Perhaps it is because I have spent so much of my life studying national security advisors, but I can’t minimize my contempt for Mike Flynn nor my outrage at his behavior–regardless of his cooperation with Mueller.
This is a man who had spent his life in military service and was well-indoctrinated in the ideas of loyalty and service to the country…which he cast aside when it suited him, for a buck or out of bitterness at what he perceived as his unfair treatment by Barack Obama.
He undercut norms of decency in calling for a political opponent like Hillary Clinton to be locked up. But he went further, cozying up to Putin, going on Erdogan’s payroll, seeking to undercut the actions of the sitting president during the transition, and lying to law enforcement.
Of course, he did not lie simply to be difficult. He believed he had to cover up what he did with Russia, with Turkey, serving them ahead of his service to the American people, because he knew it was wrong.
Above and beyond that, he supported terrible, racist policies and backed a man that was not only grossly inadequate to the job but…as Flynn must have known…was himself deeply compromised by his ties to Russia and Russians as were those around him.
Of course, his knowledge of that is what has made him valuable to Mueller. And we also must trust that Mueller has seen merit in giving Flynn a pass on jail time because he felt there were more important crimes committed by more important people on Team Trump.
But whatever Mueller’s rationale, we should not minimize the egregiousness of Flynn’s behavior, his crimes against a system he had sworn his life to defend, the degree to which he debased one of the highest offices in the land & violated the public trust associated with that office.
There is no question that Flynn has been, to date, the worst National Security Advisor in American history (and others have had their problems with the law…see the Reagan era). There is still plenty of time for John Bolton to surpass him…and if anyone can do it, Bolton can.
But beyond that he has been a disgrace and I trust that more than the handful of people who study the history of the NSC or the White House will recognize just how great a disgrace. He was at the center of one of the darkest moments in the history of the American presidency.
We should not forget that regardless of the terms of the deal he has struck with the Robert Mueller.