The Obama appointees still inhabiting the bowels of the State and Justice Departments orchestrated the coup that brought down General Michael Flynn who quit as National Security Advisor only four weeks into Trump’s term.
Waiting until their confirmations as secretary of state and defense, neither Tillerson nor Sessions have had the time to replace the Obama appointees. But, in the interregnum, the Obama operatives used the time to slit Flynn’s throat, Washington style.
Flynn, anxious to head off Russian retaliation against U.S. sanctions, spoke with Moscow’s Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak to assuage his concerns over the sanctions imposed in the wake of Russian intervention in Ukraine and Crimea. Because he did so before Trump took office — but after his own appointment — he ran afoul of established protocol.
The alert Obama-era wiretappers pounced, taping the conversation and leaking it to the media. Former Obama officials were quoted in the New York Times as saying that Flynn reassured the ambassador that Mr. Trump would adopt a more accommodating tone on Russia once in office. They said that Flynn urged Russia not to retaliate against any sanctions because an overreaction would make any future cooperation more complicated.” One Obama official said that “he appeared to leave the impression that it would be possible” to ease the U.S. sanctions under the new president.
Then the former Obama folks at the Justice Department chimed in, gratuitously warning the incoming president that there was a blackmail risk that Moscow might hold the fact of the conversation over Flynn’s head as he served in office.