Donald Trump was rattled into another Twitter meltdown after the Russia hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday during which former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified.
But the bottom line is it took 18 days for the Trump White House to get rid of retired General Mike Flynn after they were told that he was being dishonest about his conversations with Russian officials.
Sally Yates said on Monday that White House Counsel Don McGahn asked her, “Why does it matter to the DOJ if one White House official lies to another official?”
Yates answer was that you don’t want your National Security Adviser compromised by the Russians. This is kind of a derp moment, because even the greenest president would know this.
“To state the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised by the Russians,” Yates told the panel. Malcolm Nance highlighted that the Russians have their own transcript of the Flynn call and could blackmail the White House if they lie.
Yates also said that the more explanation Flynn gave was increasing series of lies that compromised him (and the Trump White House, don’t forget) further.
But for the Donald Trump White House, it was not alarming that the man they put in charge as NSA was compromised. And they knew he was compromised. They knew this for at least 18 days per Sally Yates.
But they also knew it because President Obama himself warned Trump. Less than 48 hours after the November election, Obama warned Trump not to hire Flynn, whom the former President had fired in 2014 for temperament issues (and let’s face it, because everyone knew he was off).
So what did Trump do? He not only re-hired Flynn, but elevated him to be his NSA.
Now this might seem confusing because Trump is blaming Obama for Trump hiring and not vetting Flynn. But then, Trump has yet to own a mistake he’s made.
Trump was told personally, by a man who has yet to be busted by the press for a lie anywhere near the level that Trump achieves on a daily basis, not to hire Flynn.
The Trump White House was told again, after they hired Flynn, that he was compromised.
And they kept him on for 18 days until the pressure became insurmountable from the media.
Now there are two people who can testify that Donald Trump knew about Flynn and hired him and then kept him on while knowing this.
This is very bad news for Donald Trump, and that’s why Republican ran the hearing yesterday like they were on a desperate deflection mission.
This double corroboration that Trump knew about Flynn is a huge part of holding Trump directly responsible for his decision to hire and keep Flynn, and it’s also damning in terms of the entire Russian collusion narrative (not yet proven, only being investigated) swirling around Trump’s entire campaign and top level advisers.
There’s no plausible deniability for Trump on Flynn now. And that’s a big problem for Donald Trump.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
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 has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.