General Michael Flynn screwed up. There can be no plainer way say it than that. (Where there is one clearer way, but I want to keep the family friendly rating.) When your job is to act as an advisor for someone then the brutal truth is what is expected. Your job is to give a complete and unvarnished accounting of the facts without bias, favor or prejudice. Those that you advise are counting on the data and advice you provide to make decisions and when you fail to deliver those decisions based on your information are at risk. You cannot lie by a hair or by omission and the second you lose one iota of credibility you lose the trust. Not being trusted is the death of the advisor. General Michael Flynn failed and President Trump rightly asked for his resignation. It is sad to see someone who has served honorably for 30 years go out in this fashion, but it had to be done.
February 13, 2017
In the course of my duties as the Incoming National Security Advisor, I held numerous phone calls with foreign counterparts, ministers, and ambassadors. These calls were to facilitate a smooth transition and begin to build the necessary relationships between the President, his advisors and foreign leaders. Such calls are standard practice in any transition of this magnitude.
Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the president and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.
Throughout my over thirty three years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States.
I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way.
I am also extremely honored to have served President Trump, who in just three weeks, has reprinted American foreign policy in fundamental ways to restore America’s leadership position in the world.
As I step away once again from serving my nation in this current capacity, I wish to thank President Trump for his personal loyalty, the friendship of those who I worked with throughout the hard fought campaign, the challenging period of transition, and during the early days of his presidency.
I know with the strong leadership of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S history, and I firmly believe the american people will be well served as they all work together to help Make America Great Again.
Michael T. Flynn, LTG (Ret)
Assistant to the President/ National Security Advisor
Now before you Leftist start hyperventilating and sending your emails General Flynn did not resign because he talked to Russia. As a member of the President Elect’s transition team it was his job to begin building those relationships with his foreign counterparts in an effort to ensure the administration hit the ground running. Please stop saying this because it makes you look foolish. He also was not forced to resign because he simply talked about the Russian sanctions. There are plenty of contexts under which a conversation on this topic would have been not only permissible, but fully legal. For instance if his Russian counterpart had said, “I want to talk about the sanctions” and Flynn had responded, “OK. Just so you know we are not authorized to speak about the current administration’s policies, but you are welcome to outline your concerns. Just be aware that these concerns will have little bearing on the incoming administration’s policy at this time.” A conversation like this would be about sanctions and not represent a conflict of interest. Since they have not release the transcript or even a summary of this conversation then it is impossible to tell at this time if this warrants further investigation. However, had he said something along the lines, “Sanctions suck bra, after Mr. T’s inauguration we may have more flexibility” this certainly represents both a legal and ethical gray areas that would probably require further review.
No General Flynn’s resignation was immediately precipitated by lying to the Vice President. On December 29, General Flynn spoke to the Russian Ambassador and part of that discussion included the sanctions. Whether he forgot, misremembered or deliberately attempted to deceive the VP and other administration officials is not clear, but in any of the three scenarios there can only be one choice. The advisor must be removed from his position because he can no longer be trusted and his credibility or competence will always be suspect. Politics is a blood sport and for somethings you only get one strike before you are out. President Trump made the right call as General Flynn would have remained a distraction.
One final note. I know President Trump does not read my blog, but if I could give him one piece of advice it would be to steer clear of General Petraeus as the replacement choice. You do not swap one credibility/competence problem for another. If he attempts to get General Petraeus installed in this role he is simply going to create a circus and further distract from his policy initiates. There are plenty of qualified candidates who would willingly support you and they do not come with the baggage that General P would bring. Your entire administration is going to be under a microscope from Democrats and the Media in ways that President Obama never was and you can ill afford to get dragged into fighting in the street every couple of weeks. Your administration will need to operate above the board and be beyond reproach if you are to make America great again and despite his qualifications General Petraeus is to great of a gamble on which to squander the little political capital you have.