F.B.I. agents interviewed Michael T. Flynn when he was national security adviser in the first days of the Trump administration about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, current and former officials said on Tuesday.Sally Yates, as you may recall, was fired soon thereafter.
The interview raises the stakes of what so far has been a political scandal that cost Mr. Flynn his job. If he was not entirely honest with the F.B.I., it could expose Mr. Flynn to a felony charge. President Trump asked for Mr. Flynn's resignation on Monday night.
While it is not clear what he said in his F.B.I. interview, Mr. Flynn maintained publicly for more than a week that his conversations with the ambassador were innocuous and did not involve Russian sanctions, something now known to be false.
Shortly after the F.B.I. interview, on Jan. 26, the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, told the White House that Mr. Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail because of inconsistencies between what he had said publicly and what intelligence officials knew to be true.
Presumably, Flynn was under oath when he spoke to the FBI; if he lied to them, he could face perjury charges. And Flynn doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who goes down without taking people down with him.
That makes him dangerous—and it certainly makes the White House nervous, which is dangerous, because this lot clearly don't make good decisions under the best of circumstances.
[H/T to Aphra_Behn for the NYT article.]
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Earlier today, I wrote about how angry I am (and will always be, forever and ever amen) about how Hillary Clinton's preparedness and competence were treated with contempt during the campaign.
Given this latest news about Flynn, I also want to call back how, during the campaign, Donald Trump criticized U.S. military generals over and over, and constantly shouted about how he would have the BEST generals.
Trump was going to have the BEST generals, remember? Now a general is the first casualty of his cabinet, for gross incompetence (at best).— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 14, 2017
And then, there is this—General Michael Flynn's appearance at the Republican National Convention:
FLYNN: We do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law! [The crowd cheers and applauds; they chant "Lock her up! Lock her up!"] Lock her up! That's right. Yeah, that's right—lock her up! I'm gonna tell ya what—it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable. [The crowd continues to chant, as Flynn nods approvingly.] Yeah, I use—I use hashtag Never Hillary. That's what I use.Well, sir: Hillary Clinton did not do anything criminal. At all. I daresay that you have done well more than "a tenth" of what Clinton did.
I have called on Hillary Clinton— I have called on Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race, because she—she—put our nation's security at extremely high risk with her careless use of a private email server. [Audience cheers and chants.] Lock her up! Lock her up! You guys are good. Damn right. Exactly right. There's nothing wrong with that.
And you know why? And you know why? You know why we're saying that? We're saying that because if I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth—a tenth!—of what she did, I would be in jail today.
So, so: Crooked Hillary Clinton, leave this race now. [Audience cheers and chants.] She needs to go.
This is the campaign they ran against her. It was always a campaign of projection by the crookedest, most reckless vandals who have ever petitioned to lead this nation.
Which should be abundantly clear by this point, if it weren't already.