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February 13, 2017

Kellyanne Conway: Trump Has "Full Confidence" in Embattled NatSec Adviser Michael Flynn

Flynn has been on the hot seat since questions emerged about whether he was fully truthful when he denied talking about anything of substance -- including about the sanctions Obama had just imposed -- when speaking to a Russian minister in late December.

And questions have been raised about whether he lied to Vice President Pence (first time I ever wrote that; feels good!) when he told Pence that the issue of sanctions hadn't come up.

Now there seems to be a walk-back: Flynn says he can't remember if sanctions came up or not.

This is all kind of bullshitty, because this "Logan Act" is unenforceable and in fact never enforced. It's a silly law and impossible to define: How can a citizen "negotiate" with a foreign power about what the US will or won't do? Only an authorized agent of the US can do that. So the law forbids that which is logically impossible anyway.

I know I personally (along with many other conservatives) used to shout "Logan Act violation! Logan Act violation!" whenever Jesse Jackson went to Iraq, or Jimmy Carter went to wherever to talk about whatever.

At some point, I (and most others) realized how silly we sounded and stopped shrieking about an unconstitutional 1799 law.

But you can't stop someone from merely trying to chat up a foreigner. Without actual negotiating power of the US invested in them, no private citizen can "negotiate" with a foreign power. He could misrepresent himself as a duly-empowered diplomat, but that's a different thing.

And no one could possibly think Michael Flynn was a duly-empowered diplomat speaking for the current government, when it was fairly well known that Trump would not be president until January 20th.

All that said, it's not a good look for a presidential adviser to be lying to Vice President Pence (second time!), if that is what happened.

But for now, according to Conway, Trump is sticking by his guy.

That said, Flynn seems to be in bad odor with Trump. ("In bad odor" is a Britishism I picked up from somewhere and always wanted to use and since I'm getting to say "Vice President Pence" for the first time, I figured I'd try "in bad odor" too.)

Trump, who particularly hates when aides generate negative press, has expressed displeasure with Flynn to aides in recent days, said a source close to the President. Trump and his team are particularly bothered by the possibility that Flynn misrepresented his conversations to Pence, who could be put in a difficult position by Trump deciding to stand with the national security adviser.

Flynn spoke with Pence at least twice Friday, according to another White House official who declined to say whether the conversations were about the ongoing controversy. The episode over sanctions against Russia has opened a rift between Flynn and Pence, who exchanged a chilly handshake Friday before Trump's news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Flynn also apologized to Pence and a source says the two "smoothed things over."
Flynn did work with Trump over the weekend at Mar-a-lago, according to the official who declined to say with certainty whether the president and Flynn have addressed the ongoing issue.

"The knives are out," the official added, acknowledging that Flynn's future in the White House is hardly a sure thing. "There's a lot of unhappiness about this."

I saw some reports that some of Trump's team were hoping Flynn would simply resign.

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posted by Ace at 05:17 PM

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