I watch or read a plethora of different news feeds daily, but I confess, most of my TV time is spent watching Fox News, because I’m a conservative. Given that, I’ve been a little embarrassed by the coverage of the latest LTG Michael Flynn saga.
To hear the talking heads on Fox, the FBI was duplicitous and sneaky, endeavoring to gain a perjury trap against Flynn, and because of that, Flynn is completely innocent, and a wrongly convicted man. A hero who wore the uniform and who’s been maligned by the evil deep state, never mind the fact that he himself pled guilty to the charge. I understand that we are in competing narratives in this polarized world, but wearing the uniform means something to me. Something more than the ratings conservative media attempts to gain from viewers by cheering on the absolution of war criminals.
There very well might be a “deep state” involved in his indictment, and the FBI should absolutely be held to account, but this isn’t a black and white situation, meaning if one side is black, the other is white. From what I can see – outside of being able to read the actual documents, like every other person spouting in the 24/7 news cycle – the FBI was duplicitous in its interactions with Flynn, and probably outside the bounds of what should be permissible, but that doesn’t mean LTG Flynn is innocent.
To hear the media talk about the episode, because the FBI was purportedly out to entrap him in a lie, it proves that he isn’t guilty. Even President Trump said the new documents “exonerated” him. That’s simply not true, and the man should be held to account. It reminds me of the movie “Training Day”, where Denzel Washington is a corrupt cop, beating suspects and extorting drug dealers. Is Denzel Washington a bad guy in the movie? No doubt, but that doesn’t mean the drug dealers are innocent or “exonerated”. This entire episode is like having a couple of cops invade the home of a pedophile on a trumped-up reason of “probable cause” and then having the case thrown out because they violated his 4th amendment rights. Yeah, the cops were bad, but the guy is STILL a pedophile.
When Trump was elected president of the United States, my father asked me about the military members he’d chosen for his staff and what I thought. I gave him an answer, and to be sure I wasn’t misremembering, I went back and looked at my texts from years ago. I said, “GEN Mattis is a good dude. Best thing he could do. LTG Flynn is questionable. He’s going to be nothing but trouble, both in the administration and on the world stage.”
I said that not because I had any personal animosity, but because I had personally served with both men. And that reflection holds true to this day. I was proven right.
For all the people that are doing the black-is-white analogy, here is a timeline:
1. Russia interfered in our election. This is undisputed by both sides of the aisle.
2. Obama, because of the interference, threatened to kick out multiple “diplomats” and impose sanctions against Russia.
3. Russia said that if the US does such a thing, they will respond in kind, kicking out our own diplomats inside Russia.
4. Flynn talks to the Russian ambassador, amongst a host of other world leaders as the incoming National Security Advisor.
5. The Russian diplomats are kicked out, sanctions are imposed, but Russia does nothing in return, with Putin indicating they will take the high road. There are no repercussions for Obama’s actions. President Elect Trump comments on the decision, saying, he knew “Putin was smart.”
6. People scratch their heads, saying, “WTF? Why would Putin do such a thing?” Questions began to be raised about Flynn’s conversation with the AMB of Russia. Did he, as an incoming presidential national security advisor, undercut the current administration by promising relief in one month, when the new administration takes over? It grows into such a crescendo that the Vice President elect goes on all the Sunday shows.
7. On just about every Sunday news show, VP Pence says this is untrue. He assures everyone that LTG Flynn has personally told him he did not offer the Russians sanctions relief.
8. The acting attorney general sees this on the same TV screen America watched, and realizes that LTG Flynn is now open to blackmail from Russia. She knows this because Flynn precisely said such a thing because they were doing routine monitoring of the Russian Ambassador’s phone. She approached the incoming administration and said, essentially, “Hey, Flynn’s lying. He absolutely discussed sanctions relief. We have it on tape.”
9, Flynn gets fired for lying to the Vice President elect of the United States.
Okay, that is what happened. These are the facts, and they are not in dispute. Today, you hear President Trump saying over and over that “What happened to Flynn should never happen to any person in the United States”, and that absolutely might be true with respect to the FBI, but Trump himself fired Flynn, not because of the FBI, but because he had lied to the Vice President. As a person who served in uniform, I’ll echo Trump’s comments, saying “What Flynn did should not be allowed by any person in a position of power in the United States.” This is a three-star general, and the new National Security Advisor, who is contacting a hostile state and undercutting his own country’s policies in order to curry favor for an incoming administration. Not only that, he’s dealing with a country that is an enemy of the United States. One that indisputably interfered in our own election. It is, as the judge in his current case said, bordering on treason.
BACK TO THE TIMELINE:
10. The FBI is accused of improperly interviewing him, without using proper White House channels, and, quite possibly entrapped him for lying about his conversations with a hostile foreign power.
And here we end. This is the conservative media focus. This last line. This is what everyone is blathering about, conveniently forgetting all the transgressions that had happened before. It’s the public defender decrying the lack of a search warrant against his client, not the fact that his client is a pedophile. And I’m honestly a little sick of it.
Yes, let’s hold the FBI to account, but in so doing, we shouldn’t whitewash LTG Flynn into some American Patriot. He is not. Beyond what the evidence for this specific case shows, he’s used the veneer of his “general” creds to act as a foreign agent for Turkey, writing OPEDS in newspapers to sway US policy without ever revealing he was being paid to do so by a foreign power, and has taken other money to speak in Moscow for Russian TV, sitting across the table from Vladimir Putin. He is not a hero. He is the worst of America, a man willing to prostitute his own reputation for money and power, and I, for one, don’t have any sympathy for him.
At the end of the day, the FBI might be the devil here, but don’t ever think because that’s true that LTG Flynn is an angel.