|Mob Roll Up||
4 December 2017
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Friday was a rather eventful day as former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn entered a guilty plea to one count of lying to the FBI. As part of the plea deal, he has promised to cooperate fully with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller III. For anyone who has ever watched a mafia movie, this is exactly how successful law-enforcement agents roll up crime syndicates. The authorities get something on a low-level mafioso and give him a light sentence in exchange to testifying against those higher up in the chain of command. General Flynn's deal raises one substantial question. If he was the low-level guy, just who ranks higher than the National Security Adviser? Against whom does he have testimony to give that merits the lenient treatment?
There are not many people higher up in American government than the National Security Adviser. Perhaps the Secretaries of State and Defense qualify, but perhaps not. Rex Tillerson at State is hardly a heavyweight in the administration, and James Mattis at Defense seems to have avoided the whole Russia question. The White House Chief of Staff might if the administration has a strong personality there, but during the time in question, Reince Priebus held the position. He can be scratched from the list, although he might be able to corroborate whatever General Flynn says.
That leaves just a few other options: the president's close, personal advisers (Steve Bannon and the Trump children Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner), the vice-president and the president. Of these, only the vice-president has an independent standing in the governmental structure having been elected in his own right in 2016. Everyone else is there because the president wants them there.
It is impossible to believe that Vice President Mike Pence alone is the target of the Flynn Flip. The vice president does not appear to have that kind of power and seems to have tried hard to avoid anything remotely Russian. How successful he was only Mr. Mueller knows, but he was clearly not running a rogue operation within the administration. He was, however, head of the transition team shortly after the election, and so, he may well be part of the final set of indictments and impeachments if there are any. Given that General Flynn got off so lightly, it is safe to assume something more lies ahead.
As for Mr. Bannon, he has opposed the investigation into Russia's tampering in US politics as a waste of time. It is not, and it is entirely in keeping with his mission of protecting his candidate/president for him to say so. What is most telling, though, is that he never hired a lawyer to deal with allegations about Russia. That either means he has little to nothing to do with it, or he is an idiot. Mr. Bannon is many unpleasant things, but an idiot he is not. One would be surprised if he faced much more than a polite round of questioning by Mr. Mueller.
As for the Trump kids, Eric Trump has been kept away from the White House, or at least, is at a greater distance than Donald Jr. and the Kushners. The president's namesake wrote an email about Russians holding dirt on Hillary Clinton in which he said that if the information lived up to how it was being sold, "I love it." At least, that demonstrates a willingness to conspire.
Mr. Kushner has forgotten more meetings with Russians than most American ambassadors to Moscow have ever had. He has amended his security clearance forms with dozens of omitted contacts, and it is clear that his forgetfulness has a purpose.
As for his wife, she cannot be compelled to testify against her husband under spousal privilege, but she can certainly be put on the stand in the case of her brother. The questions then are, how deeply involved is she, and how much of her testimony about her brother applies as well to her husband?
And then, there is the biggest question of all. Did the president know what was going on? If he did, he is in a lot of trouble. If he did not, why not? Either way, it suggests he is going to have just one term in the Oval Office.
© Copyright 2017 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.