Hey Government: Follow The Law. Investigate Flynn.
It’s been a crazy past couple of days over at the Donald Trump administration.
National Security Officer Michael Flynn resigned after he was found to have had inappropriate contacts regarding sanctions with the Russian officials during the transition from Obama to Trump. Flynn has also admitted that he “inadvertently briefed the Vice President-elect and others with incomplete information” regarding these contacts.
To top that off, the New York Times reported that high-level members of the Trump presidential campaign held conversations with Russian intelligence officials while the election was still ongoing.
Now, you might think that this kind of rhetoric would merit a full-scale investigation from the government. Allow Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, to kindly disabuse you of that notion.
During a radio interview yesterday, Paul said the following in response to the idea of investigating Flynn: “I don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing Obamacare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”
What on Earth?
If I’m reading what Senator Paul said correctly, it appears as though the rule of law is suspended for members of the Republican Party by virtue of the fact that it controls both houses of government, the presidency, and the vast majority of state houses.
Do kindly forgive me, but I had not previously heard this before. I had been under the impression that, contrary to Senator Paul’s statement, American politicians were required to obey the law just as much as the average citizen is.
I hate to break it to Senator Paul, but the United States is not a banana republic or a dictatorship without any democratic tradition to speak of. I don’t know about you, but I for one would kind of like to keep it that way.
At this point, I should acknowledge that Republicans on Capitol Hill do not universally share Senator Paul’s view. Additionally, Senator Paul does have a point when states that some investigations conducted by the American government probably could be considered wasteful and unnecessary.
Unfortunately, encouraging a hostile foreign power to undermine a presidential election and trying to cover it up does not fall into that category. That, instead, is treason.
I am fully aware that those on the right often treat claims of Russian interference in the presidential election as a way for silly little snowflake liberals to delegitimize Trump’s victory. I suppose that’s a fair view if you are of the conservative persuasion — until a high-ranking official in the administration has to resign his post for improper communications with the Russian government.
If such a resignation does happen, I for one would probably take the allegations of Russian involvement just a little bit more seriously.
Additionally, a failure to investigate Flynn’s Russian contacts is not something that would only affect the United States.
Next year, Germany, France, and The Netherlands will all be conducting elections for their highest nationwide offices. All three countries have expressed concerns that Russia could pull the same stunts in their elections that happened in the United States this past year.
I wonder what kind of signal the pliant response issued by Senator Paul sends to Vladimir Putin about what Russia can get away with in terms of unduly influencing elections in western countries. Moreover, what kind of message does this send to our allies about how we will assist them if such a matter should arise in their elections?
By the way: You know who agrees with me in saying that the kind of actions Michael Flynn engaged in are illegal and should merit legal sanctions? Michael Flynn — the very official who had to resign.
In a speech at the Republican convention, Flynn stated, “If I did a tenth of what [Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton] did, I’d be in jail.”
That statement was made in reference to charges that Clinton had used a private email server during her time as Secretary of State — something that, while not technically legal, also occurred in the George W. Bush administration. (In fact, the Bush email scandal is prominent enough as to merit its own Wikipedia page, but don’t tell a Republican that).
Using a private email server versus conspiring with a foreign government to influence an election? I’ll let the reader be the judge as to which is worse.
Yes, Michael Flynn, you did do a tenth of what Hillary Clinton did, and yes, you should be in jail. (Feel free to insert chants of, “Lock him up” right here). However, you will most likely not go to jail because your party happens to hold every important government post at the moment.
But hey, look on the bright side. Since you’ll be walking free, your party will be able to get on with other matters. In fact, you might want to call up a certain senator from Kentucky to discuss what the best way is to strip health insurance from millions of people (many of whom have preexisting conditions) .
Hey, that’s much more important than upholding our national integrity, right?