Flynn resignation

It seems that lying to the American people is fine but lying to the President of Vice President crosses a line.

Gordon Campbell:  Out like Flynn

So Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn – the guy who had the cosiest links to Putin’s Russia – has been asked by Trump to resign, under pressure on all sides for lying to (a) the American people and (b) his boss. Only the latter is a sackable offence in Washington, and we can safely assume that Trump’s new Attorney-General Jeff Sessions won’t be prosecuting Flynn for committing a criminal offence under the Logan Act.

Presumably, not prosecuting Flynn will be the quid pro quo for Flynn keeping his mouth shut about whether he’d been merely acting under orders from Trump, when Flynn made contact with the Russian ambassador to re-assure Putin that the US sanctions on Russia would be lifted once the new administration had settled into the White House.

RealClear Politics: National Security Council

I haven’t been following things in the US but even the headlines sound not very flash.

Blomberg: The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn

If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned because he lied about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the vice president. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway told NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday: “Misleading the vice president really was the key here.”

That sounds about as credible as when the president told CIA employees that the media had invented the story about his enmity toward the spy agency, not even two weeks after he had taken to Twitter to compare the CIA to Nazis. It’s about as credible as President Donald Trump’s insistence that it didn’t rain during his inauguration. Or that millions of people had voted illegally in the election he just won.

The point here is that for a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it’s strange that Flynn’s “lie” to Pence would get him fired. It doesn’t add up.

In the end, it was Trump’s decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition. Nunes told me Monday night that this will not end well. “First it’s Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus,” he said. Put another way, Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.

The Trump train wreck continues.

 

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43 Comments

  1. Pete Kane

     /  February 15, 2017

    General Flynn’s resignation ‘very corporately handled’ – Ed Schultz

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 15, 2017

    Very selective quotation from that article, PG. How about this:

    There is another component to this story as well — as Trump himself just tweeted. It’s very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

    Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.

    In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush’s first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

    Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. “There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration,” he said. “From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern.”

    Nunes said he was going to bring this up with the FBI, and ask the agency to investigate the leak and find out whether Flynn himself is a target of a law enforcement investigation. The Washington Post reported last month that Flynn was not the target of an FBI probe.

    The background here is important. Three people once affiliated with Trump’s presidential campaign — Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone — are being investigated by the FBI and the intelligence community for their contacts with the Russian government. This is part of a wider inquiry into Russia’s role in hacking and distributing emails of leading Democrats before the election.

    Flynn himself traveled in 2015 to Russia to attend a conference put on by the country’s propaganda network, RT. He has acknowledged he was paid through his speaker’s bureau for his appearance. That doesn’t look good, but it’s also not illegal in and of itself. All of this is to say there are many unanswered questions about Trump’s and his administration’s ties to Russia.

    But that’s all these allegations are at this point: unanswered questions. It’s possible that Flynn has more ties to Russia that he had kept from the public and his colleagues. It’s also possible that a group of national security bureaucrats and former Obama officials are selectively leaking highly sensitive law enforcement information to undermine the elected government.

    Flynn was a fat target for the national security state. He has cultivated a reputation as a reformer and a fierce critic of the intelligence community leaders he once served with when he was the director the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama. Flynn was working to reform the intelligence-industrial complex, something that threatened the bureaucratic prerogatives of his rivals.

    He was also a fat target for Democrats. Remember Flynn’s breakout national moment last summer was when he joined the crowd at the Republican National Convention from the dais calling for Hillary Clinton to be jailed.

    In normal times, the idea that U.S. officials entrusted with our most sensitive secrets would selectively disclose them to undermine the White House would alarm those worried about creeping authoritarianism. Imagine if intercepts of a call between Obama’s incoming national security adviser and Iran’s foreign minister leaked to the press before the nuclear negotiations began? The howls of indignation would be deafening.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 15, 2017

      And:

      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/02/cia_broke_the_law_to_take_out_its_critic_general_flynn.html

      Make no mistake: we have just witnessed an operation by members of the CIA to take out a high official of our own government. An agency widely believed to have brought down democratically elected governments overseas is now practicing the same dark arts in domestic American politics. Almost certainly, its new head, Mike Pompeo, was not consulted.

      Senator Chuck Schumer, of all people, laid out on January 2 what was going to happen to the Trump administration if it dared take on the deep state – the permanent bureaucracy that has contempt for the will of the voters and feels entitled to run the government for its own benefit:

      New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

      “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

      “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

      Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  February 15, 2017

      Thanks Alan, that provides better balance than the article above which is more akin to wishful thinking on the part of the writer than fact.

      Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 15, 2017

    Former Reagan and Bush defense advisor Richard Perle weighs in on National Security Advisor Mike Flynn in an interview with Steve Malzberg of Newsmax.

