Tag Archives: Watergate

So It Begins, with Michael Flynn–Trump’s Ignominious Early Departure

Does any rational person really think that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn came up with his own talking points to Russian Ambassador Kisylak? Does anyone NOT think he discussed or got approval from Donald J. “Richard Milhous” Trump? Congress will demand that Flynn testify before their various committees. Will Flynn be a loyal soldier like G. Gordon Liddy–who refused to rat out Richard Nixon? Maybe, but maybe not. 

Trump and Nixon side by side
Donald Trump, Richard Nixon(Credit: AP/Reuters/Rick Wilking/Photo montage by Salon)

“What did the president know and when did he know it?” Déjà vu washes over American’s over 50. Odd, hearing newscasters who were not yet born or who were young children utter this phrase. A phrase that was said countless times on a daily basis 43 years ago. The Watergate investigation became America’s obsession in 1973, culminating in then President Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974. [I watched it in the student lounge of Georgetown University Law Center as I began my law school classes. Then major news anchor John Chancellor said no one in America was celebrating this event—he couldn’t have been more mistaken. I have never since had such a high level of schadenfreude—but I expect Trump’s eventual departure to exceed it.] More than 30 White House cabinet members, Nixon staff members and associates went to jail. It all began with a break-in at the Watergate complex headquarters of the Democratic National Committee  in 1972. Those who went to jail included John Mitchell, Attorney General and chairman of Nixon’s reelection campaign. Others included senior White House officials like H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and John Erlichman.

Many have seen the similar personality flaws of Nixon and Trump, as well as contemplated the trajectory of a Trump presidency that very likely could follow Nixon’s second term. Enemies—the news media, Democrats, blacks and religious minorities; for Nixon it was Jews, for Trump it’s Muslims. Hubris is a common element. But Nixon had more paranoia with his megalomania; Trump has more narcissism with his self-aggrandizement. Nixon resigned in the face of certain impeachment and conviction. Will Trump face the same fate? Maybe. Or perhaps he’ll be out on a mental disability. It wasn’t the break-in that put so many Nixon associates in jail, it was the cover-up of it. Will it be the same with Trump? Could be the financial conflicts, Russia or any number of things. Flynn is just the first. More will likely follow, the longer Trump remains in office.

You didn’t have to be a Malcolm Nance, former Navy intelligence officer,  to see the Michael Flynn situation coming. All you had to do was observe Trump’s behavior toward Russian generally and Putin in particular. Here’s some of what I said in my fake news (mostly to insulate myself from legal liability by claiming my commentary was true).

My January 19 post included this satirical item:

“On behalf of Benedict Trump, National Security Adviser Michael “RT” Flynn, called the Russian Ambassador five times on December 29th.  He reportedly saidaccording to a leak of an NSA intercept authorized by a FISA warrant,

“Don’t worry about Obama’s sanctions and those diplomats expelled. Once Trump’s in the White House we’ll roll them back and you can bring back as many spies—I mean diplomats—as you want.”

“Thank you, Comrade Flynn,” the ambassador replied.”

Of course no FISA warrant was needed; it was a routine matter for US counterintelligence to monitor calls to and from people like Russian Ambassador Kisylak. How carelessly stupid did a career US intelligence official like Michael Flynn have to be to in fact tell the ambassador that Trump might remove or lessen sanctions? VERY stupid. For that reason alone he should have resigned. No one that stupid should be in the position of National Security Adviser to the President.

My December 31 post included this satirical item:

“More breaking news on the Russian Front (Putin and Trump, that is).  An anonymous source linked this NSA intercept of a recent call between Trump and Putin.

 “Hey, Vlad baby, thanks for that smart move with the sanctions. That will make it easier for me to remove them after I’m in the White House–soon to be the Trump House, hahaha.”

“Donny, don’t worry about the sanctions Obama imposed. We can handle them for a while. Wait a few months before you remove them all–and the other ones about Crimea and the Ukraine. If you act too quickly, you’ll have trouble with Congress.”

“Are you sure you can stand them, Vlad?”

“Absolutely, Donny boy. Just remember, we’re always here for you. If you do get in trouble–like being impeached for conflicts of interest with all your business dealings, you can move to Russia. We treat our oligarchs very, very well here. You can make as much money as you want without annoying laws and regulations hemming you in. You could finally become a billionaire for real!”

“How about a reality TV show on RT?

“Sure, no problem. But you’ll want more than that won’t you? Resorts, casinos, golf courses and more–right? Just get rid of those sanctions in a few months.”

“Right. OK, but if I’m going to dump those sanctions, I’ll need approval for several projects up front. Donald Jr., will be in touch about them.”

“Sure, we can do that. But be careful about calls like this. We can’t help you if you go too far and get charged with treason!”

“Hey, I’ll be President. No conflicts. I can do whatever I want. Say, you really didn’t do that hacking did you?”

“No, of course not! You trust Infofarce, the National Enquirer, WhiteBark and Sean Insanity don’t you?”

“Oh sure. That’s why I don’t bother with those stupid PDBs. I’m smarter than those intelligence agencies!”

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Acknowledgements: See photo attribution

Frankl versus Liddy; Dueling Book Reviews

Man's Search for Meaning book cover
Will, by G. Gordon Liddy, book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

This came to me the other day, from where I don’t know, to review two books in the same post for purposes of contrast. One is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (1946; 10 million copies sold) and the other is Will, G. Gordon Liddy’s autobiography (1980; 1 million copies sold).  I read Frankl’s book while in college in the 70s. I read Will in  2002, in preparation for writing my own book, Waiting for Westmoreland. Continue reading Frankl versus Liddy; Dueling Book Reviews

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The Torture Report

Are you tired of hearing, viewing and reading about this yet? If you are, then you should skip this post. But let me try a multifaceted approach that may overcome your reluctance. There is legality and there is morality. There is politics and pragmatics. There is truth and there are lies. There are causes and there are consequences (effects). Finally, there is the opportunity for national self-reflection–if one can get beyond the self-protective rationalization. Continue reading The Torture Report