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Friday, February 10, 2017

Flynn in trouble

by digby

It looks like the White House is circling the wagons to protect Pence for going out and defending Michael Flynn on those Russian phone calls. It turns out Flynn did tell the Russians not to worry about the sanctions over their interference in the election. That strikes me as kind of a quid pro quo but what do I know?

"Hey, thanks for helping us get elected! Don't worry we'll make sure you don't pay any price for doing what you did! Nostrovia!"

I don't think Pence should be let off the hook.There has been a ton of evidence of strange shennanigans between Flynn and Russia (not to mention Trump) and he chose to ignore them. Either that or he knew and lied. Considering the habits of this administration, assuming dishonesty should be the default assumption.

Nonetheless, it does look like the knives are out for Flynn. But that's been evident for a while. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago:

This raises the question of what happened to Michael Flynn, the crazed alt-right general who was supposed to be Trump’s versions of Patton, MacArthur and “Black Jack” Pershing all rolled into one. Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times have the scoop on that: It looks as though he has seriously lost favor.

Flynn was a favorite of Trump’s when the retired general was heaping contempt upon Hillary Clinton, but Flynn evidently hasn’t worn well with the boss since he vanquished her. Sources tell the Times that Flynn is seen as talking too much and his Pizzagate-enabling son has been a thorn in the administration’s side. There are also whispers about Flynn’s being too close to certain fringe characters, which is true but also profoundly self-serving since Bannon and Trump himself are closely tied to the same elements. According to the Times’ juicy dish, Rex Tillerson, Jim Mattis and Mike Pompeo convened a meeting this week and didn’t invite Flynn — because he was the subject of discussion. The claws are definitely out.

This may be the most encouraging bit of news we’ve had since Trump was inaugurated. Sessions and his crew are scary ideologues. Bannon is a frighteningly adept propagandist with a dangerous worldview. Mike Pence and Paul Ryan are far-right conservative movement zealots with a blank check. Trump himself is unfit and way over his head, and the whole administration is incompetent on every level. But Flynn seems to be certifiably unhinged, even by the standards of this unbalanced crew. If the Trump administration is looking for ways to ease him out, thank goodness for small favors. One less kook in a White House full of them is a baby step in the right direction.

Trump really likes him and that's the problem. And they both share an inexplicable special affinity for Russia, which may or may not have anything to do with policy. So, who knows? But the fact is that Flynn is a true Strangelovian freak and since the president is one as well, it would be helpful to get rid of him even if it doesn't solve the larger problem. One less madman in the White House would be welcome.