Is Flynn’s de­fec­tion a death blow?

Woonsocket Call - - Opinion - Pat Buchanan Pa­trick J. Buchanan is the au­thor of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Bat­tles That Made and Broke a Pres­i­dent and Di­vided Amer­ica For­ever."

Why did Gen. Mike Flynn lie to the FBI about his De­cem­ber 2016 con­ver­sa­tions with Rus­sian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak?

Why did he not tell the FBI the truth?

As na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser to the pres­i­dent-elect, Flynn had called the ambassador. Mes­sage: Tell Pres­i­dent Putin not to over­re­act to Pres­i­dent Obama's ex­pul­sion of 35 Rus­sian diplo­mats. Trump will be pres­i­dent in three weeks, and we are com­mit­ted to a new re­la­tion­ship.

Not only was this ini­tia­tive de­fen­si­ble, it proved suc­cess­ful.

Putin ac­cepted the loss of his diplo­mats and coun­try houses on Long ls­land and the East­ern Shore. Rather than ex­pel U.S. diplo­mats in re­tal­i­a­tion, he in­vited them and their fam­i­lies to the Krem­lin's New Year's par­ties.

"Great move...( by V. Putin)," tweeted Trump, "I al­ways knew he was very smart." This colum­nist con­curred:

"Among our Rus­so­phobes, one can hear the gnash­ing of teeth.

"Clearly, Putin be­lieves the Trump pres­i­dency of­fers Rus­sia the prospect of a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with the United States. He ap­pears to want this, and most Amer­i­cans seem to want the same. After all, Hil­lary Clin­ton, who ac­cused Trump of be­ing ' Putin's pup­pet,' lost."

Flynn, it now ap­pears, was not free­lanc­ing, but fol­low­ing in­struc­tions. His deputy, K. T. McFar­land, sent an email to six Trump ad­vis­ers say­ing that Obama, by ex­pelling the Rus­sians, was try­ing to "box Trump in diplo­mat­i­cally."

"If there is a tit-for-tat es­ca­la­tion," warned McFar­land, "Trump will have dif­fi­culty im­prov­ing re­la­tions with Rus­sia." Ex­actly.

Flynn was try­ing to pre­vent Rus­sian re­tal­i­a­tion. Yet, as the ex- di­rec­tor of the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency, he had to know his call to Kislyak was be­ing mon­i­tored and recorded.

So, again, why would he lie to the FBI about a con­ver­sa­tion, the con­tents of which were surely known to the peo­ple who sent the FBI to question him?

The other charge of ly­ing about a call with Kislyak was Flynn's re­quest for Rus­sian help in get­ting post­poned or can­celed a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil vote on a res­o­lu­tion de­nounc­ing Is­raeli set­tle­ments on the West Bank.

Obama's White House was back­ing the anti-Is­rael res­o­lu­tion. And Bibi Ne­tanyahu had asked Trump to weigh in to block the vote.

Bot­tom line: Flynn, act­ing on in­struc­tions, tried to pre­vent a U.N. con­dem­na­tion of Is­rael, and to dis­suade Rus­sia from a mass ex­pul­sion of U.S. diplo­mats, lest this poi­son the well against a rap­proche­ment for which the Amer­i­can peo­ple had voted.

In the court of public opin­ion, Flynn's ac­tions would find broad sup­port. Rather than deny knowl­edge of them, Trump should have taken credit for them.

Why the gen­eral would lie to the FBI about con­ver­sa­tions he had to know U.S. in­tel­li­gence had recorded is a puz­zling question, but now also an ir­rel­e­vant one, wa­ter over the dam.

For Trump's gen­eral is now the newly con­scripted col­lab­o­ra­tor of the me­dia-MuellerDemo­crat-deep state con­spir­acy to over­turn the elec­tion of 2016 and bring down the Trump pres­i­dency. Re­mark­able. After 18 months, we have no ev­i­dence Trump col­luded with Rus­sia in hack­ing the emails of the DNC or John Podesta, which is what the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion was sup­pos­edly about.

There is no con­clu­sive ev­i­dence Flynn com­mit­ted a crime when, as na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser- des­ig­nate, he tried to pre­vent Obama from sab­o­tag­ing the poli­cies Trump had run on — and won on.

Yet there is ev­i­dence Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence agents col­luded with a Bri­tish spy in the pay of the oppo re­search arm of the DNC and Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign — to find dirt on Don­ald Trump.

And there is ev­i­dence James Comey's FBI wanted to hire the Bri­tish spy who ap­peared to have ac­cess to the Rus­sian agents who ap­peared to pos­sess all that won­der­ful dirt on the Don­ald.

It is hard to see how this ends well.

This week­end, after Flynn's ad­mis­sion he lied to the FBI, Belt­way me­dia were slaver­ing like Pavlov's dogs at an­tic­i­pated in­dict­ments and plea bar­gains by present and for­mer White House aides, Trump fam­ily mem­bers, and per­haps Trump him­self.

The joy on the TV talk shows was transparent.

Yet the me­dia have already been badly da­m­aged; first, by the re­lent­less Trump at­tacks and the cheer­ing for those at­tacks by a huge slice of the coun­try; sec­ond, by their re­flex­ive re­ac­tion. The me­dia have be­haved ex­actly like the "en­emy" Trump said they were.

In this us- ver­sus- them coun­try, the me­dia now seem to relish the role of "them." The old proud jour­nal­is­tic boast to be ob­jec­tive and neu­tral re­porters, ob­servers and com­men­ta­tors is gone. We are all par­ti­sans now. As last Fri­day's sud­den 300-point drop in the Dow re­veals, if Trump's en­e­mies bring him down, they will al­most surely crash the mar­kets and abort the re­cov­ery that took hold in Trump's first year.

And if the es­tab­lish­ment, re­pu­di­ated by Trump's vic­tory, thinks it will be re­stored to the na­tion's good graces if they de­stroy Trump, they are whistling past the graveyard.

When Cae­sar falls, the cheer­ing for Bru­tus and Cas­sius tends to die down rather quickly. Then their turn comes.

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