In Like Flynn

Are we supposed to greet news of Gen. Michael Flynn’s flip with rapture? And a flip it is,

as WTFJHP succinctly summarized:

Flynn promised “full cooperation” with Mueller’s investigation and is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has a sterling reputation, and he’s no stranger to organized crime cases (See how he flipped Sammy “The Bull” Gravano over at Hive). There are those who met the latest twist in the Russiagate saga with relief. Soon it will all be over. I think not.

It’s not not Mueller’s skills I question, it’s the assumption that Trump can be taken down through cut and dry legal means. This would only work in a fantasy United States where democratic norms are still adhered to.

Since he inflicted L’affaire Comey on himself, the president has entertained firing Mueller, pressured members of his own party to cut Congressional investigations into his campaign’s collusion with Russia, and floated the potential pardon of guilty parties, perhaps even himself. His political understanding goes as far as yearning for pure authoritarianism. He has the power to stoke the lizard brains of his (fascism-craving, white rage-filled) followers into a frenzy. Does that sound like the kind of politician who plans to go quietly?

(Year Zero/Day Three Hundred and Sixteen)

Ten Fun Facts: Michael Flynn Edition

You’ve heard tell of shady connections to a certain Russian-speaking global superpower and the embarrassing circumstances which led to his departure. But how much do you really know about former NSA adviser General Michael Flynn?

1. Michael

2. Flynn

3. Is

4. So guilty

5. The Pentagon

6. Has been

7. Forced to investigate

8. Him to cover

9. Their own asses.

10. Also, everything is Obama’s fault.

(Year Zero/Day Ninety-Nine)

One Less Steve On The NSC

Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is off the National Security Council. That, at least, appears to be verifiable. The NSC published a new memorandum with the Federal Register detailing the council’s composition; Bannon is no longer listed as a member of the Principals Committee.

The “why?” is less clear, although there are a few theories that might pan out:

• Bannon “ensure[d] implementation of the president’s vision, including efforts to downsize and streamline operations.” Having done so, he moves on to his next task, which presumably involves restocking Trump’s pantry with Doritos. It doesn’t have the conspiratorial flair of so much of the discourse about the administration these days, but maybe there’s nothing more to the move than a mission accomplished.

• Or a purge accomplished. The NSC may be in a much more compliant state than it was in late January.

• Bannon was “keeping an eye on” Michael Flynn. Before he resigned in disgrace in mid-February, Flynn was in charge of the NSC. Given the unreliability of the man, perhaps the president wanted a close watch kept on the General. Internal spying is the new black in this administration.

• Bannon was installed to the Principals Committee to provide counterbalance to Flynn. Wacky Mike was proving to be a liability behind the scenes, and Trump wanted someone he trusted there to slow him down.

Russia. Russia Russia Russia, Russia Russia, Russia Russia Russia Russia. Russia? Russia.

• According to reporting by Ben Smith, Bannon and Flynn’s replacement H.R. McMaster have been butting heads for weeks. Depending on the severity of their conflicts, Bannon’s removal could be the political equivalent of a time out.

It may be some time before we know the truth of the situation. But now that Bannon no longer has to carve time out of his days to attend National Security Council meetings, he’ll finally be able to focus on his passions. Passions like figuring out how to legalize the expulsion of everyone he doesn’t like from the country.

(Year Zero/Day Seventy-Six)

Beyond The Infernal Light

The West Wing also uses the chaos as a tactical weapon, believing that the flurry of early-morning presidential tweets, controversial statements during the afternoon briefing and surprise executive actions work to keep their adversaries, the media and others off balance.

If chaos is a weapon, the first twenty-six days of the new administration have been equivalent to a nuclear strike. From outside the blast zone, we all saw the detonation. The light was so bright nothing else was permitted to penetrate our field of vision. But as the inferno dims we begin to remember our surroundings.

Such is the case with General Michael Flynn’s inglorious exit from the National Security Apparatus. It’s less interesting for suggesting widening fissures in the Trump administration than for how it refocuses our attention on the shocking breadth and depth of Trump & Co.’s entanglement with Russia.

What’s more, it suggests portions of the much-maligned Trump-Russia Dossier may be true. It occurred to our shadowy cabal that if some of its claims are verifiable, the whole damn document might be gospel truth. Five minutes of Photoshop magic later and we had…

I know. It seems our cabal is comprised of 12-year-olds.

(Year Zero/Day Twenty-Six)