His pick for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has long clashed with the intelligence-community establishment over the U.S. fight against global terrorism, and is now butting heads with members of Mr. Trump's team, including Rex Tillerson, Mr. Trump's pick for secretary of state, [Gen. James Mattis, the defense secretary pick] and [Mike Pompeo, his pick to run the Central Intelligence Agency].Officials inside and close to the transition said that Gen. Flynn has been pushing various people for jobs at State and Defense, and is perceived as overreaching in his role as national security adviser.
It's alarmingly difficult to identify the scariest member of Donald Trump's team, but a credible case can be made for National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.As regular readers know, 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.But as Trump World assumes control over the executive branch, Flynn isn't just worrying Trump's detractors. The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that the president-elect is trying to "quell an uprising within his own defense and foreign-policy team," with Flynn at the center of the dispute.
The Journal's piece added that it fell to Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon to meet with Tillerson, Mattis, and Pompeo, and "soothe concerns" about the incoming National Security Advisor.This isn't exactly reassuring. First, the amateur president-elect's chosen Secretary of State, Defense Secretary, and CIA chief are already unhappy with Trump's top advisor on matters of national security. The team hasn't even taken the reigns yet -- we don't yet know for sure whether Tillerson will be confirmed -- and there's already infighting.Second, that infighting is significant enough that officials in Trump World are dishing to the media the day before Inauguration Day.And third, to help make the incoming Secretary of State, Defense Secretary, and CIA chief happy, Trump dispatched the 36-year-old head of his family's real-estate company and the former chief of a right-wing website.It's quite a team the president-elect has put together.