It’s now Sunday night. Donald Trump is back in the White House after his ill timed Florida vacation. The weekend headlines have been dominated by the Russia scandal, which he had surely been hoping had gone away. The current controversy all centers around National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, a guy Trump doesn’t even like, and who could easily be scapegoated. So if Flynn isn’t fired tomorrow, it’ll mean that Trump can’t fire him – which will mean that Trump is going down with him.
To underscore how much of a liability Flynn has suddenly become, he’s been caught lying about having colluded with the Russian ambassador before and after Election Day, meaning that the current sanctions revelation is just the tip of the iceberg; eventually we’ll see headlines about how Flynn definitively colluded with Russia to rig the election. And Mike Pence has now been dragged into the scandal, because he previously vouched for Flynn that the sanctions had not been discussed with Russia – and now Pence’s office is implying that Flynn lied to him. On top of it all, Trump’s own newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo has responded by denying security clearance yesterday for Flynn’s top deputy. The entire Trump administration, sans Trump himself, is now trying to march Flynn immediately to the door.
And so now we’re about to find out how deep this scandal runs. If Michael Flynn was a mole who with the Russian government to rig the election on Donald Trump’s behalf, and the conspiracy didn’t rise any higher than Flynn, then Trump can simply fire him tomorrow and push the entire Russia scandal back to the backburner for awhile. But if Flynn was acting on Trump’s orders or with Trump’s knowledge, or if another key Trump advisor such as Steve Bannon was pulling Flynn’s strings on Russia, then that means Trump can’t fire Flynn – because Flynn knows everything.
So tomorrow is the moment of truth. If Donald Trump doesn’t fire Michael Flynn, it’ll be because he’s concluded that Flynn would retaliate by revealing Trump’s own involvement in the Russia scandal. In such case, Trump will be choosing to keep an obviously guilty Flynn in the fold just to keep him quiet awhile longer. If Flynn is still employed by end of business on Monday, it means Trump is guilty. And at the rate the intel community is moving against Flynn, it’ll be just a matter of time before they’re both taken down.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report