President Donald Trump's embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night, following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. His departure upends Trump's senior team after less than one month in office.Sounds like he screwed up. Sounds like he needed to go. It also sounds like the Deep State was involved. You might recognize one name here:
In a resignation letter, Flynn said he gave Vice President Mike Pence and others "incomplete information" about his calls with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. The vice president, apparently relying on information from Flynn, initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy, though Flynn later conceded the issue may have come up.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that Flynn was in frequent contact with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the day the Obama administration slapped sanctions on Russia for election-related hacking, as well as at other times during the transition.Let's tally it up:
An administration official and two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed the Justice Department warnings on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It was unclear when Trump and Pence learned about the Justice Department outreach.
The Washington Post was the first to report the communication between former acting attorney general Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, and the Trump White House. The Post also first reported last week that Flynn had indeed spoken about sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
- An anonymous "U.S. official" leaked to the Associated Press
- An "administration official and two people with knowledge of the situation" confirmed the story, even though "they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly"
- Sally Yates, who Trump ashcanned two weeks ago was involved in the whole mess
- Apparently it's okay to let reporters know when we are bugging phone conversations
None of this should be particularly surprising. Part of the game has been slow-walking Trump's team through the confirmation process, which allows Obama-era holdovers like Sally Yates to throw sand in the gears. They are doing what they do.
I hold no brief for Flynn. If what has been reported is true, he was reckless at best. As long as Barack Obama was president, Flynn had no business conducting any diplomacy. And if he lied to Mike Pence, he had to go.
The lesson should be clear to Trump -- he can't trust anyone in Washington that he didn't bring in personally. We'll see if he's capable of learning.