Ed­i­to­rial Trump’s bad ex­am­ple claims a Cabi­net mem­ber

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - OPINION - — Den­ver Post, Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

While many ques­tions about Michael Flynn’s ac­tions re­main unan­swered, a les­son we hope our mer­cu­rial pres­i­dent will take from the scan­dal turns out to be an em­bar­rass­ingly sim­ple one: How you con­duct your­self as boss of­ten ends up be­ing mir­rored by those who work for you.

Per­haps if the pres­i­dent hadn’t told ob­vi­ous lies in his open­ing weeks in of­fice, Flynn — the now (al­ready) for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser — might have felt more com­fort­able be­ing straight­for­ward with the facts and kept him­self free of the trou­ble he now faces.

In­stead, Trump of­fered up a steady stream of refutable false­hoods about the size of his in­au­gu­ral turnout and voter fraud. Against that back­drop, Flynn lied to his own vice pres­i­dent, chief of staff and spokesman, Sean Spicer. In so do­ing, Team Trump al­lowed the lie to be com­mu­ni­cated to the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

Mean­while, Amer­i­cans must hope that the na­tion’s se­cu­rity is in good hands. Who could blame them if they worry?

And how in the world are the rest of the mem­bers of Team Trump sup­posed to know whom to be­lieve, and when?

Ac­cord­ing to New York Times re­porters, dur­ing the time that Trump was shrug­ging off al­le­ga­tions from the na­tion’s top in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials that Rus­sia med­dled with our elec­tion sys­tem — in an ef­fort to help bring about a Trump vic­tory — Flynn talked with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. In­tel­li­gence agents dis­cov­ered that Flynn talked to the am­bas­sador around the time Pres­i­dent Barack Obama sent home a pas­sel of Rus­sian diplo­mats and an­nounced sanc­tions against cer­tain Rus­sian in­ter­ests.

Obama’s de­ci­sion drew a sur­pris­ingly non-hos­tile re­sponse from Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who said he would not an­swer in kind. Trump rushed to Twit­ter to praise the Rus­sian pres­i­dent.

Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials wor­ried a deal had been cut, in vi­o­la­tion of a lit­tle used fed­eral law, and what one would hope would be com­mon sense re­gard­ing a known en­emy.

Agents found that while no deal was struck, Flynn dis­cussed the sanc­tions with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador. Given the op­por­tu­nity to clear things up fol­low­ing a Wash­ing­ton Post col­umn about the call, pub­lished on Jan. 12, Flynn, ap­par­ently un­aware of what the agents had on him, told Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Spicer he hadn’t talked sanc­tions with Kislyak.

On Jan. 26, Jus­tice De­part­ment of­fi­cials in­formed White House coun­sel that agents had proof Flynn talked sanc­tions with Kislyak. The pres­i­dent was no­ti­fied im­me­di­ately but kept the mat­ter quiet for more than two weeks. In fact, it ap­pears Trump was hop­ing the mat­ter would blow over and Flynn would re­main in his Cabi­net.

Flynn kept as­sert­ing, up un­til the day he was forced to re­sign, that he didn’t do what agents have proof of him do­ing.

Per­haps, after a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the re­peated con­nec­tions be­tween Team Trump and Team Putin, we will find that Flynn’s cover-up is worse than his ac­tions.

But the whole mess un­der­scores why we have joined those seek­ing a full re­view of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence with our elec­toral process.

And it fur­ther high­lights our con­cerns that Ly­ing Trump can’t be trusted. With this latest sad de­vel­op­ment, we be­gin to see in dra­matic de­tail how Trump’s re­liance on chaos and false­hood hurts his own ef­forts, while also cor­rod­ing our val­ues and stand­ing in the world.

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