Last night National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned, but he may be just the tip of the iceberg. (More)
“In such a distinguished way”
In his resignation letter, after claiming he “inadvertently” misled the Vice-God-King with “incomplete information,” Flynn praised himself:
Throughout my over thirty years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost integrity and honesty to those I served, including the President of the United States.
I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way.
Three points. First, a resignation letter is not usually the place to boast about how wonderful one is. Second, “our nation and the American people” is redundant, since “our nation” is “the American people.” And third, yeah he was “distinguished” … just not in the way he thinks.
He then praised the God-King:
I know with the strong leadership of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S. history.
I suppose if “greatest” can mean “most destructive” – “Katrina was one of the greatest hurricanes in U.S. history” – then that might turn out to be true.
“The American Putin
Then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates reportedly informed the White House last month that the Russians might have blackmail material related to Flynn’s phone calls. Perhaps that was another reason the God-King fired her. Regardless, the God-King’s disturbing Kremlin ties don’t stop with Flynn:
First, there surely is more to come on the extent of Russian involvement in last year’s election, with law enforcement agencies in the United States increasingly certain that Moscow actively worked to help Trump win. The Russian establishment, including close Putin allies, publicly basked in Trump’s victory. Now, some Pentagon officials say they have “assumed that the Kremlin has ears” inside the White House ever since Trump’s inauguration, according to controversial former counterintelligence official John Schindler.
Long gone are the days when Communist Moscow backed leftist movements around the world. Instead, Putin’s post-Soviet ideologues see Russia at the vanguard of global Christian nationalist conservatism. In this struggle, they’ve found common cause with Europe’s far-right parties as well as key figures within the Trump administration.
In 2014, current White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon told a gathering of European conservatives that “we, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what [Putin]’s talking about as far as traditionalism goes – particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism.” That same year, a group of fringe American white nationalists joined a conference in Hungary that featured Russian nationalist Alexander Dugin, a philosopher sometimes dubbed “Putin’s Rasputin.” Dugin hailed Trump as “the American Putin” last year.
Bannon, lest you’ve forgotten, now sits on the National Security Council.
Leading Russian lawmakers rushed to defend President Trump’s former national security adviser on Tuesday after he resigned for misleading senior White House officials, including Vice President Pence, about his contacts with Russia.
The heads of the foreign affairs committees in both Russia’s upper and lower houses of parliament chalked up Michael Flynn’s resignation to a dark campaign of Russophobia in Washington, and said it would undermine relations between the White House and the Kremlin.
Konstantin Kosachev of the upper house wrote in a post on Facebook that readiness for dialogue with Moscow was now seen in Washington as a “thoughtcrime,” a reference to the George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.
Let’s be clear. This wasn’t about “readiness for dialogue with Moscow.” It was about illegal foreign policy negotiations made before the God-King and Flynn were in office, and lying about those discussions to the media and (perhaps) the Vice-God-King. Oh, and “blackmail material.” As Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall summarized:
This is not some ill-considered discussion by Michael Flynn. The role of Russia in the 2016 election and the President’s relationship to Russia has been the un-ignorable question hanging over President Trump for months. Flynn’s resignation does not come close to resolving it. It is highly likely that the Flynn/Russia channel was authorized by the President himself. There’s much more to come.
I’m sure there will be, if the media keep digging.
“None of this is normal”
And the digging shouldn’t be too difficult, because the God-King’s administration is a cauldron of incompetence and infighting:
With President Trump in his fourth full week in office, the upheaval inside the administration that West Wing officials had optimistically dismissed as growing pains is now embedding itself as standard operating procedure.
Upset about damaging leaks of his calls with world leaders and other national security information, Trump has ordered an internal investigation to find the leakers. Staffers, meanwhile, are so fearful of being accused of talking to the media that some have resorted to a secret chat app – Confide – that erases messages as soon as they’re read.
The chaos and competing factions that were a Trump trademark in business and campaigning now are starting to define his presidency, according to interviews with a dozen White House officials as well as other Republicans. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss internal White House dynamics and deliberations.
Staffers buzz privately about who is up and who is down, with many eagerly gossiping about which poor colleague gets an unflattering portrayal on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. For the past two weeks, it has been White House press secretary Sean Spicer. But aides said Trump was especially upset by a sketch that cast White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon as the Grim Reaper manipulating the president – who was ultimately relegated to a miniature desk, playing dolefully with an expandable toy.
“None of this is normal,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and top official in President George W. Bush’s White House, who has been highly critical of Trump and ticked through controversies that included false White House statements and the administration’s halted travel ban targeting seven majority-Muslim countries. “The incompetence, the sloppiness and the leaking is unprecedented.”
So yes, Flynn is just the tip of the iceberg … and the God-King is still steaming full speed ahead.
Photo Credit: Evan Vucci (AP)
Good day and good nuts