When Donald Trump wakes up a few hours from now, he’ll have a decision to make, and it’ll be a crucial one. Yesterday evening Trump surely learned, along with the rest of us, that Michael Flynn turned over a ton of damning evidence against Trump and his team, including a smoking gun voicemail. Now Trump has to decide how to respond.
No, Donald Trump doesn’t have to decide how to respond to the Michael Flynn news in a legal sense, because there’s nothing he can do about it. Robert Mueller and a pissed off judge are forcibly exposing to the public what Flynn gave up on Trump and his team, and because that’s a different branch of the government, there’s nothing Trump or William Barr can even try to do to keep the Flynn stuff from continuing to surface in the coming days. But Trump does have a different kind of decision to make right now.
In the year and a half since Michael Flynn cut a cooperating plea deal, Donald Trump has been consistently hesitant to publicly attack Flynn for it. During that time Trump has used Twitter to publicly attack or threaten just about everyone else who’s flipped on him. But Flynn has been off limits. Flynn’s extremely lenient plea deal told us all along that he had already given up the goods on Trump. But Trump doesn’t seem to know how any of these kinds of things work, and it felt like Trump was going easy on Flynn, in the hope that Flynn somehow wouldn’t give him up.
Well, now Donald Trump knows that Michael Flynn sold him out hard. Moreover, Trump now knows that Flynn gave up a number of unnamed Trump associates and allies on the transition team, in the White House, and in Congress. So what will Trump do when he wakes up in the morning? Will he finally declare war on Flynn, with a hideous tweet-tantrum? If so, it’ll shatter the illusions of a number of Trump supporters who have spent all this time theorizing on social media that Flynn somehow didn’t really flip, and that he’s been acting as a double agent for Trump all this time.
For all we know, Donald Trump might still be in denial about the fact that Michael Flynn has given him up, even with yesterday’s news. But if Trump does come out swinging at Flynn in the morning, it’ll be a sign that Trump has indeed figured out just how much damage Flynn has done to his sinking hopes of surviving this.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report