James Howard Kunstler, December 4, 2017: “Contact with Russians.” Grown men and women, doubling and re-doubling down on a political fantasy, repeat this prayer hour after hour on the cable channels and Web waves as if trying to exorcise a nation possessed by the unholy hosts of Hell. But such vicars of the news as Wolf Blitzer, Rachel Maddow, Chuck Todd, and Dean Baquet (of The New York Times) only shove the country closer to a cliff of constitutional crisis.
To a certain class of people — a class that includes a lot of Intellectuals-Yet-Idiots, as Nassim Taleb has dubbed them — President Donald Trump is a figure of supernatural malignity who must be ousted at all costs. I did not vote for Donald Trump and I do not admire him; but I rather resent the dishonesty that is being marshaled against him, especially the mis-use of judicial procedure and the mendacious propagandizing of the nation in service to that end.
This is what it comes down to: General Mike Flynn, designated National Security Advisor, conferred with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak after the 2016 election about two pressing matters: a vote in the UN orchestrated against Israel, and sanctions imposed against Russia by outgoing President Obama on December 28, two weeks before the inauguration. Both these matters could be viewed as bits of mischief designed deliberately to create foreign policy problems for the incoming administration.
Flynn’s discussions with Ambassador Kislyak amounted to what are called “back channel talks.” These informal, probing communications occur all the time and everywhere in American foreign policy, especially the transitional months every four or eight years when a new president comes in. They are necessarily secret because they concern issues of high sensitivity. Every incoming presidential staff in my lifetime (going back to Dwight Eisenhower) has conducted back-channel talks with foreign diplomats in order to directly assess where things stand, minus public posturing and bloviating.
And so that is what Mike Flynn did, as incoming National Security Advisor, after an eight-year run of worsening relations with Russia under Obama that Trump publicly pledged to improve. And now he’s been charged with lying to the FBI about it. Which raises some enormous and troubling questions well beyond the simple charge, questions that suggest a US government at war against itself.
For instance, why exactly might Mike Flynn lie about his discussions with Kislyak? That ought to be self-evident as per what I said above: back channel talks are necessarily secret. But why not let Vice-president Pence or the FBI in on it? As for Pence, not all government officials are in-the-loop for back channel talks for the excellent reason that the fewer people involved the less chance of the talks becoming un-secret.
And the FBI? Why, in December of 2016, might Trump and his aides consider the FBI to be an unreliable agency? Because they knew that officials in the FBI under Director James Comey had politicized the agency in favor of his opponent in the election; that the agency had misbehaved in the Clinton e-mail investigation, the meeting at the Phoenix airport between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and the Christopher Steele Russian intel file affair. We don’t know whether, at that point, Trump and his staff knew about the FBI’s conduct in the Uranium One deal. But there was plenty of evidence that the permanent bureaucracy of Washington wanted to use a politicized FBI against Trump in any way that it could to get rid of him.
And over the weekend, news comes out that Peter Strzok, the top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of collusion between Russia and Trump officials, had been removed from the probe after exchanging anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, who was an FBI lawyer working for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. This information was concealed from the congressional oversight committee that had formally subpoenaed emails from the FBI all year long, only to be stonewalled by the agency. So, now the committee is threatening contempt citations against the current FBI Director, Christopher Fry and Rod Rosenstein, his deputy.
Why should President Trump not fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller now? Mueller was James Comey’s mentor at the FBI when Mueller was director. Is there not a train of association and dishonesty that implicates criminal activity by the FBI itself. And if and when Trump does this, and pardons Mike Flynn for the non-crime of back channel negotiation, should a new special prosecutor be appointed by the Attorney General to investigate the activities of the FBI through 2016 and 2017? And after all that, will the Deep State find some other way to go apeshit?
Keep your hats on for this.