The testimony given by former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates before the Senate Judiciary Committee permits the inference that President Trump knew, or should have known, that his National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn had been compromised by Russia.
Ms. Yates did not mince her words. She testified she told White House counsel Don McGahn that Michael Flynn lied when he said he had not talked to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about potentially lifting U.S. Sanctions on Russia. And, importantly, she also told the president’s counsel that Russia knew Flynn was lying, that Flynn was, in fact, vulnerable to blackmail.
Incredibly, it would seem that but for the leaks that resulted in the public knowing about Flynn's lies, he would yet be sitting at the right hand of the president, whispering in his ear and -- likely -- in Putin's. After all, it was not until the information became public – a full 18 days after Yates met with McGahn – that Trump fired Flynn, and even then praising him to the skies.
Sadly, but somewhat predictably, the GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee appeared more concerned about the leaks than they were about Flynn’s deception and duplicity. They were more worried about who it was that had given a reporter a truthful account of Yates’ meeting with White House counsel than they were about Flynn being in a position to undermine our nation’s security.
These GOP senators have allowed their priorities to become tragically skewed.
James T. Clapper, Jr., a former Director of National Intelligence, also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He urged the senators to keep their eye on the ball, stating, “I think the most important thing that needs to be done here, is educate the electorate as to what the Russians’ objective is, and the tactics and techniques, and procedures that they’ve employed and will continue to employ . . . .” Clapper’s admonishment was on point, but it appeared to go unheeded.
By focusing on the leaks and not on the Russian attack on the integrity of our elections, these senators are intentionally, or unwittingly, aiding and abetting the Administration's obfuscations, deflections, and scapegoating. What has long been called "the world's greatest deliberative body" has, among its majority, charlatans who would sacrifice truth, justice - and, apparently, national security - on a partisan altar.
One thing is clear. Our president is unfit to serve. He is either complicit or incompetent, or both. Unless and until his Republican enablers decide to put country before party and get to the truth about Russia’s interference in our election, our republic is in jeopardy.
The story is told that, upon the adjournment of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a woman approached Ben Franklin and asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it." That caution has never been more relevant than now.