And one of that scandal’s proximate causes, as my friend observed, is a national security adviser who sees his role as that of foreign policy operative. This vision of the role sort of worked when the deft and cunning Henry Kissinger headed an NSC staff of 40. Since then the NSC has grown into a quasi-agency in its own right, some 400 people in the White House or seconded from other departments. And Michael Flynn is no Henry Kissinger.
Flynn’s maladroitness in fact is the one thing that may have saved the administration from an even worse scandal: His reported lie was exposed so quickly that the uproar will thwart any project to lift early the sanctions on Russia for its role in the 2016 election. He has given the Trump administration an opportunity to localize what is really a much larger scandal.
They can now try to load all the blame for all the various sinister connections between the Trump campaign and Russian spy agencies onto one man, in an effort to protect everybody else implicated in the scandal, including the president himself.