Michael Flynn’s sudden exit as NSA puts The Donald in troubled waters
By Sujit Bhar
The brouhaha over US President Donald Trump’s whimsical national policy decisions is facing what those policies were destined for—early death. His executive order on a travel ban from seven Muslim nations was virtually stubbed out by federal courts and even by a three-judge bench of the appellate court. And now his random senior appointments in key positions are coming in the line of fire.
The second part was apparent in the resignation of Trump’s National Security Adviser in the White House, Michael Flynn. He had no option when it was apparent from published reports that he had misled Trump’s team about his contacts with the Russian ambassador in the US and on his talks with him about the US sanctions on Russia.
Reports have maintained that Flynn’s loyalty to Trump was in no way a saviour for his links with Russia, causing the very Trump administration he was part of to be concerned. Russia, despite Trump’s pre-election exhortations, still remains pretty much the bogeyman in the White House and in the US in general.
Trump was certainly pitching in the dark about great relations with Vladimir Putin, disregarding complaints and allegations that Russia had a hacker’s hand in the US election process, making Trump king.
But when it came to an insider-job on information being passed, it was too much. It has now been revealed by a spokesman that Trump knew for weeks that Flynn wasn’t truthful about his Russian calls, leading to the conclusion that he couldn’t be trusted. That led to his firing.
This has left Trump in the unenviable position of having defended Putin, while failing to defend his own aide. The only way to get out this dilemma before this too assumed the huge proportion that his travel ban did, was to fire the man, he did just that.
What did Flynn do to earn his sacking? Flynn, an army general, had several telephonic discussions with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the administration of Barack Obama. That he had telephonic conversations wasn’t a secret, its contents were.
Before his appointment, Vice-President Mike Pence had asked him if he had discussed any special issues with Kislyak, specifically on the sanctions. Pence is a seasoned hand in the world of politics and his questioning was in order. It was only after Flynn had categorically said that none of the discussions had been on sensitive issues that Pence had recommended his name to Trump.
Later Flynn went back on his words and admitted to having had conversations on the sanctions. That made his position untenable.
Technically, this is none of Trump’s fault. Neither is it Pence’s. However, the aura of disquiet that Trump has already created has magnified this into a mega issue, with experts branding this as a potential security issue.
What Trump is facing today has little to do with the intransigence of Flynn. It has everything to do with the reckless and thoughtless posturing by Trump. Hence it will be Trump who will be left to pick up the pieces if the system collapses on itself.