When Michael Flynn was fired, a chain reaction started that could not be stopped: When Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 Presidential Election to the upstart Donald J. Trump, she concocted an insane conspiracy theory to justify her loss and to generate momentum for a defeated and broken Democratic Party (which she and President Barack Obama had broken). She accused Donald Trump of being a Russian agent of influence, based solely on the whimsical claims of noted fabulist, former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
This is not merely partisan rhetoric on my part. After two, yearslong investigations into claims of Trump-Russia collusion, the federal government concluded that no such ties existed.
First, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed as a special counsel to investigate these claims after President Trump fired the then-FBI Director James Comey. The Democrats piled on and empowered Mueller to leave no stone unturned. By the end of Mueller’s two-year investigation, he could not find evidence of any connection between Trump and Russia.
Second, Department of Justice attorney, John Durham, was appointed by President Trump to investigate the legitimacy of the original Trump-Russia collusion accusations.
What Durham determined, after four years of investigation, was that not only was there no connections between Trump and Russian intelligence, but the FBI had no legal basis for initiating the original investigation into Trump-Russia collusion charges that they engaged in.
All this, though, could have been avoided had Trump protected his White House national security adviser, Mike Flynn, rather than throw the former US Army general out of his job, a mere two weeks after the start of the Trump Administration.
With Flynn out of the way, as I wrote at the time of his departure from the Trump White House, “Now the Left has a scalp just a few weeks into the rocky new administration. They’ll want more—and soon.”
The Democrats eventually bored their way through most of Trump’s first-term top picks and ensured they were replaced by “Never Trump” types or by incompetent, D-List CPAC rejects.
Former intelligence analyst, John Schindler, wrote in The Observer at the time that Flynn was, “Widely disliked in Washington for his brash personality and preference for conspiracy-theorizing over intelligence facts.”
It’s true. Flynn was widely disliked within the swamp that is the Washington national security bureaucracy. This was one reason for why Trump picked Flynn as his national security adviser.
The real reason the Left celebrated Flynn’s departure (and why the Administrative State coalesced to push him out that job since his first day working in the White House), was because Flynn was the only serious member of the Trump national security team who could have kept back the vicious partisan attack dogs that Obama and the Democrats had unleashed on Trump in the waning days of the Obama Administration.
Flynn had spent his career as a key member of the US intelligence community (IC), ascending to its highest ranks. Until 2014, Flynn was known not only as a lifelong Democrat but as “Obama’s General.” His turn toward Trump during the 2016 campaign made Flynn a special object of hatred among the Left.
What’s more, his role as the ultimate conduit between the forty-fifth president and the national security bureaucracy—given his knowledge and experience with that so-called “Deep State”—made Flynn an invaluable asset for President Trump and a major obstacle for the national security bureaucracy.
Trump was tricked into firing Flynn. And Trump’s (wrongfully) trusted vice-president was the one who allowed himself to be used as the vessel to do that. Whether Pence understood what he was doing when he exaggerated the claim that Flynn had lied to him is irrelevant. His public castigations of Flynn’s purported duplicity moved Trump’s only real blocking tackle protecting his presidency from a ravenous, weaponized IC.
With Flynn gone and mired in years of egregious and unfair legal proceedings, Trump found himself surrounded by sycophants, naïfs, shameless self-promoters, and outright adversaries geared toward tearing his presidency down.
Which, of course, they ultimately did.
Just Who Was Mike Flynn?
US Army General Mike Flynn was a man with a sterling reputation and a stellar military career, Flynn was respected and sought after as a national security expert. Things began to change for him, however, in the final few years of the Obama Administration.
Flynn had always been an independent thinker. A real muddy-boots leader, as evidenced from his time serving in leadership roles during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. He was a hard-charging personality, woe betide anyone who crossed him while on-mission. Flynn had endeared himself to Obama early on, but that endearment did not extend to Flynn’s fellow intel chiefs.
