It’s time to Break It Down!
I know Valentine’s Day is for all intents and purposes merely a Hallmark Holiday for many, but a holiday it is. Yesterday, as I’m sure you know, was Valentine’s Day. Typically, I lean toward recycle mode during holiday weeks. Today, I’m opting for a compromise. I’m going with a rare trilogy theme. I can only recall once before when I actually used an entire month to develop strands of a central theme. This is not that. It has just played out that way.
For the past two weeks, I have ferreted out a variety of aspects dealing with a device commonly known in writing as irony. The topics of the past two weeks, and of this week are topically unrelated, and are tied together simply by the infusion, in each case, of irony.
The news this week has been rife with reports about newly former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn, and his tortuous route to the ranks of the unemployed. The irony referenced in this post has to do with the response of the administration, stemming from Flynn’s resignation, or firing, depending upon whose account you choose to believe.
There really is a significant amount of background that ultimately led to the disassociation of General Flynn and the current administration. I will not be delving deeply into much of it. If you have followed the current administration, you already know. If you haven’t, chances are you neither know nor care. As a matter transparency and generally being forthcoming, and, in the event you haven’t noticed, I have opted not to write directly about the winner of November’s election for the country’s top official. That won’t change today.
I digress. Back to the matter at hand, it was reported several weeks ago that certain Russian operatives had attempted to sway the outcome of our general election, to the detriment of Hillary Clinton, and in favor of her opponent. It was revealed that said reporting reflected the consensus opinion of America’s 17 related National Intelligence agencies. The administration in waiting dismissed the findings, characterized the reporting as fake news, and leveled charges at the outgoing administration for trying to undermine its successor. Surely, methinks they protest too much.
As reported by NBC News yesterday, below are a number of key dates and occurrences related to the fateful trajectory of Adviser Flynn (alternative facts not included):
Summer 2015 — Flynn first meets Trump, according to an interview he gave to the Washington Post.
Dec. 2015 — Flynn took a paid trip to Russia and appeared at a gala for RT, the state-run TV station, where he dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
June 2016 — Russian hackers are identified as the culprits behind hacking of Democratic institutions and figures; U.S. officials will later say Putin was involved and the goal was to meddle with the electoral process.
I highly recommend the just out book – THE FIELD OF FIGHT – by General Michael Flynn. How to defeat radical Islam.
Nov. 18, 2016 — President-Elect Trump names Flynn his national security adviser.
Dec. 29, 2016 — Obama administration unveils sanctions against Russia for election-related hacking, expelling diplomats and shutting down two compounds. The same day, Flynn speaks to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak by phone.
Dec. 30, 2016 — Putin says he won’t retaliate for the sanctions and invites children from the U.S. embassy to a Christmas party. Trump then praises Putin in a tweet.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
Sometime after Dec. 30, 2016 — The FBI reviews intercepts and finds the Flynn-Kislyak conversation. The matter gets folded into the FBI’s ongoing probe into Russian election-related hacking and related issues.
Jan. 11, 2017 — Trump denies members of his staff had contact with Russia before the election, during the campaign.
Jan. 12 — Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reports the contact between Flynn and Kislyak, raising questions about whether sanctions were discussed.
Jan. 13 — Trump spokesman Sean Spicer says Flynn did not discuss sanctions with the ambassador and the purpose of the call was to schedule a time for Trump and Putin to speak post-inauguration.
Jan. 15 — Vice President Mike Pence tells CBS’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions were not discussed: “It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”
Jan. 19 — Obama administration officials — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — discuss the situation and want to warn the Trump team that Flynn has misled Spicer and Pence. FBI Director James Comey vetoes that, saying it will compromise his ongoing investigation.
Jan. 20 — Trump inaugurated.
Jan. 20 or 21 — The FBI questions Flynn about his call to the ambassador as part of the bureau’s broader investigation into Russia, according to a senior U.S. official.
Jan. 23 — At Spicer’s first White House press briefing, he says that Flynn assured him the night before that the Flynn-Kislyak call did not involve sanctions. The subject, Spicer says, was a plane crash over the holiday, Christmas greetings, a potential conference in Syria on ISIS, and scheduling a call with Putin.
Jan. 26 — Acting AG Yates tells White House Counsel Donald McGahn what she knows about the call, according to the White House. Trump was told immediately, Spicer says, and the White House counsel launched an “exhaustive” review that included questioning of Flynn.
Jan. 30 — Trump fires Yates, saying she’s being axed for refusing to defend his executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Feb. 9 — The Washington Post reports that Flynn, according to current and former U.S. officials, did discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador; officials confirm the content of the discussion to NBC News. This day is the first time Pence is informed of the Justice Department warning about Flynn’s call — two weeks after Trump was told.
Feb. 10 — A spokesperson for Flynn tells NBC News that Flynn “can’t be 100 percent sure,” but doesn’t remember talking sanctions. Trump denies knowledge of the reports that Flynn and the Russian talked sanctions. “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” he tells reporters. Also that day, Flynn speaks by phone to Pence, reportedly to apologize to him.
Feb. 13 — Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tells NBC News that Flynn has the full confidence of the president. Moments later, Spicer says Trump is evaluating the situation. Hours after that, Flynn resigns, saying he “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.”
Feb. 14 — At a press briefing, Spicer says Trump asked Flynn to resign because of an erosion of trust — not because any laws were broken.
“No, absolutely not” says Sean Spicer, when asked if @POTUS instructed Flynn to talk about sanctions with Russian ambassadors
The record shows there is a lengthy summary of dates and acts. It appears that there are a number of inconsistencies and other incongruences relative to the assertions of the Trump administration. So in this third edition of ironies, we appear to have arrived at the irony of all ironies. How does the administration conclude, after all of the above, that the real concern is leaks to the media, rather than the actions of a National Security Adviser who apparently either misled (notice I generously did not say lied) the Vice President, or perhaps, who really acted on behalf of the administration, and is now just being a good soldier and taking the fall for his Dear Leader?
Well, on second thought, the administration couldn’t be expected to cop to the latter. But the former is supported by quite a compelling cacophony of arguments. Beyond that, it should be noted that had the report not surfaced (been leaked), the administration would still be poised to feign ignorance, and keep this story from the daylight view of the American public. While I won’t pretend I speak for the administration, I am confident the American public is in a better place as a result of the recent revelations. It was not that long ago the prevailing chants were “Lock her up” and “Drain the swamp!” Where is all that indignation and search for political purity? In summation, I give you…”Irony Part III: Perhaps…The Mother of All Ironies!”
I’m done; holla back!
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Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post: