Can someone get Paul Ryan a newspaper subscription, please?
Politico has a blow-by-blow of the final hours of Flynn’s impressively brief White House career, and it sure seems that as Trump agonized over how to react, the thing that weighed most heavily on his mind was that he didn’t want to hurt Flynn’s feelings.
Trump’s decision on what to do with Flynn was not easy, according to several people who spoke with him about it. The president values loyalty perhaps more than anything, and Flynn had been one of his most staunch surrogates on the campaign trail. The president saw Flynn as a fellow outsider who had a good sense of the national security challenges. “Trump liked the way he talked to him,” one adviser said. “He thought Flynn knew what he was doing.”
Remember, although the White House claims that it only just learned of Flynn’s probably-very-illegal dalliances, the Post‘s sources were unable to rule out the possibility that the administration knew of Flynn’s conduct all along. But giving them the benefit of the doubt (I know, they’ve done nothing to deserve it, but bear with me), the President’s decision tree apparently looks like this: On the one hand, Trump had solid evidence that Flynn lied to Vice President Pence and made himself extremely vulnerable to Russian blackmail. On the other hand…they’re buddies!
One person who frequently speaks to Trump said the president was reluctant to ditch Flynn because he doesn’t “like to fire people who are loyal.” Even Monday evening, Trump was still pondering the decision, the person said.
“He has this reputation of being a ‘you’re fired’ kind of guy, but he really didn’t want to have that conversation,” the person said.
Wow, the persona Donald Trump adopted for a shitty reality TV show doesn’t transfer seamlessly to running the highest levels of the federal government and putting what’s best for the country above his personal relationships. Who would have guessed?
Meanwhile, a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, Missouri senator Roy Blunt has called for a no-stone-unturned investigation, which seems like an appropriate response from a lawmaker who just found out that one or more high-ranking members of the executive branch were caught palling around with a hostile foreign superpower. He’ll have to take this request up with House Speaker Paul Ryan, though, who is answering questions on the subject while looking desperately toward the ceiling like a child attempting to explain why he walked out of the grocery store with a Snickers he didn’t pay for.
I think the president was right to ask for his resignation, and I believe it was the right thing to do.
This would be a great answer, except that there’s absolutely no evidence that Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation. (Then again, Politico did report that Shadow President Bannon urged Flynn to resign, so perhaps that counts.) Ryan, undeterred, pressed on:
I think it’s really important that as soon as they realized they were being misled by the national security advisor, they asked for his resignation.
Again, a compelling argument but for the fact that then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed the White House of this conclusion a month ago, and was fired several days later for her troubles, which, hmmmm. (Seriously, can someone get Ryan’s office a newspaper subscription?) It’s strange that despite Yates’ report, Flynn didn’t resign until the media publicized the true extent of his Russian connections. It’s almost as if the Trump administration never had any intention of revealing this information to the American people.