Everywhere you turn in the media these days you’ll find stories about how national security adviser Michael Flynn is on the ropes. The genesis of the story comes back to the question of whether or not Flynn improperly discussed Russian sanctions with officials from that nation and then lied about it after the fact. But whatever sins Flynn may or may not have committed seem to have become of less interest to the media than the ongoing parlor game of deciding his fate in the court of public opinion. In this piece from the Washington Post over the weekend, you can almost read the glee with which reporters are slavering over the possibility that Trump might be forced to cut his trusted advisor loose.
White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office.
As White House aides scramble to get their stories straight about the exact nature of those communications and as Democrats call for Flynn’s security clearance to be suspended or revoked, neither Trump nor his advisers have publicly defended Flynn or stated unequivocally that he has the president’s confidence.
For his part, Flynn is insisting that he’s not going anywhere. (CNN)
Michael Flynn has no plans to resign and no expectations that he will be fired, a senior administration official told CNN Sunday.
That’s despite a turbulent 72 hours caused by the national security adviser’s inability to deny that he spoke about sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump took office.
The dynamic were seeing play out at the moment can and should be examined on two different levels, one procedural and one purely political. There is clearly a question as to whether or not Flynn either broke the law or, at a minimum, stepped far enough outside the boundaries of normal procedures that President Trump might be forced to consider making a change in staffing. Underlying all that is yet another example of Trump’s opponents in progressive circles seeking to split off members of his team from the herd and damage the nascent presidency.
To be sure, not all of the pressure is coming from the left. As Allahpundit pointed out previously, there is plausible reason to believe that the intelligence community has it out for Flynn and would not mind seeing him gone. But there’s also no denying that liberals and the media stars who love them have definitely broken out the popcorn and are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to announce that one of Donald Trump’s most trusted advisors has been run out of town on a rail.
This is all of a piece with the phenomena I previously described regarding the security of Steve Bannon’s position. Unable to accept their loss in the presidential election (and for the moment unable to mount an impeachment offensive) Trump’s opponents would like nothing better than to pull off some career executions of integral members of the White House staff. It’s in the finest tradition of taking scalps in battle: it may not win the war but it sends one heck of a message. This allows them to continue painting a media mural of what they would like the public to view as a failed presidency. The beauty of the current situation for progressives is that they really have nothing on their to-do list when it comes to Michael Flynn. The president’s security advisor and the rest of his own staff are doing the lion’s share of the work for them.
Assuming Flynn was coloring outside the lines in terms of handling the Russian sanctions situation, then he brought at least some of this trouble upon himself. But in the end it’s not Michael Flynn who will suffer the majority of the damage. He’s already retired and nearing the end of what any reasonable person would consider a spectacularly successful career. But the vacuum he would leave if he exits the White House would create one more scar on Trump’s team which is precisely what the Left is hoping for.