Flynn, Trump and the state of American politics

From decorated soldier to convict. What would you say the case of Michael Flynn says us about the state of American politics in the age of Donald Trump? (Interestingly, Trump still defends Flynn, unlike Michael Cohen). Read few comments.

Official DIA portrait of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

Steffen Schmidt, Lucken Endowed Professor of Political Science, Iowa State University

Flynn lied to the authorities. That’s illegal. I do not think he is a traitor or bad man. He and his son went astray in their effort to contact Russians. I think he thought it was OK. But in fact he should have known that the use of social media & hacking Hillary Clinton e-mails was dangerous.

I also infer that he was naive and ambitious and fell under the Trump “spell.”  Trump is like a hypnotist who controls many people with his magic touch.

He has now shared a HUGE amount of vital information about Trump & the Russians. Now we have the question the sentencing judge raised as to whether Flynn should go to jail for his unpatriotic actions & lying.

Some of my former students in the US military think he should have some years in jail “if I lied to my superior officer or my commander i would be courtmartialed and punished” one of them told me.

Several Republican friends who support Trump said no he should not be punished saying Flynn was tricked by the FBI in to “ saying untruths” and that he has suffered enough.

My take away is that Pres Trump is very worried about what Flynn told the special counsel Mueller. It’s another enormous problem which makes for sleepless nights in the White House.

Matthew Eshbaugh-SohaProfessor and Chair of Political Science, University of North Texas

We have a very serious situation, of which, I think Michael Flynn is but the tip of the iceberg.  Many individuals associated with the campaign have been indicted, and now we have a member of his staff—his National Security Advisor!—implicated in this.  This is far from a  witch hunt, as President Trump complains, but rather a very serious breach of protocol and as it seems the law.  It remains to be seen how far reaching this is.  But these indictments rise well above partisan politics.  Oddly, it may be something like this—malfeasance by the chief executive—that brings the nation together.   The larger concern is what this situation does to trust in our political institutions, and it may take somebody of strong moral character to be able to restore that trust.

Mark RozellDean and Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

Trump won election not playing by any of the traditional customs of US politics and his success signaled to some around him that they could flout all kinds of rules and conventions and it didn’t matter. A decorated soldier got caught up in the hype of a national campaign, had a prominent speaking role at a party nominating convention, ended up in a powerful position in the government and thought, like Trump, that none of the rules and conventions applied to him or people in Trump’s administration. In the face of overwhelming evidence of Flynn’s wrongdoing, the president continues to defend him as though the rule of law doesn’t apply to his people.

Robert Y. ShapiroProfessor, Political Science, Columbia University

Flynn is different from others from Trump’s past world and campaign leaders. He was part of the get tough wing of the establishment but he went off the rails, so to speak. He is different from Cohen who long worked for Trump. He has, to be sure, been part of the corruption in government that has come with the Trump administration along with individuals lying on many fronts. Trump is evidently less concerned about Flynn since whatever Flynn knows can hurt him less.

Kenneth Warren, Professor of Political Science, St. Louis University

American values are in total disarray in the U.S. due to Trump and his people trashing the American presidency and cherished American values. Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen et al are symbols of America’s decline in image before the world. As a professor of American government and the American presidency, I am very saddened by what I see. Trump’s disrespect for the Office of the Presidency is alarming. We have seen nothing like it in our entire history. Political scientists in a polls rated President Trump as America’s worst president. Trump’s disrespect for NATO, the EU leaders, and signed agreements just sends a message to other countries that America cannot be trusted. Worse, Trump’s fondness for America’s traditional rivals is totally baffling.

Michael Flynn, as Trump, are traitors and U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made this clear yesterday at Flynn’s sentencing. He made evident that he felt Flynn was a traitor and he would likely not accept Mueller’s recommendation for no jail time. He said Flynn had betrayed his country working as a foreign agent while serving as NSA for Trump. He also believes that Flynn is disingenuous, pleading guilty yet trying to make light of what he did. Sullivan entertained the thought that Flynn is guilty of treason. Accepting Mueller’s recommendation would be foolish since what countries in the world let off traitors with not jail time. That would be absurd. Is America getting soft on those who betray the U.S.? Unquestionably, Flynn’s ties to Russia are very serious, especially because he tried to cover up his ties to Russia by lying about it. If he had nothing to hide, he would not need to lie.

What does all this say about America in the age of Donald Trump? It says that America has lost its way as the world’s leader. What countries want to follow a country led by such a morally bankrupted president as Trump? All he does is tell the most absurd lies and tries to destroy all that America has stood for : e.g., due process of law; the welcoming of immigrants; a proponent of positive environmental standards; democracy; and forging a cooperative spirit with our allies. He acts like a 7 year old and appoints the very worst people with terrible resumes to positions of power and trust to his administration. The people around him have been tainted by Trump and have left office tarnished by serving Trump. Flynn is an example of just one more person who served Trump who faces jail time. It is the reason why Trump cannot recruit a Chief of Staff with any respectable credentials.

What is very disturbing is the Republicans in Congress that say nothing negative about Trump, except for the ones leaving office. This shows that we have few, if any statesmen left because he true statesmen would put America first and organize against Trump. Trump and people like Flynn have severely damaged the image of the U.S. and have jeopardized our national security interests, as well as out economic interests by fighting an unnecessary trade war. The bottom line is that many Americans are severely bothered by the pain Trump and people like Flynn have caused America. They are embarrassments to the U.S.


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