Friday, March 10, 2017

Scandals in Trumplandia - Flynn's BAAAAACCCCCCK!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I know I've been off the blog for a while for several reasons.  One, I've been writing for the print zine and have been focusing content there.  Also, between the holiday season and just trying to adjust to the times means that I've been focusing on other things.  However, with everything going on, some things have to fit here that can't fit in the constraints of the print issue so I'm back.

Our return to the blog focuses at retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who managed to make history with the shortest ever run as a Cabinet member when he was forced to resign as electoral vote winner Trump's national security advisor after only a few weeks when news emerged that he had lied to co electoral vote winner Mike Pence over whether he met with the Russian Ambassador on the campaign trail.  Flynn's revelation managed to keep the focus on possible ties between the Trump administration and Russia as news emerged with several other members of the administration (including Trump's son in law Jared Kushner and now Atty. General Jefferson Sessions) had met with Russia.  While this has managed to dog the Trump administration and shows few signs of going away (their attempts at covering up definitely don't help - as Sessions' near admission during his confirmation hearings would come to bite him in the ass), one thought that Flynn would fade away and become a footnote in the sphere of things.  That would be business as usual and be quite understandable.

However, since we don't live in times that are business as usual it should have been inevitable that Flynn would somehow re-emerge in the scandal sphere surrounding those working with our new electoral vote winner.  Sure enough he has when he retroactively registered as a foreign agent

It turns out that Flynn had earned over $530,000.00 lobbying on behalf of a company that had ties with the Turkish government.   While that alone may raise a few eyebrows, it gets worse when one learns he did this lobbying from August to October 2016, while he was acting as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.  While this alone could be a political flashpoint (especially if Flynn didn't leave his position), when added to the controversy over who met with Russia and whether the electoral vote winner knew about said meetings there leaves an area of murkiness that should shock people.

Which leaves us to a couple of major questions:  Did the Trump administration know Flynn was lobbying in this manner?  If so, did they care?  While White House press secretary Spicer says he doesn't think it was known, it might not be that simple.  As news dips out in regards to this, it appears the Flynn may have met government officials in his lobbying efforts.  In addition, a White House official says Flynn's personal lawyer contacted them before the inauguration about possibly having to file as a foreign agent

While Flynn is out of the administration this revelation leaves a bigger issue in the air.  Did electoral vote winner Trump and co electoral vote winner Pence know they had a possible foreign agent as a national security advisor?  Also, did Flynn's work with Turkey play a role in keeping said nation off of the travel ban (besides Trump's own holdings in Turkey)?  The fact that these questions are being asked at all leaves some obvious ethical questions lingering around us.

For now, the questions will remain unanswered as the Trump administration probably hopes that a new scandal will sweep this under the rug.  However, they also hoped new scandals and tweets would distract from any possible allegations of ties with Russia so that should be taken with a pillar of salt.  What is apparent is that the electoral vote winner somehow hired a national security advisor who lobbied a foreign government while as a surrogate for his campaign.  At that point, whether the administration knew or not is a major issue.

Until these issues are addressed and answered, these ethical minefields will be stomped on by the current administration.  While Flynn's latest revelation does take things by surprise, the fact he was lobbying for a company with ties to the Turkish government while acting as a campaign surrogate does leave some potential explosions that may backfire on the government if it is ignored, and reveals why an independent investigation may not just be a good idea but a necessity to get to the bottom of this whole damn mess. 

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