Not Watergate, but possibly worse

Published 10:22 am Friday, February 17, 2017

Gen. Michael Flynn was asked to resign as White House national security adviser this week. This was not really bad news for America. Flynn had taken money from Russia Today, the Russian propaganda organization, for a speaking engagement, a potential violation of law currently under investigation. Flynn was the guy who spread rumors of sex crimes with children online, who claimed if Hillary Clinton was elected, Christianity would be prohibited under United Nations Agenda 21, who misrepresented his son’s national security clearances and who lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with the Russians regarding the sanctions placed on Russia by President Barack Obama last December.

In his representation of the United States before President Donald Trump was sworn in, Flynn likely committed a crime that is best named treason. Trump defenders have argued that Flynn, speaking to the Russian foreign minister, was just doing friendly chit chat about baseball, or perhaps apple pie. But Flynn’s conversations were recorded by U.S. intelligence and forced his resignation. Would Trump fire Flynn, who Trump calls “a great man,” for talking sports to a foreign minister? Hardly.

But would Flynn be fired for promising the Russians that the Trump administration would set aside the Obama sanctions once in office? Well, apparently only if that became public knowledge, because the Justice Department advised Trump that Flynn may be subject to blackmail for his Russian conversations, and Trump, for almost three weeks, did nothing. Only when a whistleblower within the intelligence community revealed Flynn’s treason did Trump act, firing Flynn and then stating that he was forced out by the media and leaks.

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So Flynn was not forced out for his treasonous acts? Perhaps not, if the president knew and authorized those acts.

Flynn’s resignation is not the end of questions the Trump administration must now answer. In order for Americans to trust this administration, and this president, the country must now know the classic questions of the president — what did he know and when did he know it?

This week, The New York Times wrote that there is phone evidence of contacts throughout the Trump campaign between Trump representatives and Russian intelligence agencies. This is what is commonly termed “a smoking gun,” suggesting the possibility of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to defeat Hillary Clinton and win the presidency for Trump.

Consider the seriousness of this revealing information. What other possible reasons could there be for long term contact between Russian intelligence and a U.S. presidential campaign, if not to work together to defeat Clinton?

We know the Russians, during the campaign, outdid the Watergate burglars, who broke into DNC headquarters for Richard Nixon. The Russians broke into the DNC and shared their discovery with the world. We know the Russians broke into Clinton’s campaign and published her campaign chairman’s confidential files to embarrass the campaign. There is additional evidence the Russians paid to circulate millions of “fake news” articles falsely attacking the Clinton campaign. And there is evidence the Russians sent money to the Trump campaign through the accounts of retired Russians living in the U.S.

We also know that candidate and President Trump is wholly unable to criticize either Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin. Given the Trump proclivity to attack anyone and everyone, this puzzling oddity could easily be explained…if Trump is either under obligation to Russia or is being blackmailed by the Russians. U.S. intelligence advised the president he may be subject to such blackmail.

This is not Watergate, for the real crimes of Watergate were the presidential cover-ups. Here, if the president cannot explain his actions and those of his campaign and administration, the issue is much larger.

The issue would be treason.

Mr. President, to regain the trust of the American people you need to explain the reports from the New York Times and explain your inability to criticize a dangerous dictator.

Or this will be far worse than Watergate.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.