Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at Trump Tower, Nov. 17, 2016. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and high level positions for the new administration. 
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty

Trump’s NSA faces fresh scrutiny after meeting right-wing Austrian

The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, founded by ex-Nazis after World War II, made two notable trips after the country’s recent elections. As the New York Times reported, one trip was to Moscow, where the party’s leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, signed a “cooperation agreement” with Vladimir Putin’s political party.

The other trip was to Trump Tower in New York, where Strache met with Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice to be the next White House National Security Advisor.

The Huffington Post highlighted the unsettling nature of these connections.
Although the Times story focused on the Russia pact, the Flynn-Strache meeting is at least as significant. Austrians’ support for far-right parties has increased significantly over the past 15 years. Strache’s Freedom Party received 35 percent of the vote in this year’s parliamentary elections and narrowly lost the race for Austria’s ceremonial presidency earlier this month.

“This is not just any opposition party: It is one with Nazi sympathies,” said Daniel Serwer, a former state department official who’s now a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “Nor is Flynn any national security adviser. He is a documented conspiracy propagator….”
He is, indeed. Flynn has peddled bizarre conspiracy theories; he shared classified information with foreign officials without permission; his ties to Russia haven’t been explained in any real detail; and he was on the Turkish government’s payroll while serving as a top adviser to the Trump campaign without ever publicly disclosing that fact.

And now Flynn is chatting with the head of a far-right Austrian party who’s forged a new partnership with Putin’s political party.

The Deputy National Security Advisor in the incoming Trump administration, meanwhile, will be K.T. McFarland, who’s peddled all kinds of weird beliefs. They’ll be joined by Monica Crowley, up until recently a Fox News pundit, who’ll serve as the National Security Council’s senior director of strategic communications, despite her embrace of bonkers conspiracy theories – including the amazing assertion that President Obama is secretly not black.

This is the team Donald Trump has assembled to help oversee national security policy in the coming years.

I may not have a punch-line, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a bad joke.