Notably, Flynn’s relationship with CIA Director John Brennan was soured when Gen. Flynn sought for the Pentagon to take over CIA’s drone program. Flynn had become skeptical of the efficacy of the drone program, believing that the targeted assassinations engendered more animosity from the Muslim world than any other US policy did and that it created significant human intelligence gaps on the terrorist organizations they were fighting.
A nasty bureaucratic turf war ensued.
Soon thereafter, Flynn ran afoul of more Obama national security people when he openly opposed the vaunted Obama nuclear deal with Iran. Having served most of his career in the Middle East, Flynn understood the threat that Iran posed to the United States.
He did not trust the Iranian regime and knew that they harbored ill-intentions toward America. Making a deal with them—one that allowed for that regime to acquire nuclear weapons, no less—was a terrible idea in Flynn’s view.
Added onto that was Flynn’s disgust at having witnessed the Obama Administration cover-up of the real threat that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) posed to the United States and its partners.
President Obama infamously referred to the terrorist group as the “JV Team” meanwhile Obama’s intelligence chiefs, along with the heads of Obama’s National Security Council (Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, and Ned Price), were allegedly secretly changing the intelligence reports on ISIS’ threat coming from US Central Command (CENTCOM) so as to support Obama’s erroneous public claims about ISIS not being a serious threat.
More than 50 intelligence analysts working at CENTCOM at that time filed official complaints that the Obama White House was essentially cooking their intelligence reports to paint a far rosier picture than what existed in the region as ISIS proliferated from the embers of Obama’s sloppy withdrawal from Iraq.
During an infamous congressional hearing on the matter, CIA Director John Brennan and the director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper conspired to shield Congress from the truth about ISIS in order to protect the Obama Administration from embarrassment.
FBI Director James Comey and the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) Adm. Mike Rodgers was present as well.
Sitting beside these men was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Gen. Mike Flynn.
Rodgers kept his mouth shut as Clapper and Brennan willfully downplayed ISIS’ threat to the United States and its interests in the Middle East. Comey kept his comments closely isolated to domestic security.
It was Flynn who spoke out against the Obama Administration’s official narrative. He challenged the assessments of Brennan and Clapper, earning their undying enmity, painting a massive target on Flynn’s backside.
Ultimately, Flynn’s opposition to Obama’s ill-advised nuclear deal with Iran was what caused his fall from the good graces of President Obama.
The Final Straw
Hillary Clinton was Obama’s heir apparent as president. In fact, the way the Democrats acted in 2016, it was as if she were a queen about to be coronated. That both she and Obama had mixed records of public service (to say the least), was not to be questioned by the voters. It was Hillary’s time, according to our elite.
Flynn and others had deep concerns about a possible Hillary Clinton presidency. After all, at least in foreign policy, it’d generally be a continuation of what foreign policy experts, such as Flynn, saw as a bad Obama foreign policy. They worked to stop her. Flynn became a confidant of Donald Trump.
Once it was clear that Flynn was part of Trump’s inner circle, it was open season on his reputation, his career, and his legacy. Flynn was no longer the great general. Instead, he was the only real roadblock to the corrupt Obama-Clinton plot to kill Trump’s presidency before it could begin by accusing him of being a Russian asset.
Trump’s Presidency Ended Three Weeks Into His Administration
Thus, Trump’s single-greatest personnel failure was his decision to fire Flynn. The part of the IC that was weaponized by vicious partisans serving the Obama-Clinton-Democratic Party agenda was then able to worm its way deeper into Trump’s White House and slowly erode whatever effectiveness at implementing policy the forty-fifth president may have had, if only Trump had kept Mike Flynn in-place at the NSC.
In effect, Trump’s presidency ended the moment he fired Mike Flynn. Just three weeks into the start of it.
Everything that happened thereafter was just the inevitable result of that tragic decision. This reason alone is why Trump might not be the best choice for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024. He doesn’t understand government and he doesn’t get the importance of personnel.
Will his next potential term end prematurely because of poor personnel decisions, as his first term did?
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.