Well, it took twenty-four hours for Donald Trump to think of something to say about his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. That’s twenty-three hours more than it takes him to comment on kneeling NFL players or how unfunny SNL is. And the extra time didn’t have any effect on his tendency to lie and exalt himself.
In a tweet posted Saturday morning, Trump presented a version of events that contradicts reality. That’s typical of the President whose grip on reality is tenuous under the best of circumstances. But when he’s pressured by events that are likely to lead to his impeachment, he becomes even more unhinged. He tweeted that:
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
Let’s break that down. First of all, it’s important to recall that Trump resisted firing Flynn long after he knew of his offenses. U.S. Attorney Sally Yates went to the White House to personally notify them of Flynn’s problematic associations with Russia and other foreign operatives. So obviously Trump rushed into action and fired Yates.
Trump’s tweet also asserts that his reason for firing Flynn (who technically resigned) was because he lied to Vice-President Pence and the FBI. In fact, the only reason Trump ever gave for the firing was Flynn’s lies to Pence. If Trump is now confessing that he knew at the time that Flynn had lied to the FBI, that’s a brand new revelation. It seems unlikely that he would have that information because special counsel Robert Mueller wouldn’t share that sort of data with other subjects of an ongoing investigation. Also, if Trump knew then that Flynn lied to the FBI, how could he ask FBI Director James Comey to drop the case? Trump is either lying or he interfered in some manner with Mueller’s probe. Either way it’s obstruction of justice.
[UPDATE: A report citing anonymous sources is now alleging that Trump’s tweet was authored by his lawyer John Dowd. Since there’s no official statement from the White House, and Trump hasn’t updated his tweet, it’s impossible to ascertain whether this is accurate or just a desperate attempt to walk back a tweet that effectively confesses obstruction of justice. However, it hardly seems much better if Trump’s lawyer is the author because he should regarded as being intimately familiar with Trump’s affairs. What’s more, since there was no indication that the tweet might have been written by someone other than Trump, it raises the question as to whether any other tweets attributed to him were also written by someone else.]
Finally, Trump’s assertion that Flynn broke no laws and had nothing to hide is about as shallow an assessment as it’s possible to contrive. If there wasn’t any criminal activity, then why did Flynn lie? Clearly he was attempting to cover something up and hoping to get away with it. Trump’s failure to discern this illustrates how blind he is to what is obvious to everyone else. Or, once again, he’s lying. But there is a measure of self-delusion that can’t be ignored. Take for instance these comments Trump made to the press Saturday morning (video below):
Question: Mr. President, are you concerned about what Michael Flynn might tell the special counsel?
Trump: No, I’m not. And what has been shown is no collusion. No collusion. There’s been absolutely no collusion so we’re very happy.
Notice Trump’s triple repetition of the phrase “no collusion.” That’s typical of his speaking style, particularly when he is consumed by anxiety and in the throes of a panic. He feels the need to reinforce his message with the sledgehammer approach to public communications. But more to the point, Trump is projecting his fantastical notion of there being no legal jeopardy for himself simply because Flynn copped a plea. The whole point of plea bargaining is to charge a defendant with a lesser crime in exchange for information that leads to a more prominent offender. If Mueller didn’t get actionable data, he would not have let Flynn off so lightly. This concept is not entirely foreign to Trump. Remember when he tweeted this:
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017
Well, now Flynn has accepted a limited immunity of sorts in exchange for his cooperation with the special counsel. And the fact that he had to plead guilty is proof that the investigation is anything but a witch hunt.
So while much of the right-wing media is pretending that Mueller doesn’t have anything on Trump because of the relatively soft bargain with Flynn, the truth is it’s that softness that proves that Mueller did get valuable info that could lead directly to Trump, his inner circle, and his family. Mueller is no pushover who can be conned by weasels like Flynn. It’s safe to say that Trump is in his crosshairs, and that accounts for Trump’s noticeably nervous behavior. And despite his inability to grasp this reality, it’s just gonna get worse.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 2, 2017