The resignation of National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, after less than a month in office may just be the tip of the giant Russian iceberg looming in front of the Trumpian ship of state. Flynn had to go after having lied to Vice President Mike Pence about discussing sanctions with the Russian Ambassador before Trump took office. Flynn apparently relayed the message from Trump that Putin need not worry about Obama’s latest round of sanctions and that everyone would kiss and make up when Trump took over. Only that seems to explain the lack of Russian retaliation. Putin had always taken strong action in response to sanctions – until he didn’t – which alerted anyone who was paying attention that something was going down.
Clearly, Trump was behind the attempt to undermine the authority of the sitting President and conduct unauthorized diplomatic negotiations with a hostile foreign power in violation of the Logan Act. Flynn was not flying solo on this mission. He thought the President had his back – a perhaps fatal miscalculation in this case.
Flynn’s connections to Putin and his Kakistocracy go much further back. Flynn was an early Trump devotee and rah-rah man and had his own connections with the Kremlin. Was he the main bag man between Trump and Putin? It seems very plausible that Flynn knows more than anyone about what happened with the Russians during the campaign. In all likelihood, Flynn was in charge of managing the apparent quid pro quo between Putin and Trump. If elected, Trump would kowtow to most of Putin’s demands and make kissy-face; in return Putin would not expose Trump’s Russian peccadillos and possible criminal connections. And to sweeten the deal, Putin would unleash his squads of hackers and undermine Hillary’s campaign. It was a win-win deal for both autocrats – the real one and the would-be one.
As it now looks more and more like Putin has the goods on Trump (the Moscow Hotel videos are probably just a teaser – the real question is whether Trump is in deep with the Russian Mob), Flynn likely had the unenviable task of selling out his country after Trump’s election. Someone had to seal the deal made with the Russian strongman during the campaign.
Trump’s big mistake may have been not tossing Flynn overboard before taking office. But perhaps he was afraid that Flynn knew too much. The problem is compounded now and the vultures are circling the White House already. Look for Trump to arrange for the Russians to either pay off or otherwise take care of Flynn before he spills the borscht. The price of treachery is always dear.