The fluctuating story this week raise several questions. Was Trump content hiring as his top national-security aide a man who had up until that moment been under contract to lobby for a foreign government—especially one so intermeshed with U.S. decision-making in the Middle East? Was the president personally aware of the lobbying, and if not, why did no one tell him? And why did Spicer say on Thursday that the administration had not known? Was he lying, or was he left twisting in the wind by White House officials who didn’t keep him informed? (Given the factional infighting in the White House and the administration’s penchant for needless lies, both are distinct possibilities.)
The broader question, and one that Spicer repeatedly tried to dismiss on Friday is about the president’s judgment: How on earth was Flynn ever appointed national security adviser?
Flynn’s lobbying on behalf of Turkey was not the only potentially disqualifying problem. For example, the retired general had shared bogus news items on several occasions, and his son was fired from the Trump transition effort for pumping a preposterous conspiracy theory about Clinton aides running a child-prostitution ring out of a D.C. pizzeria.
Flynn’s tenure at the Defense Intelligence Agency should probably have given Trump some pause about appointing him.