Having written an extensively long and half-week consuming piece the other day on “#Obamagate,” I realize a more direct explanation can be given for this “scandal”. Here goes in some short bite-sized bits.
1- Michael Flynn was a foreign agent. And worse yet, he was an agent who had collected six figure fees from foreign governments yet not registered as an agent as required by law. As I pointed out in my earlier piece, Flynn has, it appears helped influence President Trump’s coddling of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan which threatens the NATO alliance’s unity and has undermined traditional US allies in the Middle East.
2- President-Elect Trump with no foreign policy experience of his own was leaning on Flynn and other cynical hangers-on like the unseasoned George Papadopoulos to provide direction. Since Trump was rhetorically opposed to the Bush/Obama neoconservative foreign policy of American intervention (ostensibly undertaken to promote western values, this can of course be debated), they moved him into alignment with authoritarian regimes who reject the liberal democratic principles neoconservatism espouses. This started during the transition.
3- President Obama, Vice President Biden, NSC Director Susan Rice, FBI Director James Comey, DNI James Clapper and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates among others all were concerned about the potential of a foreign agent or multiple foreign governments infiltrating the highest ranks of the National Security Council.
4- They then did in my opinion, and surely in the opinions of others who are objective and do not have a political ax to grind, what they did both unmasking and warning the incoming administration to PROTECT AMERICAN INTERESTS. Whether they broke laws, I do not know, and quite frankly if they did it just exposes more conservative hypocrisy where law breaking to protect national security is okay in the Reagan and Bush administrations but not in Obama’s.
5- Right-wing media determined for whatever reason to prove deep state conspiracies and side with Turkey and Russia over domestic political opposition have made Flynn’s case a cause, not dissimilar to how liberals play up social justice causes. The drumbeat to clear Flynn from the alt-right and its array of websites and TV networks led by FOX News worked three years to make this a mainstream “scandal.” They went into overdrive once COVID-19 and its delayed response had done enough economic damage to hurt Trump’s reelection prospects.
I don’t believe laws were broken but if they were, hypocrisy is on display. Conservatives have never cared when laws were broken to protect national security, so why are they so up in arms about this? Time and again, whether it was Iran-Contra or the unmasking of Valerie Plame and many incidents in-between, conservatives have hid behind national security when breaking laws. If a law was indeed broken, it was done so not to score political points but to protect the country. It’s up to each individual citizen to determine whether that is a good or bad thing.