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Wolffe writes: "This resignation and scandal is not a surprise. After all, we have a president who is too careless to handle a national security incident in a confidential manner."

Michael Flynn walks down the West Wing Colonnade. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Michael Flynn walks down the West Wing Colonnade. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


ALSO SEE: Michael Flynn Resigns: Trump's National Security Adviser Quits Over Russia Links
ALSO SEE: Trump Handled North Korea Crisis in Full View of Diners and Waiters at His Private Club

Mike Flynn Might Be Done - but Trump's Nightmare Has Just Begun

By Richard Wolffe, Guardian UK

14 February 17

 

This resignation and scandal is not a surprise. After all, we have a president who is too careless to handle a national security incident in a confidential manner

ast your mind back to four months ago, when Donald Trump was just a long-shot candidate with a hot-headed adviser by the name of Michael Flynn.

It was the homestretch of the presidential election and national security wasn’t some side issue, mentioned in passing. Trump promised he would be a tough national security president with the toughest national security team.

In fact, one of his favorite arguments was that Hillary Clinton couldn’t be trusted with the country’s national security because, he claimed, she couldn’t be trusted with her private email server.

It sounded ridiculous at the time. But after a month of this gonzo president, our memories are already fading. Propaganda will do that to you, as George Orwell warned us all in 1984. Sometimes two and two are four. Sometimes they are five.

Still, it’s true that the Trump campaign seized on the preposterous FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails to issue this press release: “Clinton’s Careless Use of a Secret Server Put National Security At Risk.”

Less than a week later, at their second presidential debate, Trump took the attack one step further, threatening to jail Clinton if he ever took power: “She didn’t know the word – the letter C on a document. Right? She didn’t even know what that word – what that letter meant.”

Let’s just pretend that Trump knew that C means Confidential, not Classified, as he was suggesting. Let’s even play along with the notion that Clinton’s server was a security risk to the country.

Now: what do Michael Flynn and Mar-a-Lago mean for national security?

To the fee-paying members of Trump’s Florida club, it means greater access to watch the president and Japanese prime minister reacting to the news of a North Korean missile launch in real time: huddling over documents and making phone calls on cellphones in public.

Or as one guest, Richard DeAgazio, put it on Facebook: “HOLY MOLY!!! It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan. The Prime Minister Abe of Japan huddles with his staff and the President is on the phone with Washington DC…Wow…the center of the action!!!”

Never mind classified information. Here is a president who is so careless that he can’t handle a national security incident in a confidential manner.

This kind of spectacle does wonders for the fees at Mar-a-Lago, where initiation has just doubled from $100,000 to $200,000 since its owner became president. But it does little for the national security of the country or its allies.

In case you think this is just one small lapse over dinner, Mr DeAgazio also posted to Facebook photos of the military aide carrying the nuclear codes that are frighteningly close to Trump’s trigger-happy mouth.

These are just minor details in the life of a commander-in-chief whose national security adviser was himself a national security risk.

Michael Flynn was so careless about his cellphone conversations, and so mistaken about his foreign policy priorities, that he called the Russian ambassador to the US before taking office.

Clearly clueless about how such conversations are transcribed by all parties, he talked about President Obama’s sanctions against Russia for interfering with the election that ended with Trump in the White House.

Then he denied talking about those sanctions at all, allegedly misleading the vice-president Mike Pence, who in turn misled the American people on national television about the same call.

Based on those reports that he misled the vice-president, Flynn could have been compromised by Russian blackmail. But then again, the Russians might already have enough ammunition against him if he accepted secret payments from the Kremlin when he traveled to Moscow in 2015.

Thank goodness for the independence and counter-intelligence activities of the justice department, who allegedly warned the White House that Flynn was a possible blackmail target several weeks ago.

Why didn’t Trump do to Flynn what he has done to so many reality TV contestants in his only real preparation for his current job? Why didn’t he just fire him instead of allowing him to quit?

After all, that is exactly what he did to the woman who warned him that Flynn was compromised. Acting attorney general Sally Yates was removed from her job for defending the Constitution by refusing to uphold the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries that remains blocked by several federal courts.

We can’t be sure what’s going on underneath Trump’s coiffured combover. Unless he’s watching cable news and simultaneously tweeting about his thoughts in real time.

