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Republicans respond to Flynn resignation with silence, dodged questions, pleas to 'move on'

Posted by on Feb. 15, 2017 at 1:44 AM
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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a press conference during the January 26th, 2017 GOP Retreat in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Ex-NFL player Payton Manning are expected on Thursday to headline the Congress of Tomorrow Joint Republican Issues Conference. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)
Still waiting to hear from Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell

It took less than a month for Michael Flynn to be forced to resign as national security advisor … and now the question is how long it will take top Republicans to comment on Flynn’s resignation. A few loyalists have crawled out of the woodwork, but as of Tuesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were among those staying silent.

Most notable among the Republicans who have had something to say may be House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who just Monday afternoon had said that “it just seems like there’s a lot of nothing there” and that he had “full confidence” in Flynn, who’s “probably the best intelligence officer of his generation.” Nunes did not change his tune even after Flynn’s resignation suggested that there might be more than “a lot of nothing there,” saying in a statement that “Washington, D.C. can be a rough town for honorable people, and Flynn—who has always been a soldier, not a politician—deserves America’s gratitude and respect for dedicating so much of his life to strengthening our national security.”

Again, that’s the House Intelligence Committee chair, who has either missed or does not care that Flynn’s resignation comes because he had secret conversations with the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions that the Obama administration was just putting in place, then lied about it to the press and his own vice president. Interesting definitions of “honorable people” and “strengthening our national security,” there.

Rep. Chris Collins, a top Trump loyalist in the House, showed up on CNN to excuse Ryan and McConnell’s silence on the grounds that “it’s Valentine’s Day and I guess they’re having breakfast with their wives.” Beyond that? Collins is “sorry to see General Flynn go. I don’t know the details of what transpired, I do know General Flynn, I know that he’s very loyal to President Trump, I do know he’s a great American.” But people shouldn’t “dwell” or “pile on.” We should “move on.” 

Sen. John Thune, meanwhile, went on CNN to offer a limp denunciation of Flynn—saying that “what’s clear is that Michael Flynn was acting in a way that was inappropriate”—then spent three minutes refusing to answer questions about what Trump might have known about Flynn’s actions and what it might say that it took so much public pressure before Flynn was out. According to Thune, we have to move forward and focus on how to keep America safe … but that apparently doesn’t include asking about what Donald Trump knew and when he knew it.

There you go. The party that spent was soooo concerned about Hillary Clinton’s email security thinks we should just move on from the abrupt resignation of the national security advisor after he was discovered to have lied about the content of his secret conversations with Russia. No need to know what Trump knew, no need to wonder what else Flynn might have said in these secret conversations. No need, apparently, for Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell to issue timely reactions to Flynn’s resignation.

But Flynn should take heart: he has staunch defenders in at least one legislative body. It’s just that, given the circumstances of his resignation, having top Russian lawmakers going to bat for him might not actually be helpful.


by on Feb. 15, 2017 at 1:44 AM
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