    PERLE: There’s a huge effort to make problems for Mike Flynn, I don’t think there is any doubt about that. We don’t know the substance of the conversations so it’s very difficult to judge….

    Without the substance of the conversation we won’t know. But what’s really striking is that if there are intercepts, these leaks of intercepts are coming from inside of the intelligence community, and that’s a terrible thing, undermining the National Security Advisor by leaking information.

    And clearly the intelligence community doesn’t like Flynn because he shook them up when he was trying to make our intelligence services effective in Afghanistan. And he did a lot of things that were not welcome by the CIA…

    I hope he stays. He’s a very capable guy. And he’s pushed out by maneuvering on part of the CIA, working with opponents of the administration, it will be a very bad sign of things to come.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/02/13/richard_perle_bad_sign_if_cia_leakers_force_flynn_out.html

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  February 15, 2017

      And another nicely balanced commentary on the leakers who exposed Flynn’s lies:

      That Flynn lied about what he said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was first revealed by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who has built his career on repeating what his CIA sources tell him. In his January 12 column, Ignatius wrote: “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.”

      That “senior U.S. government official” committed a serious felony by leaking to Ignatius the communication activities of Flynn. Similar and even more extreme crimes were committed by what the Washington Post called “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls,” who told the paper for its February 9 article that “Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials.” The New York Times, also citing anonymous U.S. officials, provided even more details about the contents of Flynn’s telephone calls.

      That all of these officials committed major crimes can hardly be disputed. In January, CNN reported that Flynn’s calls with the Russians “were captured by routine U.S. eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats.” That means that the contents of those calls were “obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of [a] foreign government,” which in turn means that anyone who discloses them — or reports them to the public — is guilty of a felony under the statute.

      Yet very few people are calling for a criminal investigation or the prosecution of these leakers, nor demanding the leakers step forward and “face the music” — for very good reason: The officials leaking this information acted justifiably, despite the fact that they violated the law. That’s because the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about a material matter — his conversations with Russian diplomats — and the public has the absolute right to know this.

      https://theintercept.com/2017/02/14/the-leakers-who-exposed-gen-flynns-lie-committed-serious-and-wholly-justified-felonies/

      Reply
  4. High Flying Duck

     /  February 15, 2017

    It’s getting nigh on impossible to form an opinion on the Trump presidency as the editorialising is so extreme in all news reporting. Mole-hills are made mountains of, inferences not backed up by facts are breathlessly reported. The tabloid-ism of former so called papers of record has reached terminal velocity.
    Trump may be the master of “alternative facts”, but if anyone thinks the MSM are anything less than fast learning prodigal students of the same they are living in la-la-land (not the movie).
    For me the jury is still out until he gets some runs on the board – either good or bad.
    At the moment all we are getting is un-sourced anonymous leaks, hyperbole and chicken little reporting.
    Actual fact based news untainted by partisan leanings is almost impossible to find.

    Flynn had to go because he lied and lost the support of his boss. End of story.

    How that particular story arose in the first place however definitely leaves a stench.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 15, 2017

      Not even that is clear. We don’t know if Flynn discussed the sanctions or just made a reference to the effect that it would be a matter for the new administration. We don’t know if Flynn resigned because Trump didn’t trust him or just didn’t want the media flack continuing as a distraction.

      Reply
      • Joe Bloggs

         /  February 15, 2017

        one thing’s for sure – Flynn has become the first senior adviser to be fired by two presidents – a democrat and a republican. Great track record 2 for 2

        Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 15, 2017

        The line from the White House is that Flynn’s statements were under review for several weeks and over this time he lost the confidence of his President and had to step down:

        Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Trump’s trust in Gen Flynn had “eroded” over the weeks between the Justice Department’s warning and his decision to step down.
        “We’ve been reviewing and evaluating this issue with respect to Gen Flynn on a daily basis for a few weeks trying to ascertain the truth,” he said.

        Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  February 15, 2017

      I’m inclined to disagree with your comment that the MSM are becoming masters of alternative facts in the style of trumpy.

      Trump and Bannon have tactically made coverage all about the press – lying media, fake news, the opposition party – to try and soak up the media oxygen. Playing to a red-meat target audience, Bannon demands that “the media should keep its mouth shut”. What a dystopian farce

      Instead the MSM responds with reasoned and tough-minded indifference to reveal what is playing out before the world.

      Like it or not, the new administration is indelibly coloured with deceits and Barnum and Bailey style smoke and mirrors. The evidence on Flynn has been made quite clear and is obviously compelling enough for Trump to finally say enough is enough (even though he sat on the facts of the matter and lied for several weeks.

      That’s not fake news. It’s holding power to account, whether the alt-righties like it or not.

      Reply
      • Anonymous Coward

         /  February 15, 2017

        Who coined the term “main stream media”?

        Reply
        • Joe Bloggs

           /  February 15, 2017

          a certain Harry S Truman:

          President Truman used the term mainstream media in 1945 as the following story shows: After a little research at the Truman Library and Museum in Independence Missouri, copies of four telegrams between then-President Harry Truman, General Douglas MacArthur, and Admiral Chester H. Nimitz on the day before the actual signing of the WWII Surrender Agreement in September 1945 were found. The contents of those four telegrams below are exactly as they were received at the end of the war – not a word has been added or deleted!

          (1) Tokyo, Japan 0800-September 1, 1945 To: President Harry S Truman From: General D A MacArthur Tomorrow we meet with those yellow-bellied bastards and sign the Surrender Documents, any last minute instructions?

          (2) Washington, D C 1300-September 1, 1945 To: D A MacArthur From: H S Truman
          Congratulations, job well done, but you must tone down your obvious dislike of the Japanese when discussing the terms of the surrender with the press, because some of your remarks are fundamentally not politically correct!

          (3) Tokyo, Japan
          1630-September 1, 1945 To: H S Truman From: D A MacArthur and C H Nimitz Wilco Sir, but both Chester and I are somewhat confused, exactly what does the term politically correct mean?

          (4) Washington, D C 2120-September 1, 1945 To: D A MacArthur/C H Nimitz From: H S Truman
          Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end!

          http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/229365/on-the-origin-and-usage-of-mainstream

          Reply
          • Anonymous Coward

             /  February 15, 2017

            Nice story, but …Snopes.

            But seriously, in recent years the usage has escalated dramatically. This usage has been driven by the ‘alternative media’ who use it in a pejorative sense. Now it’s being used by El Presidente. To be honest the first time I noticed it was at WO a few years ago, so I would assume he got it from The Drudge Report / Brietbart/Alex Jones.
            It’s a conspiracy to undermine traditional journalism and re vest the power in the alt-right la la land. To see otherwise clever people falling for this and using the term is a bit frightening.
            The echo chamber you inherit won’t upset you, but it will keep you in the dark.

            Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 15, 2017

        I disagree. The MSM are shouting FIRE! every time a match is lit. It is noticeable across the board. Everything is a crisis, every utterance is a diplomatic minefield, or ethical breach, or signs of foreign influence. The so called “Muslim Ban” is a case in point – by any definition it is not. The order may or may not be enforceable, but the notion it is a ban on muslims is straight out wrong.
        And when the rhetoric is turned up to 11 all the time, all that happens is people switch off and stop listening.

        There have been a significant number of retractions required and many unattributed rumours posing as facts in normally restrained media.

        This may play well to the Democrat base, but it has repercussions.

        The worrying aspect of this is that if a genuine crisis occurs down the line no-one will listen because the hyperbole has been stretched to the limit over comparatively minor issues.

        I’m not a big fan of Piers Morgan, but his Maher interview with the repugnant Jim Jefferies screaming at him by way of making a point sums much of the current reporting up.

        Reply
        • Anonymous Coward

           /  February 15, 2017

          “I’m not a big fan of Piers Morgan, but his Maher interview with the repugnant Jim Jefferies screaming at him by way of making a point sums much of the current reporting up.”

          Are you serious? Reporting? Jim Jefferies is a comedian, Bill Maher is …
          Let’s see his list of awards: WGA Award for Best Comedy/Variety – (Including Talk) Series – Television, … it’s a comedy/variety show, so that would make Bill Maher a comedian too. Reporting. That made me laugh.

          Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 15, 2017

            I was meaning in a metaphorical sense – not that that was an actual example of media reportage. I thought that was self evident…
            Someone putting up a reasoned argument (whether you agreed with it or not) met with shrieking, Hitler talk and profanity.
            The media are, in the main, reporting in the manner of your aforementioned comedian rather than like reporters.

            Reply
            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 15, 2017

              That was news because of the irony of Piers Morgan being railroaded by the technique he falls back on so often.

  5. That the un-redacted information was made available to a Washington Post journalist tells me that there has been a breakdown in a very rigid NSA rule related to interception of a conversation between a Representative of a Foreign Power and a known US citizen. The very rigid rule is that the NSA must redact all information that could be used to identify the US citizen. It has to occur that way for real Constitutional law reasons relating to privacy. Whistle blowing in this situation is not a protection for an excuse for the officials concerned. They have committed a crime, and so has the Washington Post by repeating the un-redacted information used as the basis of the story. I believe there is prima face evidence of a coordinated attack against the Trump administration coordinated by the forces opposed to Trump being President. I would recommend to Trump that he uses the newly appointed Heads of CIA and the Justice Department together with the NSA to produce an in house investigation of NSA , CIA and FBI to identify who the officials involved were, and treat them like the US will treat Snowden if he is sent back to the US by Putin. I also consider that a judicia warrant can now be issued to monitor the journalists concerned as this is a clearly serious case of National Security concern.

