By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media
The media think they’ve found their Watergate, and it only took them three weeks to get there. The truth may be something altogether different. With retired General Mike Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, and former National Security Advisor under President Donald Trump, now gone from the administration, many questions remain. The media have seized on, “What did Trump know and when did he know it?” It has a nice Watergate ring to it. Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal doesn’t think that we’re quite to that point.
But because the media have maxed out their outrage meter on everything from Dr. Ben Carson’s qualifications to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to the size of the inauguration day crowd, to Kellyanne Conway’s careless but lighthearted remark about plugging Ivanka Trump’s line of merchandise, the questions on the Flynn matter could potentially disappear in the same blizzard of daily outrage. Or, these questions could grow like a cancer on the Trump presidency, in the midst of congressional hearings and a media obsessed with bringing Trump down.
After all, the media spent eight years pretending the Obama administration was scandal free, that Obama never lied to them, that he always acted in a Constitutional manner. We have documented many of his scandals, and the fact that the Supreme Court unanimously overruled his Justice Department a record 44 times. Overall, Obama had the worst record by far of any president of the last half century when it comes to the number of cases lost at the Supreme Court level. Yet when the Trump administration loses one appeal at the Circuit Court level, it is treated as proof that Trump is shredding the Constitution.
The media also acted as though Hillary Clinton’s actions did not rise to the level of scandal, including her use of an unsecured server to traffic in classified material for four years as secretary of state; her pay for play financial dealings benefiting her family fortune, often, ironically enough, benefiting Russia; and of course Benghazi.
The unproven offense by the Trump administration is that Flynn may have told the Russians to hold off on reacting to Obama’s new sanctions imposed on them in his final month in office, as well as the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. This appears to have been a highly politicized move to bolster the case of his political appointees in the intelligence community (IC) that that Russians hacked the U.S. presidential election with the goal of tipping the scales for Trump, although their report proved nothing of the sort. Obama even claimed that he was aware of this Russian hacking at least a month before the election, but kept his mouth shut because he didn’t want to appear to be trying to overtly help Hillary get elected.
Writing for National Review, Andrew McCarthy has done an outstanding job examining the possible scenarios involving Flynn, and urging Trump to release the tape of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. It will eventually come out anyway. In a parting interview shortly before his resignation, Flynn insisted that he crossed no legal lines in his conversations, and urged an investigation into the leaks about him, which he called a “criminal act.”
As to the possible Logan Act violation, i.e., negotiating foreign policy with a foreign power by a private citizen not authorized by the current government, we frankly don’t know at this point. No one has ever been prosecuted under that 1798 law. But what about Obama’s overture to Iran in 2008, in which he sent Ambassador William Miller to tell the Ayatollahs not to make a deal with President George W. Bush, but to wait for his presidency, when Iran would be able to get a better deal? Where was the outrage—and the investigation—when that became known?
And what about the January 23 story in The Washington Post, pointing out that the FBI had picked up Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador? “The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn—national security adviser to then-President-elect Trump—but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said.” Was the FBI lying back then, still investigating, or what?
And despite a provocative title of The New York Times’ much talked about article this week, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence,” the article states that the intelligence agencies “sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election,” but according to the officials they spoke with, “so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”
Michelle Malkin reminds us of several Obama appointees who were forced to withdraw before moving into their appointed positions for a variety of improprieties.
I began writing about politics in 1968, covering the Democratic convention in Chicago and the demonstrations inside and outside the hall for a weekly Jewish newspaper in Texas. I spent the summer of 1972 in Miami Beach, covering both the Democrat and Republican conventions, as well as the demonstrations in the streets that extended throughout the summer. Is this déjà vu all over again?
Nixon, like Trump, was hated by the news media and the left in general. While the left had been actively protesting against Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey over Vietnam, it was nothing compared to how it was amped up after the ’68 election. In 1972, the Democrats nominated George McGovern, a liberal, anti-Vietnam War candidate, who nonetheless had been a distinguished World War II fighter pilot, and unlike Hillary Clinton, had been free of corruption and scandal. Nixon won 301 electoral votes in 1968 to defeat Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace, a Democrat turned independent who won five Southern states. Nixon, in 1972, won the Electoral College vote by a margin of 520 to 17, with McGovern winning only Massachusetts and Washington D.C.
This is Trump’s fourth week in office. If you look at the Tweets of Michael Moore, and comments from other members of the radical left, they smell blood and think this could already be the moment to try to impeach Trump. Dan Rather, the disgraced former CBS News anchor, is comparing this moment to Watergate. The New York Times’ Tom Friedman is comparing Trump’s election to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The left may get one chance at impeaching Trump, but if they don’t succeed, he will be stronger, and most likely continue on for another 412 weeks. The Republicans have such a favorable lay of the land for 2018—there are 25 Democratic senators up for re-election and only eight Republicans—that if Trump gains his footing, and gets past all of these rookie mistakes, and isn’t dragged down by some genuine scandal, the GOP could end up with a filibuster-proof Senate, and head into 2020 with a great chance for a landslide re-election.
The left is once again overplaying their hand. They can’t help themselves. Michael Wolff seemed to agree in the pages of Newsweek: “The media believes that it speaks for Hillary Clinton’s national ballot box majority, for the millions who have now marched against Trump, for the demographically expanding left wing (although not in the right-wing states) and, as well, for obvious common sense. And the media believes that everybody believes what it believes. How could they not? It’s Donald Trump!”
Obama and his operatives are reportedly pulling the strings, attempting to overwhelm the system and shut down the Trump presidency. This is unprecedented by a former president against a sitting president, and should be another area of investigation. The same political forces that swept Trump to victory in 2016 will likely come out again—perhaps in greater numbers—in spite of the riots and protests in the streets, the outrage from most of the news media, and from the likes of Madonna, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Bruce Springsteen, Chelsea Handler and the Obamas. Not only is Trump in good position to win re-election, but next time it could be a real electoral landslide.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at email@example.com. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.