Column: Michael Flynn resigns as National Security Adviser
The ongoing saga of retired General Michael Flynn, which culminated on Monday with his resignation from his post as National Security Advisor, stands out as the grossest example of the Trump administration’s unique blend of moral dereliction and systematic incompetence. For those of you counting at home, we are less than 2 percent of the way through President Trump’s first term and we are already witnessing a disregard of law not seen since the twilight days of the Nixon administration.
In 1974, when it was obvious just how involved then-President Nixon was in the Watergate scandal, a Republican representative from Indiana named Earl Landgrebe went on the Today show. Asked to comment on the president’s malfeasance, he said that he remained loyal to Nixon. Confronted with all the evidence, he replied simply, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
Apparently, the entire Trump administration has become Earl Landgrebe.
Despite the fact that Ret. Gen. Flynn was in contact with Russian officials in the time immediately before Russia declined to impose retaliatory sanctions on the U.S., despite the fact that he lied about this to the press, to his president and to the people and despite the fact that he likely committed treason, the former National Security Advisor was called a “wonderful man” by President Trump.
Although at this point it is almost not worth repeating the semicoherent word diarrhea from one of Sean Spicer’s daily regurgitations, the eminently mockable press secretary insisted that Flynn “did nothing wrong.”
This is weeks after the Justice Department advised the White House about Flynn’s potentially illegal ties to Russia. When Vice President Mike Pence went on national television Jan. 15 and said that no part of the White House was in contact with Russia, was he lying or kept out of the loop? When the Russian deputy foreign minister said there was communication between Russia and the Trump campaign, was he lying?
There seems to be evidence that there’s been significant contact between Putin’s Russia and the Trump campaign and White House. Now the questions that face the president will resemble the ones that plagued Nixon for two years:
What did you know?
When did you know it?
What happens after that is pure speculation, speculation rendered even more useless by an erratic and logic-immune commander-in-chief. However, the current administration’s total unwillingness to face reality or accept responsibility resembles that of a crumbling monarchy, not that of a new presidential administration.
It’s fun to watch god-tier bullshit peddler Kellyanne Conway do her thing. It is even more fun to watch Spicer try to contain his disdain for anyone holding a microphone. But both of these SNL-ready characters reveal an administration that’s actively disdainful of reality.
It’s difficult to express how dangerous this is without resorting to hysteria. But, remember this: The best-case scenario moving forward is that Flynn acted on his own sleazy volition. That would mean that the Trump team is so incompetent that it was unaware that the National Security Adviser was able to regularly communicate with a country currently under U.S. sanctions without anybody thinking to raise the alarm.
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That is the best-case scenario. The bottom line is that there needs to be some kind of bipartisan investigation of this, at the very least. The Republican inclination to use Trump to get conservative legislation passed is understandable, but issues of basic morality and national security should take precedent.
Of course, that may not happen. Witness Kentucky’s second-worst son, Sen. Rand Paul, moral paragon extraordinaire: “I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do.”
If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of Hillary Clinton hitting her head against the wall.
Follow Raad Zaghloul on Twitter.