It has been a bad week for retired Air Force Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser.
His senior director for Africa was denied a security clearance by the CIA and thus forced out of the National Security Council. Then there was a drumbeat of revelations: Flynn communicated with Russian contacts during the transition, and during the campaign before that, but lied to everyone about it, including the vice president.
As Politico notes, Flynn was already viewed with deep suspicion in the intelligence community.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, dismissed as “baloney” any suggestion that the clearance was denied because the intelligence community was trying to brushback Flynn.
Trump and Flynn “see treachery everywhere they go,” Schiff said, adding “if a security clearance is denied, it’s for a reason.” Intelligence agencies tend to be careful in rejecting security clearances because “they know they’re going to have to justify it,” Schiff concluded.
While Flynn serves in a position that does not require Senate confirmation, his job may become impossible now thanks to congressional concern over this ballooning scandal that validates concerns about Russian influence in the Trump administration.
Sen. Claire McCaskill has called for an FBI briefing “as soon as possible” for the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is already supposed to investigate Russian influence operations in the 2016 election.
If Flynn did coordinate Moscow and the Trump campaign, “and then he and other Administration officials misled the American people, his conduct would be all the more pernicious, and he should no longer serve in this Administration or any other,” Schiff told reporters yesterday.
Reporting on the momentous news last night, Rachel Maddow talked to Schiff about the potential criminal consequences of Flynn’s actions.
“If the Trump campaign, during the course of the campaign, including Michael Flynn, was collaborating with Russia to interfere in our election, then all kinds of laws were violated, and that will have very serious repercussions,” he said.
Should Russian hacking prove to have been a coordinated “in-kind support” for the Trump campaign, “stepping down from office will be the least of the worries of Trump administration officials,” Schiff added.
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