In the wake of news that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has confessed to lying to the FBI and admitted that Donald Trump personally instructed him to illegally coordinate campaign efforts with Russian operatives, the White House is relying on a familiar and absurd trope to distance itself from the explosive scandal.
They’re blaming President Obama. Because of course they are.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb released a statement referring to Flynn as being “at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama Administration official.”
There are a couple of big problems with those statements.
Yes, Flynn was fired from the White House after becoming so transparently toxic that Trump could no longer justify his high level appointment or security clearance. He was also a top Trump campaign surrogate, one who had earned the Republican candidate’s trust through blind loyalty and leading chants of “lock her up” at rallies.
Flynn was the ultimate Trump insider for much of 2016, so much so that the new Administration ignored explicit warnings from Obama and his staff that Flynn, whom Obama fired, was compromised and could not be trusted with national secrets.
Which brings us to problem two. Here’s the tweet from former White House staffer and current Pod Save America host Tommy Vietor:
No, Flynn is not an Obama problem. He is at the center of a uniquely Trumpian scandal. President Obama saw Flynn for what he was and took appropriate action. He then made certain that his successor saw Flynn as he was too.
And Trump was drawn to him. Maybe it was something in his personality; maybe it was because corrupt criminals need to stick together. We’ll find out in the trials ahead.