Michael Flynn Trump’s new nemesis


The proverb ‘morning shows the day’ seems to be apt for Trump administration. It’s just little over three weeks and Team Trump is in disarray. The White House has become a jumble of lies, retractions and denials.
First, Trump executive order barring travellers from seven Muslim majority countries and halting refugee program opened the Pandora box of confusion and led to massive protests across the world. The Republican billionaire criticised judges, who blocked travel ban order citing religious bigotry. The confusion over the admission curb persists as Trump is planning to issue new order to impose Muslim ban.
On Monday, Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned over Russia call controversy. National security was a central element of Trump’s message and it’s been dominant in the early days of his presidency. Flynn’s fall from grace deprived Trump of his most important White House adviser charged with keeping Americans safe from foreign threats.
Flynn was accused of discussing US sanctions with the Russian envoy and misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. Flynn was in frequent contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the day the Obama administration slapped sanctions on Russia for poll-related hacking. Also, the Justice Department had warned the White House that Flynn could be in a compromised position owing to the contradictions over call controversy. Flynn’s discussions with the Russian envoy breach diplomatic protocol and possibly violate the Logan Act, which prohibits citizens from conducting diplomacy.
Flynn was a loyal Trump supporter during the campaign. The former general was picked for the role of national security adviser despite his controversial past. Obama administration fired Flynn from his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency for insubordination. But he always raised eyebrows in administration’s national security circles, in part because of his ties to Russia. Flynn, in 2015, was paid to attend gala dinner for Russia Today, a Kremlin mouthpiece. He shared the table with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the event.
His departure upends Trump’s senior team after less than a month in office. The Trump team’s account of Flynn’s discussions with the Russian envoy changed repeatedly over several weeks. Flynn, in his resignation letter, accepted that he provided Vice President Mike Pence and others incomplete information about his calls with Russian envoy. Pence, apparently relying on information from Flynn, initially said the national security adviser had not discussed sanctions with the Russian envoy. Later, Flynn conceded the issue may have come up.
On Sunday, Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declined to defend Flynn or say whether his job was safe. On Monday, the day Flynn resigned, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Flynn enjoys the full confidence of the president.
Flynn’s fall comes as Trump seeks to steady the White House after a rocky start. His resignation came at inopportune moment as Trump is already facing serious challenges on many fronts, especially IS extremists and North Korea. China also is asserting itself, forcing Trump to back down from the notion of using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in dealing with the world’s second biggest economy.
Flynn’s departure has created a sudden national security and foreign policy void. Trump must now move quickly to find a new national security adviser to boost confidence of his NSC. It will probably restore people’s trust in Trump’s nascent administration.

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