The Political Assassination Of Michael Flynn

I was no big fan of Flynn, but this sort of thing makes me support Trump, on principle. If they figure out who the leakers were, they should bring the hammer down on them. It’s a very frightening precedent.

[Wednesday-morning update]

What happened here is deeply worrying:

The whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America’s democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency. Flynn’s ouster was a soft coup (or political assassination) engineered by anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats. The results might be salutary, but this isn’t the way a liberal democracy is supposed to function.

Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around. Far too many Trump critics appear not to care that these intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive information to the press — mostly because Trump critics are pleased with the result. “Finally,” they say, “someone took a stand to expose collusion between the Russians and a senior aide to the president!” It is indeed important that someone took such a stand. But it matters greatly who that someone is and how they take their stand. Members of the unelected, unaccountable intelligence community are not the right someone, especially when they target a senior aide to the president by leaking anonymously to newspapers the content of classified phone intercepts, where the unverified, unsubstantiated information can inflict politically fatal damage almost instantaneously. . . .

But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely. It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.

What if Congress won’t act? What if both the Senate and the House of Representatives are held by the same party as the president and members of both chambers are reluctant to cross a newly elected head of the executive branch who enjoys overwhelming approval of his party’s voters? In such a situation — our situation — shouldn’t we hope the deep state will rise up to act responsibly to take down a member of the administration who may have broken the law?

The answer is an unequivocal no.

In a liberal democracy, how things happen is often as important as what happens. Procedures matter. So do rules and public accountability.

That hasn’t been the case for eight years. This is just a continuation, likely by the same people.

[Update a while later]

The Empire strikes back:

Welcome to the Deep State, the democracy-sapping embeds at the heart of our democracy who have not taken the expulsion of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party lightly. They realize that the Trump administration poses a mortal threat to their hegemony, and so have enlisted an army of Democrats, some Republicans, the “neverTrumpumpkin” conservative die-hards, leftist thugs, Black Lives Matter and anybody else they can blackmail, browbeat or enlist. They mean business.

Time for a rebel alliance. I hope Pompeo doesn’t have anything that can be used against him. But I fear that these people are morally capable of manufacturing things.

25 thoughts on “The Political Assassination Of Michael Flynn”

  1. The article doesn’t paint Trump in the best light either:

    “A better explanation here is that Flynn was just thrown under the bus. His tenure as national security adviser, the briefest in U.S. history, was rocky from the start. When Flynn was attacked in the media for his ties to Russia, he was not allowed by the White House to defend himself. Over the weekend, he was instructed not to speak to the press when he was in the fight for his political life. His staff was not even allowed to review the transcripts of his call to the Russian ambassador.”

    That does not sound like loyalty to an aid who simply misspoke.

    1. That does not sound like loyalty to an aid who simply misspoke.

      Maybe there is more going on.

      The way the linked article describes the transcript, it looks like the Democrats in and out of the media are falsely portraying what transpired. It is interesting that the media isn’t giving us the transcript even though they have it. They are making us rely on their interpretation and filtering of it.

      1. It is not clear to me that the anyone in the press actually has the transcript.

        This article does say, “The New York Times and Washington Post reported that the transcript of the phone call reviewed over the weekend by the White House could be read different ways.” But that could mean that a reliable source in the government told them that it could be read different ways, or that two different reliable sources with access to the transcript reported different takes on it. Does this article or any other make it explicitly clear that the press does have a copy of the transcript?

        1. You are right. I took that quote to mean that the reporters had read it. If they are relying on a source characterizing what was said but not reading the transcript to them or letting them read it, we are just in a giant game of telephone where humans, at each stage, with motive are framing something without giving the public the truth of what actually transpired.

          If they are going to leak, why not just give an actual quote or the entire document? Maybe because letting people know the reality of what transpired doesn’t help their cause. Or maybe it would increase the risk of prosecution.

    2. Moreover, Spicer’s “the level of trust between the president and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change” doesn’t fit the narrative here. If it was simply a political assassination orchestrated by the left, wouldn’t the administration instead have publicly thanked Flynn for selflessly stepping aside so that they could continue with the important work at hand once he realized that the undeserved controversy surrounding his innocent Russian contacts had become an insurmountable distraction.

  2. The Domestic Enemies of aMerica (DEMs) are what they are. Trump is going to have fight them every inch of his term. This would only be a real tragedy if the dems had a sincere objection.

    It is unusual for Trump not to fight for his people. Flynn is loyal and Trump knows that. So I don’t think any conclusions can be drawn. I suspect Flynn made this decision. Their will likely be other dropouts because actual loyalty hasn’t yet been put to the test for some.

    The govt. has been filled with turncoats and literal traitors. Six high profile republicans taking Soros money is cause for pause.

    1. It is unusual for Trump not to fight for his people. Flynn is loyal and Trump knows that. So I don’t think any conclusions can be drawn.

      Not really… Trump would easily throw someone under the bus once they outlive their usefulness. Loyal or not. He’s done it before.

      1. Yes, but not as a political expedient. He fires for cause, not because it just benefits him. This is why I believe Flynn convinced Trump in this case.

        The DEMs strategy is clear. Trump shocked them by keeping his promises to those that voted for him. So they are going to do everything they can, for as long as they can, to tie him up so he can’t move forward. Trump needs to turn the swamp into a desert.

