Exit Mike Flynn – Trump’s first casualty
His offence was more than a political blunder, quite possibly a criminal offence
‘Unfortunately,” US national security adviser , Gen Mike Flynn said in his letter of resignation, “because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.” In other words, he lied to them. But it was only appropriate that his resignation – albeit, hardly voluntary – would be couched in the Trumpian language of “alternative facts”. Or what his ex-colleagues in the Defence Intelligence Agency, before he was fired, used to refer to as “Flynn facts”.
Only Day 24 of Donald Trump’s reign and a first aide, the ultimate military loose cannon and virulent Islamophobe, bites the dust. Spectacularly. “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” he tweeted last February, linking to a claim that Islam wants 80 per cent of humanity enslaved or exterminated. And though there was plenty more in a similar vein, to the shock even of conservatives, Trump elevated him to head the National Security Council, a position that fortunately for him did not require Senate approval.
Flynn’s offence was more than a political blunder, quite possibly a criminal offence. He engaged in diplomatic discussions with ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took power, apparently promising him the new president would end sanctions. The Justice Department which had taped the conversation became nervous that he could become a target for Russian blackmail.
And then Flynn, who had also taken secret payments when he travelled to Moscow in 2015, lied about his contacts to vice-president Mike Pence who then went out and publicly backed him. Flynn was riding for a fall.
The same Flynn who led the crowd in chants at the Republican convention of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” over Hillary Clinton’s email indiscretions, had once boasted to a journalist that he had been no respecter of army rules and had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though forbidden. It’s amazing he lasted 24 days.