A senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Brietbart News that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was treated unfairly–and perhaps illegally–in the scandal that ended his tenure as National Security Adviser.
“General Flynn? I have total respect for him. He is a patriot with high integrity,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.), the chairman of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats subcommittee.
Rohrabacher was on the short list for Secretary of State just after the election, and a source close to the congressman told Breitbart News that he was offered the No. 2 job with Mitt Romney at the top. The source said the Californian turned it down because he did not want to work for a NeverTrumper. After the Romney moment passed, Rex Tillerson was offered the job with the promise he could build his own team, so Rohrabacher went back to work on Capitol Hill.
Among his other lives — as a screenwriter, surfer, campus activist, and political tourist during the height of the Vietnam War — Rohrabacher was a speechwriter and policy aide to President Ronald Reagan, a tour of duty that gives him a unique perspective on the White House as office politics, not just national politics.
The congressman said Flynn had trouble adjusting to the political aspects of his White House job after so many years in uniform as a general officer.
“I did find him to be somewhat of a political novice,” he said. “What happens in the beginning of an administration is people get a feel for their new job and what their new responsibility and authority is–and he had yet to really adapt.”
Rohrabacher said it was understandable for anyone to take some time to settle in, but the opponents of President Donald Trump took advantage of this adjustment period and the highly-charged political atmosphere.
“I am really sad about it,” he said. “It was unwarranted–this attempt to really kick him in the face once they got him down on the ground. It is awful.”
The congressman said the circumstances that led to the general’s forced resignation from his White House post were a violation of law, specifically dealing with whether a judge approved the wiretap that captured conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, process. The conversations took place in December, soon after President Barack Obama expelled several Russian spies and their families, as well as issuing new economic sanctions and shuttering two residential complexes used by Russian diplomats and intelligence personnel.
“Did a FISA court actually give permission for this wiretap of a U.S. citizen, who was engaged in a political activity?” he asked. “What we are going to find here is an actual violation of law.”
It is another matter entirely that transcripts from the wiretaps would make it into the hands of national papers and news outlets hostile to the president, he said.
“Look, we’re talking about the incoming president and changing administrations and such. We have to understand that there is nothing wrong with people, who are engaged in becoming the new administration, talking to people from other countries — especially countries where there are policies that need to be changed to benefit both countries,” he said.
The actual incident that led to Flynn taking his photos off the walls and packing up his desk was a conversation he had with Vice President Michael Pence. The VP asked Flynn if he discussed Obama’s sanctions with the Russians, as was reported in the media. Flynn told him he did not, which gave Pence the confidence to defend Flynn and dismiss the media reports.
The president said it was the conversation with Pence that cost Flynn his job.
Rohrabacher said he has sympathy for Flynn’s situation dealing with Pence, because both men had the same boss, but Flynn did not know what Trump may have told the vice-president.
“Obviously, General Flynn should not have told the vice-president something that was not totally accurate,” he said. “He was in a very–as National Security Adviser–working in the White House, the epicenter of power and our democracy, sometimes you have to speak in nuances rather than be very specific.”
Instead of giving Pence an answer at all, Flynn should have gone back to the president to find out what the president wanted Pence to know, he said.
Politicians know how to answer a question without giving an answer, he said. “Our generals tend to be a little naive when they get thrown into the political world.”