  3. Given the Obama administration actions against leakers, President Trump has all the tools needed to nail them. And you can’t know who’s going to leak until they do.
    Trump values loyalty & performance; internal dishonesty destroys both. He doesn’t hesitate to get rid of non-performers. But he also provided a good lesson for his organization & could soon know where to look for disloyal (& criminal) leakers.
    The Left gets a scalp, Trump just moves on.

  4. I like how the author brought up the Iran deal. Leaking the details of the secret deal would actually be a benefit to the American public.

    The leaked Flyn transcripts don’t show what the Democrats claim they do and don’t really show much of anything. So why is the Democrat media portraying this information as something it isn’t? I thought they didn’t like fake news.

    It looks like the leak was of trivial information intended to be used politically rather than to protect the national defense of the country or by a whistleblower exposing illegal acts.

    Trump needs to clean up this mess of Democrat agents weaponizing federal agencies. It’s a subversion of our form of democracy and the refusal to accept the peaceful transition of power.

    1. Trump needs to clean up this mess of Democrat agents weaponizing federal agencies.

      We need to keep in mind that bureaucrats can weaponize themselves. The intelligence agencies in particular have considerable opportunity to use their power to undermine or destroy domestic enemies without sanction from a political party.

      1. Right — they might be acting without partisanship. And they might be acting nefariously but they also might be acting patriotically.

        This comment from over at the National Review site jumped out at me:

        Jon Bard · Works at Self-Employed
        If our Nat’l Security apparatus believes that a key member of the NSC is a conduit to Russia, and that our President may be similarly compromised / overly sympathetic to Russia– and they report their concerns to said President who then does nothing with it…..

        Damn right they make sure it gets leaked. We’re beyond politics at this point. We’re dealing with the security and sovereignty of our nation.

        To say that the leak is the real problem is like saying Mark Felt was the villian of Watergate.

        1. but they also might be acting patriotically.

          Then why didn’t these people act this way when Obama and Hillary were kowtowing to Russia? When Obama made secret deals with Iran?

          There doesn’t appear to be any there there with Flynn. So how do you get to patriotism and trying to save the country? What happened in the phone call that was a threat to the existence of the country?

          Obama was the one that pulled missile defense out of Poland on the anniversary of the Russian invasion and promised to be more flexible in appeasing Russia after the election. Trump is the one who wants to rebuild our military and nuclear weapons program.

      2. Possibly but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that Democrats have been training and counseling government workers to be part of the “Resistance”.

  5. “…but this sort of thing makes me support Trump, on principle.”

    I think the heart of the NeverTrump movement was based on indignant gut reactions to certain stories about Trump that leaked out during the campaign. Stories that were dribbled out by the mainstream media, including one sound clip they had in their possession for over a decade. He wasn’t the devil until he ran for office as a Republican. And who’s the biggest purveyor of fake news?

    Rand was dead-set against Trump but thought Hillary was even worse, and he wasn’t alone. And as more and more crap like this and the Berkeley riots goes on, people who were once NeverTrump will become supporters, and those who were borderline supporters will become strong supporters.

    Want to know how you get more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

  6. Another scenario which I have not seen mentioned anywhere yet is that Trump authorised the ‘leak’ because Flynn had said or done something to warrant his head on the block and Trump wanted it known that private agendas will not be tolerated. So Flynn is taken down in the media, then fired. To encourage the rest etc. etc.

  7. First is was Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. Then it was Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, took a leave of absence because of his dealings with Russia.

    Now there are more reports that other members of Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russia.

    “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

    American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”

    I guess Trump’s shout out to Russia during the campaign, hack the democrats and you will be rewarded is coming back to haunt him

    1. The leftist hatred of Russia can only be explained by the payouts by Soros to key democrat and republican hacks.

      1. As I think Glenn Reynolds wrote: “The Left hasn’t been this interested in Russia and fake news since Walter Duranty.”

    2. Manafort was investigated and cleared by Obama’s FBI. Do you think Obama would let it slide if anyone on Trump’s staff was colluding with the Russian to hack the DNC or had illegal dealings with the Russian government?

      The NYT is engaged in a bit of fake newsery by the way they frame things in that article. They make claims which are not true and frame things like “Hillary’s emails” dishonestly.

      They are trying to claim widespread Russian agents working on Trump’s staff. When in fact, that is not the case. Also take note of this correction

      Correction: February 14, 2017

      An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people (in addition to Paul Manafort) whom the F.B.I. has examined. It is at least three, not at least four.

      At least four implies more than four. At least three implies more than three. But if there isn’t at least four, then how can they claim there is more than three?

      When the NYT article is so full of willfully dishonest tactics, how can you believe anything in it? This is fake news, Democrat party propaganda.

  8. The left doesn’t hate Russia. It’s just a tool. They hate America and will use any argument they think they can sell.

    1. Yup, they have been acolytes of Russia for the last 60 years and much of their core party ideology came from the KGB. They were the ones claiming the Red Scare was just paranoia and that Russia was never a threat.

      Right up until Russia embarrassed Obama, Hillary, and Kerry in Syria. They never cared when Russia was at odds with our country, they only cared when Russia was at odds with their party. But Democrats still parrot the same Russian propaganda about the USA that they have for the last 60 years.

    2. Well maybe the left has good reason to hate America since “We’re killers, too.”, and Ken “Do you think our country is so innocent? Wonder who been expressing those ideas…..

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