Donald Trump knew that his former national security advisor Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence. The intelligence community fully briefed the president about Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Why would Trump allow this?
In extraordinarily long and rambling press conference Thursday, Trump used this thin excuse:
‘Mike [Flynn] was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts … I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it. I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him because that’s his job.’
The Washington Post reported senior Justice Department and intelligence officials reviewed the transcript of the December phone calls. These calls came at the same time President Barack Obama placed sanctions on Russia after ousting 35 Russian employees, including the Moscow ambassador.
During an FBI interview in January, Flynn lied, saying he had not talked about the U.S. sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador to the U.S.
According to Fox News, before Flynn resigned, the intelligence agencies gave Trump a comprehensive summary of everything Flynn and the Russian ambassador said during their telephone conversations.
Since Flynn comes from the intelligence community, he must have known that his actions were knowable. That leads to the conclusion that the former national security advisor felt safe under Trump’s cover.
While 45 did not read the actual transcript of the conversations, he did have an extensive briefing. Intelligence said that Flynn’s statements were inappropriate at the bare minimum because he told the Russian ambassador that Moscow could count on a reversal of the sanctions, once Trump was in office.
It seems that Trump had no intention of firing Flynn until the news leaked out about the ambassador’s phone calls. It was only at that point that the president asked for Flynn’s resignation. That means it was perfectly fine with the president that Flynn was in conversation with the Russians about the sanctions.
Then, the question arises, did Trump really leave Pence out of the loop? Flynn’s actions may be prosecutable, meaning theoretically the president could face criminal charges, too. Should that occur, the vice president would step into the role of president. Is that really what Democrats want? Unlikely.
Trump has maintained that he believes Flynn did nothing wrong.
Check out this video of Charles Krauthammer talking about Trump’s actions:
Feature Image: Getty Images/Mario Tama.