First major casualty of the nascent Trump administration, former General Michael Flynn resigned/was fired two days ago. Flynn, who was the top National Security Adviser, had gotten too big for his britches and his balloon was burst when information came out regarding his dealings with the Russian Ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration. Apparently, this Putin buddy told the Ambassador that the sanctions that had just been applied to the Russians by Obama for their interference in the 2016 elections would be reversed by Trump once he was in office.

Flynn had been in trouble before when he was part of the Obama administration and had been kicked out of his job as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency because of difficulty dealing with subordinates and his inability to accept any intelligence that contradicted his fixed beliefs. Flynn had also been involved with the Russians previously, before Trump became president, taking paid speaking engagements on RT, the Russian international television network. He also appeared at a dinner with Putin and apparently had business dealings with some of the oligarchs.

Of course, as National Security Adviser to Trump, Flynn could not maintain any links to the Russians and could not make any secret agreements with Russian officials behind Trump’s back. He lied about his conversation with the Russian ambassador and withheld the information from Vice President Pence, who went out on a limb defending Flynn before he was aware of the deception. Flynn may also be guilty of violating the Logan Act by speaking with the representative of a foreign government before Trump was in office.

By lying to Vice-President Pence and other US officials, Flynn placed himself in a potentially compromising position, opening himself up to being blackmailed by the Russians. Trump was apparently aware of the situation with Flynn seventeen days before the National Security Adviser resigned, so one has to wonder why Trump was sitting on that information and doing nothing about it. Who else in the administration knew what was going on and who gave the word to Flynn that he had to leave? Are any other administration officials guilty of conspiring with the Russians or withholding information from the president? Is Flynn going to be the only one leaving or can the nation expect to hear the words “You’re fired” yelled by the president at other members of his team? Is the president himself guilty of involvement with the Russians before the election?

Flynn is a malignant Islamophobe who has initiated and spread various conspiracy theories along with his son, the latter being excluded from the Trump team when some of his paranoid theories became known. Hillary’s involvement in a child porn ring was one of the instances of false news disseminated by Flynn pere and fils. Flynn also led aggressive chants at Trump rallies of “Lock Her Up,” in relation to Hillary’s email debacle and problems with the Clinton Foundation. Flynn might have been an ardent Trump supporter but it was obvious that he was a troubled individual, which might not have been recognized by the president.

A question now is who is going to take over the role of National Security Adviser for Trump, an extremely important position in his administration, as Trump does not want to listen to long daily briefings about national security and does not read lengthy analyses of pending problems. There is some thought that former General David Petraeus might be given the job, a really smart and knowledgeable guy regarding military and intelligence issues. Though he did slip once previously, giving classified information to his mistress who was a journalist, some smut in a candidate’s history could be a plus for a job in the Trump administration. And Petraeus has all of the other bona fides. But the job may go to someone Trump can control.

Another question is whether or not the FBI is continuing its pursuit of the hacking by the Russians and the part it played in the election, or whether the subject was closed? How about Trumps interactions with the Russians before he became president? Is there going to be a Congressional investigation of these matters or will a select committee be formed to look into this attempt to sway America’s ‘free elections?’ Or will Congress continue to back Trump because of his party affiliation, putting party ahead of country as they have done for so long?

In addition to the Flynn debacle, a lot of unusual situations have surfaced since Donald Trump began his trek to the presidency, with none of the adverse or damaging information or actions sticking to him yet. John Gatti, the Mafia boss, was nicknamed the Teflon Don because of a similar ability years ago. Maybe Trump is another Teflon Don.

Resurrecting Democracy

www.robertlevinebooks.com

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ROBERT A. LEVINE, TMV Columnist
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