Sunday, June 25, 2017

Careful Not To Offend Flynn

He may be crazy. He's certainly ignorant. But Donald Trump is not dumb. We have learned from The Hill

President Trump considered restoring former national security adviser Michael Flynn to his White House role after his resignation in February and still praises the former aide, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Flynn was forced to resign less than a month after stepping into the senior White House role amid revelations that he misled Vice President Pence and other administration officials about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Trump, according to the Post, has seemed to regret the decision to oust Flynn, in spite of mounting controversies surrounding the former adviser.

Trump has spoken fondly of Flynn, even after his ouster, saying in private that the retired lieutenant general "served the country well" and complaining that he has been treated unfairly by the news media, according to the Post.

Those comments echo Trump's comments shortly after Flynn left the White House, when he told reporters that Flynn was a "wonderful man" and that "it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly" by the media.

Very little said in private in Washington but made public was intended to remain private.  President Trump is sending a message through the media to General Flynn.  Realclearpolitics several days ago several days ago reported of the junior senator from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse:

"All the signals are suggesting [Flynn] is already cooperating with the FBI, and may have been for some time. First of all, they had him dead to rights on a felony false statement, on the statement they took from him at the White House on the Kislyak conversations. Second, Comey reported that one of the things the FBI does with cooperators is get them to go back and clean up areas of non-compliance. Flynn, who will never be hired by a foreign government again, went back and cleaned up his foreign agent filings. Third, all of the reporting of the Eastern District of VA on subpoenas is one hop away from Flynn. He is the hole in a donut of subpoenas," he sad. 

He continued: "One of the most talkative people in Trumpland [Flynn] has gone absolutely silent. That is exactly what a prosecutor would strongly encourage a cooperating witness to do... in order to avoid lengthy imprisonment."

"It could be a huge deal. Who knows what Trump has said to him?" Whitehouse speculated. "Both during the campaign and the early days of the presidency."

Trump is telling the former national security adviser to hang tough, that he supports him and still believes in him.... which is precisely what he should do. While it puts Trump legally into greater peril because we already know he asked FBI director Comey to back off investigating the lieutenant general, keeping Flynn from talking must be Trump's greatest priority.

The President waited 18 days to discharge Flynn after the White House counsel was informed that the President's appointee had lied to Vice-President Mike Pence and opened himself to blackmail,  Firing him at all, the President now appears to have concluded, was a mistake. He disregarded the adage (here modified): keep your friends close; and your friends who know where the bodies are buried, closer.

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