Understanding why President Donald Trump’s national security adviser is in such hot water!
On Friday, a story came out regarding President Donald Trump’s top national security advisor, General Michael Flynn, in which he discussed sanctions with a Russian diplomat while Barack Obama was still in office. Of course, we don’t have to tell you that’s a problem! But so far, President Trump has been pretty mum about the whole situation.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 13, 2017
So what did Flynn actually do and how much trouble is he actually in? Let’s find out!
[UPDATE 02/14/17: Michael Flynn resigned last night, thus ending his 24-day tenure as National Security Adviser. Just an FYI, Politico says that the average National Security Advisor last 963 days, so yeah… Also it’s important to note, that Flynn stated in his resignation letter, that neither President Trump nor Vice-President Pence knew the details about his phone call to the Russian Ambassador. Finally, President Trump announced last night that Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg would be acting National Security Adviser in Flynn’s place.]
- The Basic Scenario: The allegation comes from a Washington Post story that claims President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, General Michael Flynn, had called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late-December, right after the then Obama administration had slapped on new Russian sanctions as a retaliation for the hacks on the 2016 US elections. During the call, the two officials covered the newly introduced Russian sanctions and the possibility of the Trump administration rolling them back in the near future.
- Why Flynn is in Trouble: It doesn’t take a political genius to see that what Flynn did is a major no-no. Trying to “defang” the Obama administration in its international sanctions on Russia – while Barack Obama is still in office no less! – goes much further than a political faux pas. In no uncertain terms, Flynn basically undermined the office of the presidency, or in other words, undermined the US government in terms of international matters!!
- What Makes It Worse, Is That He Lied About It: The old “Watergate Rule” in politics still stands; covering-up what you did, makes the crime look so much worse.” Originally when Flynn was questioned about the phone call to the Russian Ambassador, he said that the call was just to wish the ambassador a Merry Christmas.
- Could Others in the Trump Administration Be in Trouble as Well?: Absolutely! It wasn’t only Flynn pushing the narrative of a cordial phone call either, Trump’s entire team at the time was pushing a similar story. Particularly Vice President Mike Pence had gone on multiple Sunday shows proclaiming the timing of Flynn’s call to Russia was just “coincidental.” Now many are asking if Pence had knowingly lied to the American public about Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador.
- What Makes This EVEN WORSE, Flynn Has Had Close Ties to Russia in the Past: Flynn’s close ties to Russia has been a sticking point with many, going back to when he was serving as the Trump campaign’s top national security expert. He has not only been very outspoken about his willingness to work with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in chasing terrorist targets, but has been a regular guest on the Russia’s state-run news network, Russia Today or better known as RT.
- What Law Did Flynn Exactly Break Here?: Well, there are two ways Flynn could have broken the law. The most obvious answer here is that he violated the Logan Act, which forbids unauthorized citizens in negotiating with foreign governments that have a dispute with the US. While no one has ever been charged with violating the Logan Act, Flynn undermining the Obama administration when it had just issued sanctions against Russia, would definitely fall under violating that rule. The second way Flynn could be in trouble (and the more likely outcome here) would be if he lied to FBI investigators! Based on the Washington Post story, FBI investigators had questioned Flynn about the content of the phone calls to the Russian Ambassador and he directly told them that he had not discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Now that looks to not be the case. Based on past history, the government doesn’t look too kindly on those who lie to federal agents.
- How Is the Trump Administration Handling the Flynn Situation?: Basically they are just avoiding questions on the matter entirely. So in other words, how you would guess the Trump administration would answer to questions regarding Flynn.
Regardless of what happens to Flynn, President Trump looks to have his first major cabinet scandal on his hands. Also considering Flynn has been an earlier supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign, there’s a good chance he might not be going anywhere.
(Photo Credit: C-SPAN’s YouTube Channel)