Instead we have to rely on his public comments about Vladimir Putin’s Russia and his own United States. Comments like the ones he made barely a week ago, when Bill O’Reilly of Fox News dared to suggest that Putin was a killer. “We’ve got a lot of killers,” said Trump. “What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump is correct: his version of America is not so innocent. It’s the kind of place where a candidate can accuse his opponent of running a foundation that is “a criminal enterprise” for accepting money from foreign governments. Then, once that candidate becomes president, he can allow foreign governments to give his businesses money in Washington DC and Mar-a-Lago.

Perhaps Trump’s real problem with the Clinton Foundation wasn’t about Hillary’s character. It was just professional jealousy.

The only things protecting Trump from impeachment for his egregious behaviour are his poll numbers and the false sense of security they give to Republicans in Congress.

Sadly for Trump, those numbers are tumbling faster than the ratings of Celebrity Apprentice. In just three weeks, Trump has lost 5 points in his Gallup approval polls to hit 40%.

It took Richard Nixon four years to reach this low point, just a year before he quit the presidency. At this rate, Trump will reach Nixon’s all-time low of 24% approval before the end of April.

We have barely begun to scrape the surface of Trump’s fatal compromises with Russia. It was only last week that US officials say they corroborated some of the communications in the famous British dossier detailing those compromising situations.

Trump can pretend all he likes. He can bluster his way through TV interviews and at the presidential podium about everything from the tiny crowds at his inauguration to supposed illegal voting by non-citizens.

But sooner or later, the presidency – and the constitution it is supposed to defend – catches up with you. A commander-in-chief can’t compromise his own nation’s security and expect to keep his job.

Flynn’s short White House career may be over. But Trump’s nightmare-a-lago has only just begun.


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+52 # walthe310 2017-02-14 09:51
President Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has resigned. Is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning for the Trump administration? Both, I think.
 
 
+33 # HowardMH 2017-02-14 10:37
walthe310, I sure hope you are correct on both points.

Flynn didn't make those calls on his own, he is smart enough. Trump not only knew he was making them, Trump instructed Flynn to make them -- that makes Trump just as guilty as Flynn.

I'm not hearing much from the media that makes that comparison, much less digging in and pushing the info really hard back at the White House.

Hello media start "DOING YOUR JOB"!!!
 
 
+8 # itsnowornever 2017-02-14 17:16
They both have aleady done so much damage to the country and then we have Mike Pence waiting in the wings. Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.
 
 
+55 # ligonlaw 2017-02-14 10:01
What a party favor - the chance to watch a real president in action! A chance to get a photo-op with the guy who carries the nuclear codes! A chance to use your cell phone to photograph top secret documents! That $200,000 in club dues is so paying off. Damn, it's good to be rich!
 
 
+23 # Gordon Berry 2017-02-14 11:23
Agreed! - Except i do not like your misnomer "real". Trouble is that Trump was never a CEO having to satisfy a Board - He was just the "King" (with no clothers) in his own private compmany.
 
 
+29 # HowardMH 2017-02-14 11:56
Yes, you are so correct, and this is a perfect example as to why Trump needs to be impeached NOW, before he really does start a needless war.
 
 
+38 # thekidde 2017-02-14 10:19
Herr Drumpf begs impeachment. Grab that by the pussy Donnie Boy.
 
 
+52 # zepp 2017-02-14 10:24
Trump doesn't need to worry about impeachment. If his buddy Putin decides Trump is compromised and is now a liability, Trump has to worry about polonium in his tea.
 
 
+31 # thekidde 2017-02-14 10:41
Unfortunately, the VP is a consummate ass, too.
 
 
+9 # D.Glowacki@comcast.net 2017-02-14 10:45
If Trump threatens the real powers behind the throne, they won't bother with impeachment to remove him from the presidency and replace him with a more controllable demon -- Pence.
 
 
+3 # Gordon Berry 2017-02-14 11:26
Now there is an idea... where can one find some polonium for some Mar-a-Lago tea.
 
 
0 # Old Uncle Dave 2017-02-14 10:38
http://thesaker.is/the-neocons-and-the-deep-state-have-neutered-the-trump-presidency-its-over-folks/
 
 
+9 # agronomo 2017-02-14 10:48
Glad to see him go. One down, many more to come. The whole damn Repugnant team is compromised. The question has been raised whether Flynn spoke with the Russian Ambassador about removing the sanctions on his own initiative or whether he was instructed to do so. Surely this must have occurred to some Repugnant Congresspersons ? As leaky as this Ship of State is, how long before we hear of it? They might be happy to remove him then, since they would still have Pence to hold a pen.
 
