General Mike Flynn, President Trump's national security advisor, resigned last night amid a flurry of confusion about his conversations with the Russian ambassador - and “The Resistance” is convinced that they are on the verge of uncovering the next Watergate.
But there's a far more plausible scenario: Mike Flynn royally messed up, then anti-Trump officials within the intelligence community made sure it cost him his job.
Yes, Mike Flynn made an unprofessional and unethical mistake by not being honest to other Trump officials about his conversation with the Russians. The conversation itself was not entirely controversial - transition officials talking to their foreign counterparts about policy is something they should, in theory, be doing. (It's not illegal and also not unprecedented.)
But as Eli Lake from Bloomberg points out, intelligence officials with anti-Trump axes to grind were likely the ones who selectively leaked the pertinent information in the first place:
But that's all these allegations are at this point: unanswered questions. It's possible that Flynn has more ties to Russia that he had kept from the public and his colleagues.
It's also possible that a group of national security bureaucrats and former Obama officials are selectively leaking highly sensitive law enforcement information to undermine the elected government....Flynn was working to reform the intelligence-industrial complex, something that threatened the bureaucratic prerogatives of his rivals.
A troubling report from the Free Beacon, following a similar paper trail, spelled out what's going on here in bold terms:
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...
In other words, Mike Flynn crossed the line. Then the anti-Trump intelligence establishment ran a full-court offense to make sure it cost him his job and embarrass the administration in the process, stoking the Democrats' dark and feverish fantasies of Russian influence over the president.
This isn't new. Even before Trump took office, it had been clear that the intelligence community - or at least parts of it - had declared war on the incoming president. They've shown that they're not above leaking classified information if there's political gain to be made from it.
But as Colonel Rob Maness wrote at Independent Journal Review this morning, leaking classified info for political purposes is disturbing and dangerous. Congressional Republicans are already calling for an investigation into the leaks.
The way I see it, there are two directions this story can evolve from here. The first is what the Democrats are desperately hoping for: an investigation into the entire Trump administration's ties to Russia (which, by the way, the FBI is already quietly doing) to publicly drag down the White House in its infancy.
The second is what the Republicans, who thankfully hold the majority in Congress, are pursuing: an investigation into an entrenched, angry, and powerful bureaucracy of former Obama power-brokers and career government workers who are resisting change by abusing their knowledge and influence.
Mike Flynn made a mistake and he was punished for it. These leakers should be next.