It is a sad sign about the current Age of Trump that it has fallen on the shoulders of a former Saturday Night Live actor to be the voice of reason and to sleuth out exactly what is going on in the biggest scandal to hit Washington in decades.
Democratic Senator Al Franken of “Stuart Smalley” fame played a pivotal role in the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, and pieced together what happened behind the scenes that allowed Russian employee Michael Flynn to keep his job as National Security Advisor long after his double-dealing was outed within Trump’s White House.
Said Franken, “Flynn received $37,000 for sitting next to Putin at the tenth anniversary of Russia Today. All this seems very odd to me and raised a lot of questions.” He later continued, “There are policies that deal with who gets clearance, security clearance and not. Executive Order 12986 outlines the rules for security clearances, and it says that when there’s a credible allegation that raises concern about someone’s fitness to access classified information, that person’s clearance should be suspended pending investigation. The executive order also states the clearance holders must always demonstrate, quote, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion and sound judgement, as well as freedom from allegiances and potential for coercion. And yet the White House counsel did not understand why the Department of Justice was concerned?”
Franken added, “The president was told about this in late January, according to the press secretary, so now he’s got a guy who has been … clearly compromised. He’s lied to the vice president, and [Donald Trump] keeps him on, and he lets him be in all these classified meetings. Is it possible that the reason that he didn’t fire him then was that, well, if I fire him for talking to the Russians about sanctions, what about all the other people on my team who coordinated? I mean, isn’t it possible that the reason—because you ask yourselves, why wouldn’t you fire a guy who did this? And all I can think of is that he would say, well, we’ve got all these other people in the administration who have had contacts. We have all these other people in the administration who coordinated, who were talking. We’re trying to put a puzzle together here, everybody. And maybe, just maybe, he didn’t get rid of a guy who lied to the vice president, who got paid by the Russians, who went on Russia Today because there are other people in his administration who met secretly with the Russians and didn’t reveal it until later—until they were caught. That may be why it took him 18 days—until it came public—to get rid of Mike Flynn, who was a danger to this republic.” Do you think Franken is right? Watch his full speech below: