Sure, that’s a terrible title. But I wasn’t going to be the millionth “Flynn-ished” or the billionth “Out Like Flynn.”
So Pres. Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night, following reports that he had misled VPOTUS Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia, specifically whether he had discussed the issue of newly-imposed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
I won’t pretend to know all of the ins and outs of this story. The one thing that is clear is that Flynn told Pence something that was not true bout a fairly significant topic. Some may want to argue whether the phone calls, as reported, were really a big deal. But Flynn’s resignation suggests that top White House officials were not buying that Flynn could not recall whether sanctions were discussed, and the possible explanations for that apparent disbelief are not good.
Aside from that, there are many “maybes” on the table.
Maybe not all of the reporting on Flynn should have been dismissed by some as “fake news,” even if some of it was.
Maybe the leaks were not entirely a vendetta pursued by former Obama officials and people in the intelligence community, even if some of them were. Maybe there were reasons Flynn ended up with a bad reputation in the intelligence community, even if some of it was politics.
Maybe I should be more concerned about the number of officials apparently illegally leaking dirt on Flynn, even if I’m already pretty concerned about the politicization of the intelligence community. Maybe I should be more concerned that there was something about Flynn that caused him to receive this rather unusual treatment.
Maybe not all of the leaks from administration officials and staffers were motivated by palace intrigue and internecine turf battles, even if some of them were. Maybe the stories about his administrative style in the Trump White House were similar to those that resulted in his firing from the Obama administration for reasons other than a frame job.
Maybe there was a reason why Flynn ended up with enemies inside the White House as well as outside it that wasn’t all about bad motives.
Maybe some people should have watched Flynn’s performance at the GOP convention and wondered whether he was a good choice for national security adviser. Maybe being a paid analyst for RT shouldn’t be considered a resume-sweetener for the job.
Maybe a man who seemed soft on Russia and tough on Iran would only have been destined to be a bigger headache for the administration later.
Maybe there was a reason Flynn’s son — who was in business with Flynn — got booted from the transition. Maybe there was a reason one of Flynn’s top aides was denied a security clearance.
Maybe Trump, who values loyalty, thought he owed Flynn a job based on his early support of Trump’s campaign. Maybe there were reasons why other candidates didn’t seem to pursue Flynn’s endorsement.
Maybe there were reasons Flynn was named to a position that did not require Senate confirmation. Maybe he’s not the only member of the administration like that. Maybe that will end up being more important than the side issues regarding the administration’s antagonists, even if those side issues are valid.
Maybe the best part of this little side blog is that I don’t have to have a fierce, concrete opinion this very minute on most of these “maybes.” I’m inclined to score Flynn’s crossing Pence — and Trump’s hiring of Flynn — as unforced errors, because the public record suggested Flynn would be a problem and a target well before he phoned the Russian ambassador. But maybe I’m wrong. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
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