Editorial: The real Flynn danger
The Trump administration dodged a bullet with its early firing of Michael Flynn as national security adviser. And instead of playing his usual game of deflect and deceive, it's time the president, who seems incapable of admitting error, does just that.
In advance of yesterday's congressional testimony by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, President Trump tweeted, "General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration . . . "
Yes, it's true that Flynn had his security clearance renewed in April of 2016. Of course, he had also been fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.
And what we know now - but apparently the president chooses to be in denial of - is that then-President Obama warned Trump at their first post-election meeting last November against hiring Flynn. Trump ignored the advice.
Then on Jan. 26 Yates briefed White House counsel Don McGahn on discrepancies between what the White House publicly said happened on calls that Flynn had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and what was actually discussed - the serious matter of U.S. sanctions on Russia (on the same day, Dec. 29, the sanctions were issued).
"Russia knew Gen. Flynn had misled the vice president and others," Yates testified yesterday. That the Russians also had proof of the lie "created a situation where the national security adviser could be blackmailed" by the Russians.
He was, in a word, "compromised," Yates said, "and every time this lie was repeated ... it increased the compromise."
Doesn't get much clearer than that. That it took another 18 days - and public disclosure in The Washington Post of Flynn's lie - for the White House to fire him now seems extraordinary in hindsight.
Yates, who was fired by Trump Jan. 29 for refusing to defend Trump's Muslim ban, deserves a medal for putting country above party and telling hard truths to those who clearly didn't want to hear them.