Flynn resignation
#1
Well, it didn't take long for the first scalp to be collected. National Security Advisor Flynn resigned this week amid allegations of improperly communicating with the Russian Ambassador prior to the Inauguration, and allegations of lying to Vice President Pence about it.

On the underlying scandal, I really don't see what the fuss is about. The prospective NSA spoke with the Russian Ambassador, and that conversation touched on sanctions. Well, yes, one would expect the Ambassador to be very interested in this issue, and it falls into Flynn's prospective purview. I don't see anything scandalous here.

On the communication issue with Pence, it's unclear exactly what happened. We know that after being briefed by Flynn, Pence publicly denied that the conversation happened. Leaks from the intelligence community proved that it did happen, and thus Pence was shown to have declared an untruth (not the same as lying...see below) to the public, which is a big problem.

Regarding the critical communication between Flynn and Pence, there are several possibilities.

1. Flynn was completely honest with Pence, who chose to lie to the public for political reasons.
2. Flynn was honest with Pence, but Pence misunderstood or otherwise erred in his public statements.
3. Flynn failed to mention the fact that sanctions came up in the conversation (I.e. The specific subject never came up...there are several flavors of this. Perhaps it was just plain never discussed-it's not like the NSA and the VP don't have a lot of other things to discuss. Perhaps Flynn sighed in relief at not being asked a direct question he didn't want to answer. Or perhaps Pence didn't want to ask the question so as to preserve deniability)
4. Flynn flat out lied to Pence

I think the actual answer lies somewhere in 3. That is indeed Flynn's version of events. Given the embarrassment caused to the VP, and the maelstrom of press outrage, Flynn pretty much had to go.

However, the dog not barking concerns me. This whole situation was precipitated by the leak of intercepted phone calls between a foreign Ambassador and an American national. The mere fact of such intercepts existence, much less the content thereof, is among the most closely guarded secrets in the intelligence community, and they have just been compromised to nail a political scalp to the wall. That's like using a shotgun to kill a mosquito on your foot. You're gonna get the mosquito, but at what cost?
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#2
I am starting to think that modern American scandals are made from political interests. While I agree with those who criticize Hillary Clinton for mishandling sensitive government email, I suspect we differ in opinion on the details. And though I think she bears some responsibility for Benghazi, the Republicans' inability to pin any crime on her suggests that they took their investigation too far.

I don't like Trump. I don't like the way he behaves. I don't like some of his ideas. And I don't like some of his choices for advisers. But so far he isn't doing anything that past Presidents haven't done. George H.W. Bush was the only President in my memory who was able to hit the ground running because he had been Reagan's VP. Everyone else came into the job without any connection to the immediate prior administration and they all had to learn how to get things done the hard way.

We could say that Nixon had some prior experience as Eisenhower's VP and that Carter and Clinton had prior experience as state governors, but Carter's administration was a disaster and Clinton made some really bad decisions in the early days (and then he couldn't keep it in his pants).

It's not like we get to choose from a highly qualified pool of great leaders. I think we'd have less of a sense of scandal if the news media weren't so defensive toward Trump. Now he is threatening some of our democratic values but that did not happen over night. Some of the media organizations could have made better choices about the stories they covered. We don't need to know every detail about the idiocy in the White House. It happens with every new administration.
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#3
Flynn now is willing to testify if he isn't prosecuted? Sounds fishy to me.
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#4
It sounds fishy to me, too, but given how the Democrats and Republicans are constantly trying to weaken each other politically through scandalous investigations and calls for independent prosecutors I think Flynn's lawyers should be credited for having some common sense in advising him to seek immunity.

If he testifies without immunity and his words are used against him, he might still go free but will have experienced a long, expensive process. Regardless of what the guy has actually done, the idea of seeking immunity is just a prudent measure that many people involved in government seek.

Maybe Flynn did something for which he should be prosecuted, but our constitution is pretty clear about NOT compelling people to incriminate themselves. We have to respect that right for the bad guys as much as for everyone else.
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#5
Yep, working out an immunity deal is a very standard part of all prosecution, with our without the approval of non-lawyers. But it basically says that he fears
that he could be prosecuted. Not that he necessarily did anything wrong - he may just not want to spend a couple of million to have to defend himself. But of course, it makes him look
as if he's essentially admitting some guilt somewhere.
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