Source: Trump of­fers Flynn na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser job

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Ken Thomas, Cather­ine Lucey and Julie Pace

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump of­fered for­mer mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence chief Michael Flynn the job of na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser as he be­gan to build out his na­tional se­cu­rity team Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior Trump of­fi­cial. The move came as Trump made his most di­rect foray into for­eign pol­icy since the elec­tion, meet­ing with Japan’s prime min­is­ter.

Flynn, who served as the di­rec­tor of the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency, has ad­vised Trump on na­tional se­cu­rity is­sues for months. As na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, he would work in the White House and have fre­quent ac­cess to the pres­i­dent. The post does not re­quire Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion.

The of­fi­cial wouldn’t say whether Flynn had ac­cepted the job, which left open the pos­si­bil­ity that the ar­range­ment was not fi­nal­ized. The of­fi­cial was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the of­fer pub­licly and in­sisted on anonymity.

Flynn, who turns 58 in De­cem­ber, built a rep­u­ta­tion in the Army as an as­tute in­tel­li­gence pro­fes­sional and a straight talker. He re­tired in 2014 and has been a fierce critic of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s White House and Pen­tagon, tak­ing is­sue with the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­proach to global af­fairs and fight­ing Is­lamic State mil­i­tants.

Flynn has called for Washington to should work more closely with Moscow, echo­ing sim­i­lar state­ments from Trump. But his warmth to­ward Rus­sia has wor­ried some na­tional se­cu­rity experts.

Flynn trav­eled last year to Moscow, where he joined Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and other of­fi­cials in a cel­e­bra­tion of RT, a Rus­sian tele­vi­sion chan­nel. He later ex­plained that he had been paid for tak­ing part in the event, but brushed aside con­cerns that he was aid­ing a Rus­sian pro­pa­ganda ef­fort.

Trump is a for­eign pol­icy novice and his early moves on na­tional se­cu­rity are be­ing closely watched by U.S al­lies and ad­ver­saries alike. He’s said to be con­sid­er­ing a range of of­fi­cials with vary­ing de­grees of ex­pe­ri­ence to lead the State De­part­ment and Pen­tagon.

The pres­i­dent-elect held his first face-to-face meet­ing with a world leader since win­ning the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, hud­dling pri­vately with Japan’s Shinzo Abe. While Trump made no com­ments fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Abe said the pres­i­dent-elect was “a leader in whom I can have great con­fi­dence.”

Trump also con­sulted with for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Henry Kissinger and sat down with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Ha­ley, a po­ten­tial con­tender to lead the State De­part­ment.

In Washington, Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence hud­dled with Repub­li­can lead­ers in Congress. He then met with House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the newly elected leader of the Sen­ate Democrats, seek­ing to con­vey re­spect as Democrats pre­pare for Repub­li­can rule of both cham­bers and the White House for the first time in a decade.

“We look for­ward to find­ing ways that we can find com­mon ground and move the coun­try for­ward,” Pence said out­side Schumer’s Sen­ate of­fice.

In a sep­a­rate ges­ture of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans, Trump planned to meet with 2012 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney, who lam­basted Trump as a “con man” and a “fraud” in a sting­ing speech last March. Trump re­sponded by re­peat­edly re­fer­ring to Rom­ney as a “loser.”

The two be­gan mend­ing fences af­ter Trump’s vic­tory when Rom­ney called with con­grat­u­la­tions. They are to meet this week­end, a tran­si­tion of­fi­cial said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he wasn’t au­tho­rized to dis­cuss Trump’s sched­ule pub­licly. Cam­paign manager Kellyanne Con­way said they were still “work­ing on” the meet­ing.

Trump’s ac­tions Thurs­day aimed to show lead­ers both in the U.S. and over­seas that he could soften his rhetoric, of­fer prag­ma­tism in the White House and reaf­firm long­stand­ing Amer­i­can al­liances. Since his stun­ning vic­tory over Hil­lary Clin­ton last week, Trump has spo­ken with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and nearly three dozen other world lead­ers by tele­phone.

Ron Der­mer, Is­rael’s am­bas­sador to the United States, also vis­ited the sky­scraper and called Trump “a true friend of Is­rael.” He specif­i­cally cited as an­other “friend” Trump cam­paign CEO Steve Ban­non, whose se­lec­tion as a top White House ad­viser has cre­ated a back­lash among Democrats. Ban­non’s news web­site has ped­dled con­spir­acy the­o­ries, white na­tion­al­ism and anti-Semitism.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, with all the mem­bers of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing Steve Ban­non, in mak­ing the U.S.-Is­rael al­liance stronger than ever,” Der­mer said.

Trump, a re­al­ity tele­vi­sion star, busi­ness mogul and po­lit­i­cal new­comer, also rolled out new teams that will in­ter­act with the State De­part­ment, Pen­tagon, Jus­tice De­part­ment and other na­tional se­cu­rity agen­cies. The move is part of the gov­ern­ment tran­si­tion be­fore Trump’s Jan. 20 in­au­gu­ra­tion.

Co­or­di­na­tion had been on hold un­til Trump’s team sub­mit­ted doc­u­ments in­clud­ing a list of tran­si­tion team mem­bers who will co­or­di­nate with spe­cific fed­eral agen­cies, plus cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that they meet a code of con­duct bar­ring con­flicts of in­ter­est.

White House spokes­woman Brandi Hoffine said the min­i­mum pa­per­work was fin­ished Thurs­day, mean­ing agen­cies could start pro­vid­ing brief­ings and writ­ten ma­te­ri­als to Trump’s team. In­deed, the de­part­ments of State, De­fense and Jus­tice say meet­ings are be­ing set up.

Con­way said she ex­pected ini­tial an­nounce­ments of Cabi­net choices to come “be­fore or right af­ter Thanks­giv­ing,” telling re­porters Trump he was “lov­ing” the tran­si­tion. “He’s a trans­ac­tional guy. He’s some­body who’s used to de­liv­er­ing re­sults and pro­duc­ing.”

One po­ten­tial Cabi­net mem­ber, Eva Moskowitz, said had taken her­self out of the run­ning to be­come ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary. Moskowitz, a Demo­crat and ad­vo­cate for char­ter schools, met with Trump this week, stok­ing spec­u­la­tion that she might in­ject a bit of bi­par­ti­san­ship in the new ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Moskowitz, who voted for Clin­ton, sug­gested there were “pos­i­tive signs” that Trump might gov­ern dif­fer­ently than he cam­paigned, but she wrote in a let­ter to par­ents that many of her stu­dents, who are over­whelm­ingly black and Latino, would feel that “they are the tar­get of the ha­tred that drove Trump’s cam­paign.”


Re­tired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn walks through the lobby at Trump Tower in New York on Thurs­day.

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