 
+9 # Rcomm 2017-02-14 11:08
You are forgetting Sessions is now head of the DOJ, the republicans control the House 239 to 193. Impeachment begins in the House with a majority of 218 votes to impeach.
 
 
0 # Caliban 2017-02-16 00:12
Clearly the first task is for Democrats to take back the House in 2018.

So, please contribute, volunteer, and (if you feel brave and have access to some funding) run for office.
 
 
0 # farmgoddess 2017-02-16 18:57
Unfortunately for the American public, many of the dims are just as entrenched in the corpotocracy. There are a few good ones that I'd love to see assume major roles, like Elizabeth Warren.
I think what we really need is to create a robust third party that represents regular working Americans and not corporate donors. Along these lines, ditch the electoral college and establish publicly funded elections that are limited in time - like in Europe.
 
 
+16 # Citizen Mike 2017-02-14 11:32
Ah, this is Trump's nightmare, not ours, it is the beginning of the end for him as his connections to Russia unravel starting with this loose thread of Flynn. Trump's loyalty to the United States and his allegiance to our national interests will now come under scrutiny and be questioned. It will become clear that he has colluded with the Russians to help him get elected and he now owes them favors he promised before he took office. Flynn will be investigated and to save his ass will reveal that he was acting as Trump's proxy to assure Putin of his cooperation. The CIA, which Trump has made his enemy, will leak information supporting Trump's Russian connection and accusations of disloyalty to US interests. This will certainly trigger an impeachment process led by embarrassed Republicans.
 
 
+9 # itsnowornever 2017-02-14 17:23
All this is our nightmare as well-since he is now in government. Back in the days of The Apprentice his bad behavior was limited to the contestants and his business associations. His bad behavior now contaminates the U.S.
 
 
+13 # johnborksales 2017-02-14 12:18
We may be relieved that Mike Flynn is gone but, the egomaniac still has his hands on the black box.
 
 
+19 # Sisko24 2017-02-14 12:32
For me, the big question is when will this Trump stupidity/incom petence begin to drag down the GOP Congress and when will it begin to show up in polls which will rattle the GOP Congress. Until they begin to fear losing their next election, nothing else matters.
 
 
+15 # DongiC 2017-02-14 12:56
Trump has a few screws loose which makes him very vulnerable and very open to blackmail, especially to the Russians who play their opponents for all they are worth. I think the Donald will eventually make some mistakes and, then, Putin will apply the pressure with no mercy shown. Good bye Trumpster
 
 
+10 # Indie 2017-02-14 13:33
There is something ironic about the idea that Putin got Trump elected and he is the one who will get him removed. Are we a colony of Russia or an independent nation? I begin to wonder.
 
 
-3 # tr4302@gmail.com 2017-02-14 20:43
Close ranks in the face of the tyrant and let us move forward united and firm.
We have found the enemy and he is us Walt Kelly Pogo.
 
 
-1 # ericlipps 2017-02-15 06:07
Quote:
The only things protecting Trump from impeachment for his egregious behaviour are his poll numbers and the false sense of security they give to Republicans in Congress.
Well, there's also the prospect of a President Mike Pence.
 
 
0 # Disappointed 2017-02-15 11:29
Why are we so worried about Russia. Our military-indust rial complex is afraid peace might break out and there would be no reason to continue our military expenses at the same rate. Russia has brought stability to Syria, while we were arming jihadists. We destabilized Ukraine and Russia could not risk its naval base in Crimea. Ukraine was deliberately destabilized because the Clinton State Dept neocons felt we were getting to close to Russia. Trump is being sabotaged by CIA and neocons - Democrats and Republicans.
 
 
0 # pratt@cs.stanford.edu 2017-02-16 02:28
Russian jets in the past few months have killed 50% more Syrians than ISIS has in the past few years. If that's your idea of Russia bringing stability to Syria then you're as much a killer as Putin, just not as well armed perhaps.
 
 
+1 # LandLady 2017-02-16 22:48
Why is the U.S. in Syria anyway? To take down an elected president. Isn't that against international law? Russia was invited there by Pres. Assad to help defend him and his country against the U.S. Russia is there more legitimately than we are. For us it is another war of aggression like Vietnam and so many more. Note when our newspaper articles report on the Syrian war they often don't mention the U.S. at all. It's as if we aren't there, when in reality we are a big part of the problem with that war that is killing and displacing so many citizens of that country. Truly shameful.
 

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