Back in May, The Atlantic had an interesting piece quoting a source close to the White House saying Donald Trump is “worried about” Michael Flynn, the former National Security Adviser.
“[Trump] has questioned whether or not he should have fired Flynn,” the source said at the time. “They don’t know what Flynn’s going to say.”They still don’t. The difference is, Flynn has now pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia, and recently agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. What happens if the former National Security Adviser shares damaging information about the president and his team? The Washington Post reported overnight that Trump World has a plan.
President Trump’s legal team plans to cast former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn as a liar seeking to protect himself if he accuses the president or his senior aides of any wrongdoing, according to three people familiar with the strategy.
The approach would mark a sharp break from Trump’s previously sympathetic posture toward Flynn, whom he called a “wonderful man” when Flynn was ousted from the White House in February…. Attorneys for Trump and his top advisers have privately expressed confidence that Flynn does not have any evidence that could implicate the president or his White House team. But since Flynn’s cooperation agreement with prosecutors was made public earlier this month, the administration has been strategizing how to neutralize him in case the former national security adviser does make any claims.
It’s worth noting for context that Trump considered Michael Flynn as his running mate last year. He also repeatedly and publicly praised Flynn last year and this year. Trump put Flynn in a powerful position to guide the White House’s policy on matters related to national security.
For Trump World to reverse course, condemning Flynn as a liar if/when he provides damaging information, would be tricky.
Of course, if the president and those in his immediate orbit didn’t do anything wrong, they shouldn’t be worried. The fact that they’re creating contingency strategies – which are being leaked to the press, warning Flynn of what’s coming – suggests Trump World isn’t altogether confident about the road ahead.
Postscript: For what it’s worth, sharing this strategy with the Post seems unwise. If/when we reach the point at which Flynn dishes dirt on the president, and Trump World attacks Flynn as a liar, we’ll already know it’s part of a predetermined strategy, not an organic response generated by circumstances.