Trump should slow down
The first weeks of the Donald Trump administration have demonstrated shortsightedness in trying to do too much too quickly.
No one, except perhaps the president himself, has expected the nation’s new chief executive to deliver on all of his campaign promises during his first 100 days in office. However, Trump has seemed bent on achieving such an impossible objective.
Hopefully, the troubling situation involving now-former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned Monday night, will prove to be the stimulus for the administration to slow down and, from now on, take time to weigh and consider the broad implications of its every move on whatever the issue before it.
In so many ways the Trump presidency’s first month has demonstrated White House disarray unlike any that this nation ever has seen. Even during the dark days of Richard Nixon’s Watergate Scandal-soiled presidency, the nation and its objectives seemed on fundamentally sound footing.
But Flynn’s conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States prior to the new administration taking office, followed by the “incomplete information” about those contacts that he provided to Vice President Mike Pence and reportedly others, is grounds for deep concern about the entire road on which the administration is traveling toward its dealings with Moscow.
The Michael Flynn saga isn’t over. A full investigation is necessary to probe the depths of it.
Statements supportive of Flynn by Russian officials in response to the news of his departure harden the urgency for such a probe.
What did Russia stand to gain if Flynn had remained in his U.S. national security role?
Would he have been Russian president Vladimir Putin’s catalyst for bringing about the removal of some or all of the sanctions imposed during the Obama administration, including those of Dec. 29 related to Russia’s alleged interference in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election?
It’s been widely reported Flynn had frequent contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on that December day, and in his resignation letter Flynn admitted to having held several calls with the Russian ambassador in Washington during Trump’s transition to the White House.
Flynn is no stranger to controversy. He was dismissed as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency by the Obama administration for what a senior U.S. official described as insubordination.
Now, in the early days of the Trump administration, Flynn has muddied the administration’s image by apparently having violated the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from engaging in diplomacy with foreign officials.
Flynn, a private citizen until Trump’s inauguration, should have steered clear of any contacts with Kislyak or any other Russian official until after Trump’s swearing-in.
Beyond the Flynn scandal itself, the way the administration has handled the controversy is open to second-guessing. Over several weeks prior to Flynn’s resignation, administration officials’ descriptions of Flynn’s contacts with the Russian envoy changed repeatedly, including about the number of contacts, the dates of those contacts and, ultimately, the content of the conversations.
The administration’s first weeks have been marked by numerous untruths and instances of flawed or questionable knowledge and judgment that have eroded many Americans’ confidence in the president.
The Flynn situation is just more concrete evidence that the administration needs to step back, take a look at itself and implement necessary — indeed, critical — changes.