Anyway, whether it’s deliberate or not, we who behold the external manifestations of the chaos may nonetheless surmise that the forced resignation of national security advisor Mike Flynn, after just 24 days on the job, was probably not part of the plan. Maybe. Unless Steve Bannon is taking “gaslighting” to a whole ‘nother level, in which case: Wow.
But if Flynn’s resignation was indeed a political defeat, rather than the opening gambit of something even more insane, then it also represents a much-needed “win” for the mainstream news media, following a year when none of its punches seemed to land. In this case the victory lap goes to the Washington Post, which is taking credit for getting Flynn fired, by exposing deceit and dissension within the White House itself.
By various accounts, which may or may not be reliable (see above), Flynn was fired at the behest of Vice President Mike Pence, who was outraged that Flynn hadn’t been forthright in disclosing the nature of his discussions with Russia’s ambassador before Trump’s inauguration, which allegedly touched on Washington’s current sanctions against Moscow.
Pence apparently learned about Flynn’s failure to come clean from an article published by WaPo on February 9, 2017, titled “National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say,” which included the revelation that several other key members of the administration were already aware of the true nature of Flynn’s conversations. Even more damaging, the article noted that Flynn was walking back earlier denials that he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador, contradicting Pence’s public statements to CBS on Jan. 15, which had been based on his own exchanges with Flynn.
This week an aide to Pence, Marc Lotter, told the WaPo that Pence learned about Flynn’s deception from “media accounts” on Feb. 9, seeming to indicate that it was the newspaper’s reporting which caused him to turn against Flynn. On Feb. 13, the WaPo additionally reported that other administration officials had known that Flynn’s claims were false on Jan. 26, two weeks before Pence did – yet did nothing to prevent the vice-president from making public statements to the contrary, damaging his credibility.
Among other ramifications, U.S. intelligence officials have asserted that the discrepancy between Pence and Flynn’s accounts would have potentially left Flynn open to diplomatic blackmail by Moscow, as the Russians would possess secret information which, if publicized, would have endangered Flynn’s position.