- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Democrats and the mainstream media are going to try to pick apart President Trump’s team, one by one, until they eventually get to their ultimate prize: Mr. Trump himself.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was the first casualty — or rather, their first scalp.

Mr. Trump caved to the political pressure to dismiss Mr. Flynn after a transcript of a call he had with Russia’s ambassador was leaked by anonymous government officials. The transcript supposedly revealed Mr. Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the details of the call. When the intercept surfaced, Mr. Pence felt betrayed and trust was lost.

But as Bloomberg’s Eli Lake pointed out, the entire incident is as clear as mud, with the most likely outcome that Mr. Flynn was thrown under the bus by the administration.

“His tenure as national security adviser, the briefest in U.S. history, was rocky from the start,” Mr. Lake wrote. “When Flynn was attacked in the media for his ties to Russia, he was not allowed by the White House to defend himself. Over the weekend, he was instructed not to speak to the press when he was in the fight for his political life. His staff was not even allowed to review the transcripts of his call to the Russian ambassador.”

Mr. Lake also pointed out how highly unusual it is for the intelligence community to leak transcripts of calls they have secretly spied on — that these government intercepts are among the most tightly held government secrets because “selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity.”

That’s some scary stuff — and exactly what happened in Mr. Flynn’s case.
Intelligence officials leaked the intercept only after Mr. Flynn made it known he wanted to restructure the intelligence community, with rumors being his top target was DNI. This restructuring would’ve inevitably led to the shakeup and perhaps dismissal of many career intelligence officials.

But there’s more. And it’s even uglier.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Obama holdovers have plotted to undermine Mr. Trump’s national security plans before he even stepped foot in the White House.

“The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran,” the Beacon reported.

Who did these plotters include? None other than Ben Rhodes, the architect of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy plans, including the Iran deal, the Beacon reported.

This is some sinister crap.

And it’s not limited to Mr. Flynn. Democrats and the media aren’t going to ease up because of his resignation. They’re only getting started.

They’ve already called for Congressional investigations into Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia. And now they’re going after Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser.

On Tuesday, the Office of Government Ethics recommended the White House probe and possibly discipline Ms. Conway because of a chatty interview she did with “Fox & Friends,” where she touted Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories after they were dropped by Nordstrom.

All of this is trivial nonsense — Ms. Conway was clearly defending her boss’s daughter in a glib fashion where she never intended for violate ethics rules.

But the Democrats are out for blood.

Next on the chopping block? Steve Bannon. He’s already had his name splashed in the press as a white supremacist (complete nonsense), and is now being portrayed by Time Magazine and others as the mastermind behind Trump’s presidency — the person who is really pulling the strings in the White House.

Many pundits have speculated because Mr. Trump is so thin-skinned and narcissistic, this sort of article would bother him, leading to Mr. Bannon’s demise.

Who’s left? Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Policy adviser Stephen Miller. Press Secretary Sean Spicer. And they’ve all received their fair share of negative press coverage within the last few days.

With Mr. Flynn’s firing, it’s now open season in the White House. Mr. Trump has given the Democrats their first taste of victory, and they’re hungry for more.

They’ll only be satisfied after his impeachment.

He needs to stand by his team, not cave to bad PR, and get to work on behalf of the American people.

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