By Charlie Escalona
Special to the Chronicle
In the most recent developments out of the gripping TV drama that is President Donald Trump’s administration, we may finally have the sword to fell the giant. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about his dealings with Russian officials and will cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation. Not only that, but he is entered into a plea deal probably after giving officials information about someone even closer to the president.
With so many of Trump’s controversies blowing up and sizzling out in a matter of a few days, it seems like every new allegation of his unconstitutional misconduct is truly the “nothing burgers” the right claims they are. However, Flynn’s betrayal is a different beast all together and probably poses a real threat to Trump’s presidency – but will it be enough to impeach him?
Let’s take a step back and survey the rise and fall of Flynn. Flynn came up as an intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, later was promoted to three-star general and then appointed to head the Defense Intelligence Agency. However, he was fired in 2014 by the White House for what he said was “telling a congressional committee that we were not as safe as we had been a few years back.” Yet this turn of fortune was not the end for Flynn as he found a kindred spirit in his disdainful discontent of the Obama administration, especially Hillary Clinton. When Flynn joined Trump’s campaign team, his status mitigated critiques of Trump’s lack of military or government experience, as he slowly dealt behind the scenes with foreign officials and on the advancement of his own company, the Flynn Intel Group. This is where business gets a bit sticky.
Although what Flynn didn’t disclose, such as his secret meetings with the Russian ambassador, led to his eventual ousting from his adviser seat and his eventual indictment by Special Counsel Mueller, what he did disclose was just as troubling – including taking money from various Russian and other foreign companies and militaries according to disclosure reports. But as ABC News reports, rather than Flynn betraying Trump, it was actually Trump who betrayed Flynn, or so the old general thought as he told friends that he felt the president had recently abandoned him. This is not hard to believe, especially with Trump’s recent tweet storm: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has plead guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
Although Trump’s attempt at a cover-up here is admirable, it falls short of the mark when it has been extensively reported that in May, former Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the administration about Flynn’s lying about his dealings with Russia. He also admits in his tweet that he knew Flynn lied, however according to former Director of the FBI James Comey in his Senate testimony, Trump also asked him to back off going after Flynn. Somehow it seems increasingly more likely that Trump had been personally responsible for his campaign’s dealings with Russia to help win the presidential election, which is grounds for treason.
But will this be enough to finally impeach our thoroughly incompetent president? There will probably be more indictments and more giants in the administration to fall, as Flynn did, but whether it will reach all the way to the top – it’s still too early to say. I think it is just the beginning of the uncovering of the current administration’s lies as we see how deep the rabbit hole goes, and who we will find in it.
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