On Monday night, General Michael Flynn formally stepped down from his position as National Security Advisor for the Trump administration. One Republican called for a further investigation, and should not be castigated.
Michael Flynn had been under fire for weeks from outlets like the Washington Post for speaking to Russia about sanctions before President Donald Trump was inaugurated and lying about it. He issued a letter of resignation and Trump accepted Monday. The reason given for the resignation was that Flynn had given “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence. Not knowing the extent of Flynn’s contact with Russia caused Pence to present ‘alternative facts’ to the media.
One Republican, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, has called for an ‘exhaustive’ investigation into ties between the Trump administration and Russia. Blunt, chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committe, has concerns about unanswered questions about Flynn’s post-election communications.
Whether this investigation will be separate from or included in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has yet to be revealed.
Blunt is right on this. Russian influence in the U.S. election should not be shrugged off as a mere boogeyman.
Top Republicans have claimed that if the Russian election meddling occurred, there is no proof that it affected the outcome of the election. This is absolutely true. Trump would likely have won with or without Russian hacking. What really cost Hillary Clinton was FBI Director Comey’s letter, which was released just before the election. However, whether the meddling worked or not is beside the point.
Many conservatives have also correctly pointed out that Democrats didn’t care when the FBI, Department of Labor, Department of Justice and virtually every federal agency was hacked by Wikileaks. They only voiced concern when the Democratic National Committee was hacked.
This is true, but it’s a non-sequitur. Regardless of the Democrats’ level of outrage or lack thereof over instances of hacking, any attempt by foreign entities to influence the U.S. election should be investigated.
Some on the Right also point out that President Barrack Obama hypocritically decried the Russian influence in the 2016 election while previously asking Russia for ‘flexibility’ during the 2012 election and attempting to oust Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel’s elections. This is also true, and also totally beside the point.
The question we need to be asking is not whether the hacking affected the outcome of the election. It’s not whether Obama or the Democrats are hypocrites. It’s whether or not Russia or any other entity hacked the DNC and released the DNC emails in order to influence the election.
And so far, according to 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, this is the case.
While some on the Left have posited that Russian President Vladimir Putin hacked voting machines or vote-counting machines, this has not proven to be the case. They have also alleged that the Trump camp was in Cahoots with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. This claim also has no proof to it. Russia didn’t hack the election or collide with the Trump campaign; Russia allegedly hacked the DNC in order to help Donald Trump.
It does Republicans no harm to admit this. After all, this implicates no one in the U.S. And there’s no proof it affected the election results.
Senator Blunt is right in calling for an investigation into Russian interference, especially with regard to General Flynn. Only if this investigation commences will we finally be able to put this thing to bed.