If The Orange Tufted Poodle thought that canning Mike Flynn was going to make this whole thing go away, he was once again showing his politically infantile understanding of how things work. We have all seen the press continue to dog Trump, Spicer, et al about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian Ambassador, and their content. Even GOP lawmakers, mostly Senators are adding their voices to growing calls for a comprehensive investigation. But now it looks like the House may be getting into the act sooner or later, quite possibly sooner.
Senior Democratic House Oversight member Elijah Cummings prepared a letter to the Pentagon, asking for any records of then retired General Flynn’s 2015 trip to Moscow. Apparently he showed the letter to GOP chairman Jason Chaffetz, who signed off on it, joining Cummings. The Pentagon has replied.
According to reporting in POLITICO Chaffetz and Cummings received a response from the Pentagon that was short and to the point;
In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House oversight committee delivered Tuesday, acting Army Secretary Robert Speer confirmed that Flynn — a retired lieutenant general — filed no documentation of his trip.
At first, I was confused when I read this. Flynn is a retired general, why should he have to check in with the Pentagon for his comings and goings, he’s a private citizen now? The reason became clear in the next paragraph, in which Chaffetz and Cummings sent off another letter;
In response, House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the committee, sent a letter that suggests Flynn may have inappropriately accepted payments from the Russian government or its agents in exchange for his attendance. Scrutiny is growing on Flynn’s trip and whether his payment violated the Constitution’s Emolument’s Clause, which prohibits any person holding an “office of profit or trust” in the federal government from accepting foreign payment. The prohibition has long been considered to apply for retired military officials. (Italics mine)
Now it makes more sense. Especially when you look at the fact that retired high ranking military personnel have a funny way of ending up back in public service again. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and more recently retired General James Mattis and Senator John McCain immediately come to mind. Probably a pretty good idea to make sure that they don’t reenter government work with any “owesies” outstanding.
The second letter was sent to Leading Authorities, the speakers bureau that Flynn has indicated may have coordinated Flynn’s payment for his appearance at the event. Chaffetz and Flynn are also asking for any payment information for Flynn’s other appearances connected to Russia Today, the Russian media arm.
Welcome to the world of political scandals Mikey and Donnie. Anybody who follows politics could tell you, there’s one inevitable result to a scandal, it breeds frenzied searches for other scandals the way rabbits breed in a meadow. And as either arrogant or stupid as a career intelligence officer like Flynn was in either not guessing or not caring that his contacts with the Russian Ambassador would be monitored or recorded, I am having no trouble believing he left a few other carrots around the meadow.
The surprise actor here is Jason Chaffetz. Not only did he join Elijah Cummings in these two letters, he also joined Cummings in a letter asking the Office of Government Ethics to investigate KellyAnne Conway, and he has also asked for a raw copy of Trump’s lease with the government for his DC hotel, to see if he’s in violation of his lease. If anything more comes out, it’s going to be difficult to see Chaffetz refusing to hold an investigation when he’s already showed a willingness to nibble around the corners of possible improprieties in this administration. Don’t touch that dial.