All Glory is Fleeting
Monday December 4, 2017
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- George Patton once wrote:
"For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade … A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting."
- Since Donald Trump came down that escalator at Trump Tower in June of 2015 and announced he was running for President, the number of people indicted for, or having pleaded guilty to, federal felonies currently stands at four.
- Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted about a month ago. Trump spokespeople said that Manafort and Gates had been connected to the campaign for a short period of time and the indictments were for activities not connected to the Trump campaign, the transition, nor the Administration.
- True, all.
- On the same day a member of the Trump campaign foreign policy team, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to a charge of having lied to the FBI. The Trump people said Papadopoulos was a relatively minor campaign hanger-on, had even a lesser role during the transition, and had never served in the Administration.
- True, all.
- Now, however, comes retired General Michael Flynn also entering a guilty plea for having lied to the FBI about what he discussed with the former Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
- Flynn was at Donald Trump's side throughout much of the 2016 campaign. He was on the plane. He was on the stage. He famously (and perhaps ironically) led the "Lock Her Up" chant at the Republican National Convention.
- He was a major player in the transition having been named National Security Advisor for the Trump Administration on November 18 - 10 days after the election and two months before the Inauguration.
- He was a member of the Trump Administration, having been sworn in after the Inaugural. He lasted only 24 days, resigning on February 13, 2016 after lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his discussions with Kislyak.
At 24 days, Flynn's tenure was still more than twice as long as Anthony Scaramucci's seat in the White House Communications Director chair. I set the under-over on The Mooch's tenure at 180 days.
I missed by 170 days.
- The big questions surrounding Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI have to do with the other issues that have been unearthed about his activities. Failure to file as a foreign agent with Russia and Turkey are two. There are also questions about Flynn's possible connection to, according to The U.K. Guardian newspaper
"a plot to kidnap a Turkish dissident cleric living in the US and fly him to an island prison in Turkey in return for $15m."
- The White House tried to create some air between Trump and Flynn with a Tweet that read:
"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!"
- Lawyers on TV immediately jumped on the words "and the FBI" because, the Washington Post reported,
"Previously, the White House had cited only the false statements to Pence as a rationale for dismissing Flynn."
- Apparently, if Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI then when he said to then-FBI Director James Comey to (according to Comey's contemporaneous notes)
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
Trump was essentially asking Comey to stop investigating a felony which might be obstruction of justice.
- The White House reacted by having one of Trump's lawyers, John Dowd, say that he (Dowd) had drafted the Tweet and dictated it to the White House social media staff.
- Several things: First, Dowd said on the Sunday shows he had never drafted a Tweet on behalf of Trump before.
- Second, by saying he "dictated" the language he is signaling there are no emails or texts for the Special Counsel or the Congress to subpoena.
- Third, how many people have access to Trump's Twitter account and what is the process for getting approval?
- Fourth, I have drafted hundreds, maybe thousands of statements on behalf of public officials. I have never published or issued one without getting approval of someone above me on the food chain - usually the principal.
- Trump, on Sunday morning, Tweeted a denial of Comey's recitation. From FoxNews.com:
"I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!"
- Trump was right about one thing: The Russia investigation has cast a dark cloud over his Presidency.
- Patton was correct as well: All glory is fleeting.
- On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Papadopoulos story, to a timeline of Flynn's activities, and to Trump's denial of Comey's memory.
The Mullfoto is from my brand new iPhone X of the Super Moon complete with an airplane passing beneath it.
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