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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

 

The General is: OUT

by Tom Sullivan


Image via C-Span.

Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night:

Washington (CNN) — Embattled White House national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday night, an abrupt end to a brief tenure.

His departure came just after reports surfaced that the Justice Department warned the Trump administration last month that Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.
The DOJ official who warned Trump of this was, of course, Sally Yates, the acting attorney general he fired, as the Washington Post did not report last night:
For Yates and other officials, concerns about the communications peaked in the days after the Obama administration on Dec. 29 announced measures to punish Russia for what it said was the Kremlin’s interference in the election in an attempt to help Trump.

After the sanctions were rolled out, the Obama administration braced itself for the Russian retaliation. To the surprise of many U.S. officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Dec. 30 that there would be no response. Trump praised the decision on Twitter.
In trying to suss out why the Russians did not respond, U.S. intelligence analysts turned up Flynn's calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump's inauguration. Transcripts of the intercepted calls described by U.S. officials, Reuters reports, "showed that the subject had come up in conversations between him and the Russian ambassador." The implication being that Flynn told the Russians they would not have to worry about sanctions once Trump took office.

The Post account continues:
Yates, then the deputy attorney general, considered Flynn’s comments in the intercepted call to be “highly significant” and “potentially illegal,” according to an official familiar with her thinking.

Yates and other intelligence officials suspected that Flynn could be in violation of an obscure U.S. statute known as the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country.
Curiouser and curiouser:

The New York Times elaborates on Flynn's troubles. They may be just beginning:

In addition, the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015, according to two defense officials. Such a payment might violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits former military officers from receiving money from a foreign government without consent from Congress. The defense officials said there was no record that Mr. Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, filed the required paperwork for the trip.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement late Monday that Mr. Flynn’s resignation would not close the question of his contact with Russian officials.
Apparently not:

Not that congressional Democrats will be able to goad their GOP colleagues into investigating this matter, but Flynn had better — to use a Republican taunt of Democratic administrations — lawyer up. Should Flynn need coaching in how to hold up under 11 hours of tough questioning on Capitol Hill, a retired secretary of state (and former presidential candidate) might be able to offer pointers.

Not one month into his ratings-challenged, reality-show presidency, Trump already faces replacing his first cast member. First to audition?

The White House has already begun canvassing for Flynn's permanent replacement. Retired Gen. David Petraeus is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the plans.
Sorry if that sent coffee shooting out your nose.