Second, this week a story also leaked that Trump called Flynn in the middle of the night to ask if the United States wanted a strong or weak dollar. How would that story have gotten out other than by Flynn relating it to others (either to the press directly or to colleagues who talked to the press)? At a time the White House is greatly alarmed by leaks, questions must surely be raised as to whether Flynn is sufficiently discreet.
Third, a whole lot of people — “current and former U.S. officials” — don’t like him very much. (“Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”) Frankly, they ratted him out, knowing this would severely damage his credibility. That doesn’t speak well of his long-term prospects in an administration rife with conflict and back-biting.
Fourth, Flynn is still under investigation, which raises the question of how he is being allowed to perform his duties as national security adviser.
Fifth, this episode will only heighten concerns about Flynn’s pro-Russian sensibilities. (“Like Trump, Flynn has shown an affinity for Russia that is at odds with the views of most of his military and intelligence peers. Flynn raised eyebrows in 2015 when he appeared in photographs seated next to Putin at a lavish party in Moscow for the Kremlin-controlled RT television network.”) It is not clear whether an investigation into Trump campaign contacts with Russian officials also implicates Flynn.
Sixth, this is hardly a standalone incident when one considers the travel ban fiasco, press secretary Sean Spicer’s vitriolic interactions with the press, Trump’s errant tweets, and ongoing confusion over everything from the president’s support for the Gang of Eight (the White House had to deny he was in support after a meeting with Democratic senators) to his position on Obamacare repeal. One sees a stunning level of turmoil in a White House that has virtually no senior official with prior White House experience. The fear among many Democrats and Republicans was that Cabinet officials would be cut out of the loop in this presidency; now the question is whether the White House staff is so dysfunctional as to require a shake-up.