The sudden departure of Michael Flynn as President Trump's National Security Advisor on Monday night left the administration scrambling to explain away not just his ties to Russia but why Trump kept Flynn's dishonesty from the American people. According to reports, former Attorney General Sally Yates informed the Trump team about Flynn's communications with the Kremlin (which he'd allegedly lied to Mike Pence about) and his compromised position before she was fired. Instead of heeding Yates' warning that Russia may have material they could use to blackmail Flynn, Trump's team swept it under the rug and now that is coming back to bite them in the ass.
On Tuesday morning, the administration sent Kellyanne Conway to the morning shows in the hopes that she could talk their way out of this situation, but instead she made it worse. During an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show, Conway was asked about her comments the day before contradicting Press Secretary Sean Spicer's comments. She's said that Flynn had the "president's full confidence" while Spicer claimed the president was "evaluating the situation." Lauer asked Conway if she was kept out of the loop and she responded:
"No, not at all, both were true. The president is very loyal, he's a very loyal person and by night's end Mike [inaudible] it was best to resign he knew he'd become a lightning rod and he made that decision."
It was a beautiful set-up, Lauer had her right where he wanted her. When Conway responded to the question by saying that is was Flynn's decision to leave because Trump was too "loyal" to ask him, that implies the administration didn't care that he lied--and that is exactly where Lauer went next. He asked,"So had he not resigned the president would continue with him as national security advisor even though he misled the vice president and the administration about the contents of that call?"
Realizing she'd fucked up, Conway bumbled through a response about speaking for the president and Flynn being "unsustainable" because he lied to Pence. That's when Lauer went in for the kill.
Lauer: "Wait a second, you're saying that was the straw that broke the camel's back but the White House knew about that last month when the Justice Department warned the White House that Mr. Flynn or General Flynn had not been completely honest in characterizing that conversation with the Russian ambassador and they even went further to say that as a result of that dishonesty he was at risk for blackmailing by the Russians.
Conway: "Well, that's one characterization. But the fact is General Flynn continued in that position and was in the presidential daily briefings, was part of the leader calls as recently as yesterday, was there for the prime minister's visit from Canada yesterday and as time wore on obviously the situation had become unsustainable..."
Lauer: "Kellyanne, that makes no sense. Last month the Justice Department warned the White House that General Flynn misled them! And that as a result he was vulnerable to blackmail and at that moment he still had the complete trust of the president?”
At this point it was game over. Conway knew there was no way she could possibly explain why the president had allowed a man who lied about something so serious to keep his job. There was no excuse for it and she could only tell Lauer that the president had finally accepted his resignation and was "moving on."
Trump ran on the premise that he would be better for national security than Hillary Clinton because emails and now he is proving to be a disaster. Not only did his national security advisor lie to his administration, but he undermined the previous president of the United States in a sensitive national security matter. Add that to the fact that Trump read classified information in a room full of people and allowed a member of his club to take a photo with the military member who carries the nuclear football and it's starting to look like Trump doesn't give a shit about our security.
Frankly, we knew this all along, but the blatant disregard for it is breathtaking. If Congress doesn't step in and do something about it, this country is going to suffer irreparable harm.