The Trump administration is facing close scrutiny today as National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns over questions about conversations with Russia.
This is not the first time that Michael Flynn has been involved with Russia, nor the first time that he has had to leave his position because of it.
In 2014, Flynn was fired by then President Obama for a supposed clash in leadership styles. The timing of Flynn’s firing was suspicious even then. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, had been deeply involved with Russia up to that point.
Donations were pouring in to the Clinton Foundation from Russian donors. The donations increased as Clinton successfully brokered a deal with Russia’s state atomic energy agency, Rosatom.
Canadian bank records show four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation from the Canadian Company Uranium One, which had conveniently just been bought out by Rosatom. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons.
Shortly after, Bill received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
The total donations from Uranium One shareholders to the Foundation exceeded $145 million just as Clinton’s State Department gave Russia control of about 20% of U.S uranium.
Less than a year afterwards, as the Clinton’s were drawing scrutiny, Michael Flynn, then the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was abruptly fired by President Obama. Throughout his short time with that administration he had been an outspoken advocate for intelligence sharing. He was also a leader in coalition and special operations intelligence activities.
President Trump brought Michael Flynn in with a clean slate, according to Kellyanne Conway. After the questionable firing in 2014 and a follow-up trip to Russia, the Department of Justice warned that Flynn might not be immune to blackmail from Russians.
Flynn’s talks with Russia occurred during the less than smooth transition between Obama and Trump. Obama had just issued sanctions against Russia for supposed interference in the 2016 election.
The world collectively held its breath, wondering if Obama’s foolishness would result in a war. There were certainly a sigh of relief when Putin did not retaliate. The question was, why?
We now know that Flynn was maneuvering behind the scenes, smoothing hurt egos and promising relief once President Trump was sworn in.
Flynn denies any wrongdoing stating, “In the course of my duties as the incoming National Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the President, his advisors and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude. Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
Apology accepted maybe, but President Trump is not allowing Flynn to stick around long enough to do any more damage.
Conway reported that the biggest issue for their team came when Flynn misled Pence about the content of the discussions with Russia.
“In the end, it was misleading the vice president that made the situation unsustainable,” Conway told TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “The incomplete information or the inability to completely recall what did or did not happen as reflected in his debriefing of particular phone calls — that really is what happened here.”
President Trump has no choice at this point; any benefit of the doubt that he gave Flynn is gone. Solid answers about whether Flynn lied or just forgot are likely to be elusive.
We do know that Flynn engaged in a series of phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the month before President Trump was sworn in. The appropriateness of those calls is being called into question by then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. She and the Department of Justice were eavesdropping on the conversations.
The source of the calls contents, Yates and the DoJ, present a challenge. Yates was recently fired by President Trump for defying her duty to enforce his Executive order on immigration. It is more than a little suspicious that the DoJ and Yates held on to Flynn’s phone recordings until now, months after they took place.
If they truly were violations of the law, shouldn’t we have been hearing about them before Yates was even fired?
This convenient timing is reinforced when we consider the question, was the government monitoring Russian communications or Trump’s transition team? The fact that highly sensitive intelligence was leaked to the media suggests the latter.
Democrats are no doubt, cheering loudly at this “scandal.” In one large bomb they have cast apprehensions over Trump’s whole administration. When Flynn was fired in 2014, it became a convenient distraction for Clinton’s dealings with Russia.
It would certainly appear that the left has found a use for Flynn once again; allowing him to become part of Trump’s cabinet and only then releasing the conversations with Russia.
It is worth noting that Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, warned then President Elect Trump to not take on the intelligence community. His dire and now prophetic prediction was, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”
Clearly, the Democrats had a plan in place and were simply waiting for the correct time to release it. Flynn may be little more than a pawn in the grand scheme. On the other hand, evidence may still be coming that reveals he was fully involved from the beginning.
His long-standing relations with Russia made him perfect for this part either way. The way the information was leaked is actually a crime in itself but the Democrats are making sure to direct attention away from that. It was certainly one of their own who was responsible.
President Trump and his advisors must face this challenge head on. A clean cut with Flynn is just the first step. Trump has repeatedly said he is going to clean house, Yates was part of that. The time for that cleaning is now.
Everyone’s loyalty is in question. The Democrats excel at this kind of subterfuge and they are starting to detonate the land mines they have set up.
Their schemes to cast suspicions on Trump have largely failed. They are now resorting to some rather serious tactics. Indicative of their fear that President Trump will succeed, he needs to turn his attention to their panic to prevent any other scandals from erupting.