The more we learn about the crimes committed by members of the Trump team, the more the president’s supporters insist on digging in their heels to defend him. At this point, it truly seems like there is no revelation so heinous that it could persuade his core group of voters to forsake him. They’ve strapped themselves to the Trump train and they’re riding it careening off the tracks not matter what.
It’s this mindless loyalty that drives Trump fans to so vehemently defend disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, despite the litany of crimes he stands accused of and those he’s already pleaded guilty to. The man is clearly a self-interested crook trying to hide behind his former military service to shield his myriad legal transgressions.
Earlier today, two associates of Flynn were indicted in relation to a plot to smear a Turkish cleric in the United States, Fethullah Gülen, with the aim of getting him extradited back to Turkey. Flynn himself was investigated for his involvement in a scheme to possibly the kidnap the very same cleric and deliver him back to Turkey.
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The men indicted today, Bijan Kian and Kamil Ekil Alptekin, both worked for Flynn’s company and both failed to report themselves when they began working as foreign agents on behalf of Turkey. Flynn himself has admitted to lobbying for Turkey.
What’s worse, Kian and Ekil Alptekin actively tried to hide the fact that they were receiving payments from the foreign nation. The news of the indictments is another blow against the embattled Flynn, and further suggests that he has surrounded himself with a web of criminality.
In a new piece in The Washington Post, reporter Aaron Blake explains that today’s indictments represent a major problem for the Trumpists who have been pushing the absurd conspiracy theory that the FBI essentially gave Flynn a “get out of jail free card” by letting him off so lightly. Their main piece of “evidence” for this fever dream idea is the fact that Special Counsel Robert Mueller suggested no prison time for Flynn.
These right-wingers believe that the only Flynn crime committed was his lying to investigators and that the Bureau let him off as a form of apology rather than the much more likely scenario that he was treated leniently and avoided prison because he decided to cooperate with the investigation and divulged dirt on other targets of the probe.
In Blake’s analysis article, entitled “The ‘Michael Flynn is an innocent hero’ conspiracy suffers a major setback” he dismantles in simple, persuasive terms the ridiculous idea that Flynn is some good, innocent men who was entrapped by overzealous investigators.
“The indictment is further evidence that the idea Flynn was just some guy going about his business who waltzed into an FBI trap is fanciful. It implicates his own eponymous business in an illegal lobbying operation,” Blake writes, also referencing pro-Turkish government pieces that Flynn wrote in 2016 while failing to reveal he was on their payroll.
Most importantly, Blake argues that Flynn’s misdeeds weren’t just constrained to his secret communication with a Russian ambassador, but rather were part of a larger, deeply suspicious pattern of behavior. Rather than a hero, Blake writes that Flynn is “someone who was doing quite a bit of double-dealing and saw the need to cover it up by lying repeatedly.”
The full scope of Flynn’s crimes and those of his in his circle is sure to emerge in the coming months, and when it does the smart bet is that Blake will be vindicated and Flynn’s defenders humiliated.
Check out the full piece here.