The bombshell news from last night, which marked President Trump’s 25th day in office: “Michael Flynn abruptly quit as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Monday night, hours after it emerged that the Justice Department informed the White House that it believed he could be subject to blackmail,” per NBC News.
“The resignation also came after previous disclosures that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior officials about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Pence repeated the misinformation in television appearances.”
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell has more: “A senior official tells NBC News the president and top advisers have been “agonizing” over what to do about Flynn for days. The official, who was involved in the discussions, says the situation became unsustainable — not because of any issue of being compromised by Russia — but because he had lied to the president and the vice president.” All of this news raises more questions than answers.
When exactly did Team Trump first learn that Flynn misled them about the nature of his conversations with Russia’s government?
The Washington Post says it was last month. “The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said.”
Did anyone else on Trump’s team discuss sanctions on Russia? And did Trump authorize Flynn’s discussions with Russia’s ambassador?
Remember, the day after the Obama administration slapped extra sanctions on Russia’s government for interfering in the 2016 election, Trump praised Russia’s delay in responding to them. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” he tweeted.
What does this say about the president’s judgment?
Flynn — who we now have learned was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail — was Trump’s pick to be this country’s national security adviser. And this story wasn’t the first strike against him and his management of the National Security Council. “Three weeks into the Trump administration, council staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls,” the New York Times wrote over the weekend.
How much credibility does this administration have left?
At 4:00 pm ET yesterday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki that the president had full confidence in Flynn, yet he resigned just hours later. (When NBC’s Matt Lauer asked Conway on “Today” this morning if she was out of the loop, she replied that Trump “is a very loyal person,” and that Flynn himself made the decision to resign.) On Friday, Trump denied that he had read the Washington Post’s scoop that Flynn had indeed discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador. “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Does anyone believe that now?) And despite the administration’s previous denials that Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russians, we now know Team Trump was notified A MONTH AGO that Flynn was possibly misleading them.
A question for every member of Congress: Are you going to support a full investigation into arguably the biggest scandal involving a foreign government since Iran-Contra?
Considering everything we now know about this story — an incoming administration was having conversations with a foreign adversary, and not telling the truth about them — you have to go back 30 years to Iran-Contra to think of a comparable scandal. And folks, we’re today on Day 26 of the Trump administration. Here’s the question that should be posed to every lawmaker, Republican or Democrat: Are you going to support a full investigation into arguably the biggest political scandal involving a foreign government since Iran-Contra?