I’m foregoing my usual Tuesday ritual or ridiculing David Brooks’s newest column (don’t worry, David, I’m sure I’ll find time for you tomorrow) to write a bit about the resignation of Mike Flynn and the Trump administration’s inability to get its message straight:
Spicer said that President Trump first heard about Flynn’s deceptions on January 26th, after Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House Counsel about it. Spicer says there was a slow erosion of trust which led over almost three weeks to Flynn’s ouster on February 13th. This makes no sense at all. Flynn appears to have maintained all his access to the center of the national security process right up until the day he was fired. Mere hours before his ouster top administration officials were still saying he had the full confidence of the President.
Obviously, we may never know the full extent of Flynn’s conversations concerning sanctions with the Russian ambassador if the Republican-controlled congress makes a strong enough effort to resist it, and we can fully expect that the Trump administration will continue to lie and deflect, however bumblingly, at every turn along the way.
So I have nothing new or interesting to say on that matter. What I want to get into is the brazen stupidity with which Trump and his surrogates are clumsily attempting to rewrite history and cover up their own malfeasance. Right wing media are already doing their bit to defend Flynn and Trump by trying to turn the focus on the intelligence agencies from which the information about Flynn’s conversations leaked. From Fox News:
Yet the leak itself is raising serious questions — because when the intelligence community captures phone calls of an American inside the U.S., even if the discussion involves a foreign national (in this case an ambassador), steps must be taken to shield the American caller’s identity.
… Senate homeland security committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told Fox News that “somebody in the nebulous intelligence community” would have had access to the Flynn discussions.
“Who tapped the phones, who was listening to it, who leaked it? I think those are legitimate questions to ask,” he told Fox News on Tuesday. “Leaks of this nature are incredibly damaging to America … and we need to look into it.”
Tuesday at the
Will there be an investigation? I don’t get my hopes up for reports that congressional Republicans are considering it, even if it’s coming from Mitch McConnell, because there are plenty of Rand Pauls in the world:
“I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party,” Paul said. “I think it makes no sense.”
And then we get it from the man himself:
So, to sum up:
- We’re not supposed to care that Flynn has ties to Russia, and that he’s the third in Trump’s entourage to resign over Russian links. (Don’t forget good ol’ Paul Manafort and Carter Page.)
- We are supposed to care that there are leaks within the security agencies, even though Flynn’s deception was reported to the White House and ignored, so intelligence officials leaked it to the press. This is somehow worse than a foreign government hacking into one party’s server, stealing information, and leaking it. Also, remember that Trump explicitly asked the Russians to hack into Clinton’s email.
- We’re supposed to believe that those leaks signal a far greater danger to national security than having an administration with ties to Putin’s Russia that they’re clearly uncomfortable being forthright about.
- Jason Chaffetz promised unending investigations into Hillary Clinton when he thought she would be elected, and then promised investigations even after she lost. But he doesn’t think it’s the House Oversight Committee’s place to look into something like this.
- We’re not supposed to care that the Trump administration is obviously lying about this entire ordeal, and that they’re so uncreative in coming up with talking points that right wing media is having to do the legwork for them.
One of the saddest things in all this, especially if this scandal continues to unfold and becomes more explosive, is that Republicans and the people who vote for them will learn nothing. We’re not even a month into Trump’s presidency and their incompetence, coupled with Republicans’ steadfast insistence to defend everything, is staggering.