark, and very troubling reality, Conway offered no rebuttal. Instead she opted for the grand pivot, the “We’re moving on” pivot, with a cherry on top, “The President is moving forward.”
Then, Lauer went in for the kill. “You’re starting to make me think that perhaps General Kelly wasn’t freelancing – I’m sorry, General Flynn, in fact he may have been making that call, that in fact he may have been making that call on behalf of the administration, or the incoming administration. Would that be accurate?”
Kellyanne doubled down with her talking point that made no sense, “No, that would be a mistake to conclude that. In the end, it was misleading the Vice President that made the situation unsustainable.”
Lauer hung on to the bone, “… Which the White House knew about last month, and yet yesterday you went on the air and said General Flynn had the full confidence of the President.”
Conway tried to lay alternative haze over this by praising Trump for being loyal.
Lauer pointed out that Trump left Flynn in a position of great sensitivity. To this, Conway repeated her claim that it was the lie which caused this fallout, but of course they knew about the lie before Trump even took office.
The fact of the matter is we don’t even know that Vice President Pence did not know about the Russian connections. The Washington Post reported that while officials believe that Pence was misled, “they couldn’t rule out that Flynn was acting with the knowledge of others in the transition.”
And that phrase is the bombshell, as Lauer pointed out. It looks a lot like Flynn had the blessings of people in the administration to promise Russia that Trump would take care of the sanctions imposed by Obama. If this is the case, it’s not just Flynn that will be going down.
For at least a month, the Trump team sat on this bomb, covering it up, lying to the press and public. No alternative facts can save them this time.
The American public who might not pay close attention to the news but watch morning shows like the Today Show just got a huge dose of Trump Russia scandal, courtesy of Matt Lauer. This is not good news for Trump.
Image: Kellyanne Conway, screengrab via NBC’s Today Show
Ms. Jones is the 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.