    Reply
  6. Nelly Smickers

     /  February 15, 2017

    Let’s hear *from the man himself*……

    Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 15, 2017

    On this story Trump’s Director of National Intelligence is missing in action – because his confirmation hearings are still to be scheduled?

    So the CIA is still a loose cannon firing Obama admin guided missiles. I wonder if the Democrats are deliberately delaying Dan Coats’ appointment.

    Reply
  8. lurcher1948

     /  February 15, 2017

    We won i lost

    Reply
  9. Alan, of course they are. I am in possession of a copy of the Plan of action produced after a meeting of the main funders for the Democrats. I copied it into .pdf form and unfortunately I can only cut and paste some of the background information and not the source, but you may be able to get the sense of what it covers from the introduction:

    “An Oathkeeper smuggled this document from leftist PAC Media Matters, run by ultra-leftard David Brock.
    It was posted, page by page, in .gif format, by independent investigative reporter Jim Stone.
    http://www.jimstone.is/mediawar/1.html
    The last five pages are missing from this .pdf, but enough damage to the left is contained herein to carpet bomb them into oblivion.
    In the names of Jesus and Kek, we must make this go as viral as a blister on Rosie O’Donnell’s nether lip. Shadilay!!!”

    That is the introduction, and you may be able to find it on Google from the detail given above.
    It is very frustrating aving it and not being able to show you all!

    Reply
  10. It is interesting that STONE’s site is subject to a DNS lockout! I wonder why.? But he’s a big boy and he can sort it out. I have found another route to the plan “https://www.scribd.com/document/337535680/Full-David-Brock-Confidential-Memo-On-Fighting-Trump”
    There also seems to be a developing case against Clintons and others in a Pediophile case involving Soros and others in a Haiti based crime ring, that has resulted in the murder of a female investigator. Sounds like some one has found the script of another movie plot!

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  February 15, 2017

      truth is stranger than fiction ..Col…and with Trump as POTUS,reality ‘,’fake news’ and the thin veneer of integrity and civic virtue of politicians has been consigned to the swamp…where it …belongs.

      Reply
  11. Pete Kane

     /  February 15, 2017

    Flynn ousted as national security advisor; who will Trump trust now?

    Reply
  12. Here is the real background for Flynn’s dismissal: (alternative truth):

    “The resignation of General Flynn is part of an ongoing effort by the military-industrial complex to sabotage President Trump and re-assert control over foreign policy.
    Flynn was backed into a corner after it was revealed that he had a conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak back in December. This was seized upon because it could be spun to validate the otherwise completely baseless conspiracy theory that Russia “hacked the election” to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton and that Flynn’s talk with Kislyak was a promise of payback.
    In reality, Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak was merely the excuse that establishment neo-cons and neo-libs from both parties were desperately searching for. They wanted him gone from the very beginning. This was a deep state coup.

    In essence, Flynn was merely exercising due diligence as incoming National Security Adviser by communicating with a prominent foreign official. However, the politicised intelligence community and the breathless, hysterical anti-Trump press demanded Flynn’s head on the basis that he had violated the Logan Act, even though that contention is shaky at best.”
    Gossip also has it that the White House Chief of Staff was the source of the leaks to the Washington Post and CNN. So if he walks as well, it will be an indicator that te above assessment is probably true.

    The source is “http://www.infowars.com/the-real-reason-general-flynn-was-forced-to-resign/”

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 16, 2017

      Gossip also has it that the White House Chief of Staff was the source of the leaks

      Highly unlikely if only since multiple sources have been claimed.

      Reply
    • Anonymous Coward

       /  February 16, 2017

      Here’s Breitbarts timeline (I’ve started my 3 months reading Alt-right).

      This bit is perhaps pertinent:
      “The Washington Post article also said that Obama’s deputies were surprised by Russia’s mild response on Dec. 30 to his post-election sanctions, and speculated that Flynn promised to roll back the sanctions after the inauguration.

      Putin’s muted response — which took White House officials by surprise — raised some officials’ suspicions that Moscow may have been promised a reprieve, and triggered a search by U.S. spy agencies for clues.

      Something happened in those 24 hours” between Obama’s announcement and Putin’s response, a former senior U.S. official said. Officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and diplomatic cables, and saw evidence that Flynn and Kislyak had communicated by text and telephone around the time of the announcement.”

      Much is also made of the point that the conversation of Americans shouldn’t be recorded, but what about the calls of Russian Ambassadors? Those calls are allowed to be intercepted, and that’s what the call was, wasn’t it?

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/02/15/timeline-mike-flynn-controversy/

      Reply

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