Michael Flynn’s deceptions present bigger problem than violation of the Logan Act

David Ignatius writes: Michael Flynn’s real problem isn’t the Logan Act, an obscure and probably unenforceable 1799 statute that bars private meddling in foreign policy disputes. It’s whether President Trump’s national security adviser sought to hide from his colleagues and the nation a pre-inauguration discussion with the Russian government about sanctions that the Obama administration was imposing.

“It’s far less significant if he violated the Logan Act and far more significant if he willfully misled this country,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a telephone interview late Friday. “Why would he conceal the nature of the call unless he was conscious of wrongdoing?”

Schiff said the FBI and congressional intelligence committees should investigate whether Flynn discussed with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December the imminent imposition of sanctions, and whether he encrypted any of those communications in what might have been an effort to avoid monitoring. Schiff said that if some conversations were recorded by U.S. intelligence agencies, “we should be able to rapidly tell if Gen. Flynn was being truthful” when he told Vice President Pence and other colleagues that sanctions weren’t discussed. [Continue reading…]

Flynn’s ongoing obfuscation around the content of his conversations would appear to be a delaying tactic driven by the fact that he doesn’t know how much more detail in his exchanges might soon be leaked.

It’s also, no doubt, a product of the reliable expectation that in a political climate flooded with too many controversies for the media to closely track, the Flynn story is likely to get overshadowed by yet another drama.

The 24/7 Trump soap opera is effective in both sickening and exhausting an audience that will soon transition from interminable distraction to mass catatonia.

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1 thought on “Michael Flynn’s deceptions present bigger problem than violation of the Logan Act

  1. hquain

    The projected, painfully well-diagnosed “transition from interminable distraction to mass catatonia” will allow the Trump executive team to establish rule-by-decree as simply the way things are done. It’s mildly surprising that the complaisant Weimar Republicans haven’t tried to fight back, since their authority is next on the target list. That mess of potage isn’t going to taste very good when it’s gone.

    The asymmetry in resources required for tweet-and-decree as opposed to mobilize-to-resist is staggering. Miller & Bannon can spend a couple of hours at the keyboard, give Trump a poke, call in the WH photographer, and then on to the next. Resistance requires cooperation and coordination between many thousands or hundreds of thousands of people, vast sums (in aggregate), moves (relatively) ponderously especially when the courts are involved, has limited effects or can be circumvented by another flurry, and then is forgotten. There is a material basis for your projection, which suggests that it’s going to be very hard to escape its consequences.

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