National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has officially resigned.
Flynn has been the subject of a so-called “mainstream” media and intelligence community pile-on – and the real story behind his resignation indicates frightening consequences for the Trump Presidency.
Reports on his resignation made it obvious this hit job on Flynn was coordinated by former Obama officials and hawkish members within the intelligence community who disagree with Trump and Flynn’s policy towards Russia.
The stated reason for his resignation was because he had discussed Russia’s sanctions – which had been imposed by the Obama administration in the wake of unproven allegations that Russia was behind the hacking of Democrats’ email accounts – with Russia’s ambassador in a late-December phone call.
While Flynn at first denied discussing the sanctions, reports indicated he did discuss them – but had done so in only the most general of terms and made no promises about having the sanctions lifted once Trump took office.
The media then clamored for Flynn’s head and advanced the flimsy claim that he may have violated the 1799 Logan Act, which has never been used to prosecute anyone in American history.
Reporters also presented another completely unsubstantiated claim, which was sourced from the disgraced former Obama deputy, Attorney General Sally Yates.
Yates – whom Trump fired after she refused to do her job and defend his travel immigration executive order – claimed without evidence that Flynn had been “subject to blackmail” by Russia.
The Washington Post reports:
“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.
The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the information.”
But since Flynn’s resignation, reports show he did nothing illegal.
Transcripts of the phone call exist – because all communications with foreign officials are monitored by intelligence services – and they give no indication of wrong doing by Flynn, nor him making any promises.
NBC News reports:
“Flynn’s discussions had raised a possible breach of the Logan Act, a 1799 law that bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. However, a senior intelligence official last week told NBC News there had been no finding that Flynn did anything illegal.”
And earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that the transcript of the conversation did not reveal any attempt by Flynn to undermine the Obama administration:
“U.S. intelligence services routinely intercept and monitor conversations with Russian diplomats, officials have said. The transcripts of the conversations don’t show Mr. Flynn made any sort of promise to lift the sanctions once Mr. Trump took office, the officials said. Rather, they show Mr. Flynn making more general comments about relations between the two countries improving under Mr. Trump, people familiar with them said.”
Flynn’s only crime was for holding a different position on Russia than the hawkish members in the intelligence community and the Obama administration.
For that, he was subject to a series of damaging leaks which eventually drove him out of the government.
And there are serious implications to this.
The leakers are entrenched opponents of Donald Trump, and the intelligence community is now emboldened to engage in more leaks and smear campaigns against any Trump official they don’t like.