WASHINGTON — Gen. Mike Flynn provided the first scalp in the Trump administration in record time — he served as White House National Security Adviser for 23 fleeting days before he resigned Monday night. In the eyes of President Donald Trump, Flynn could be his team’s first casualty of “fake news.”
As Trump told reporters at his epic press conference Thursday, he asked for Flynn’s resignation because Flynn didn’t tell Vice President Mike Pence that he may have discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the transition period. Pence then told CBS’ “Face the Nation,” that of course Flynn had not discussed possibly lifting sanctions with the ambassador.
Flynn “didn’t have to do that, because what he did wasn’t wrong,” Trump maintained.
Some critics contend that any discussion of sanctions with Russian officials would have been a felony under the Logan Act, which prohibits citizens from freelancing on foreign policy to prevent them from undermining the policies of an incumbent president. The thing is, no American has ever been prosecuted under that dubious law.
But if reporters are concerned about violations of the law, Trump continued, they ought to look at the federal officials who leaked his phone conversations with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The calls are supposed to confidential, but someone leaked them. Trump added, “The same thing happened with respect from Gen. Flynn.”
You see, a Justice Department and intelligence official had notified the White House legal counsel that Flynn had not leveled with administration higher-ups about what Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and he discussed. (How did intelligence officials know what Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak discussed? They apparently stumbled onto the conversation because they tapped Russian communications.)
Flynn resigned, according to Trump, because he misled Pence. But the timing — weeks…