Before we begin, don’t tell me the National Enquirer isn’t reputable — that is not the point of this story. The National Enquirer has an umbilical cord tethered to Team Trump, and only writes what Trump wants them to write. So the big question this morning is why Team Trump wants to smear Michael Flynn.
Now, the big news: The National Enquirer is accusing former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn of being a “Russian spy.”
This story is huge, and here’s why.
No one should believe anything the National Enquirer writes. The fact that the National Enquirer says Flynn is a Russian spy likely means Flynn isn’t a Russian spy. But this story matters because the man who runs the National Enquirer, David Pecker, is a huge longtime friend of Trump. The Enquirer only runs stories that help Trump. And there is no way the Enquirer would run this story unless Team Trump thought this story helped Trump.
So the real question is why the White House thinks it’s to Trump’s advantage to suddenly throw Flynn under the bus. More on that after the images below.
Here are the some images of the Enquirer online. The first doesn’t hint at Flynn. The second show him, the third names him.
Then you get this photo suggesting Flynn might be the guy they’re talking about:
Then the Enquirer pulls no punches — Russian spy!
Even better, it’s “top White House officials” telling the Enquirer that Flynn is a Russian agent. Again, the Enquirer is close to Trump, why would they lie about the White House claiming this story is real unless the White House approved it?
Now there is one odd caveat: Note how the Enquirer says Flynn was “in essence” a Russian spy. They’re hedging a bit. Which might mean this is an inflammatory tease made to look like they’re accusing Flynn of being a Russian agent, only to have the story less salacious. The story isn’t online, so we can’t tell. What we can tell is that the Enquirer clearly wanted to damage Flynn’s reputation.
UPDATE: I’ve got a copy of the Enquirer. There are no caveats. They accuse Flynn of being a spy, and quote a White House official, no less!
Now, why would Team Trump do this to Flynn? Because they fear Flynn has become a liability, perhaps by turning state’s evidence against them or because they’ve gotten wind of such damaging information about Flynn that they feel the need to distance themselves, as they did with Manafort last week. This is a real turn of events, as up until a few days ago the White House was defending Flynn big time. They threw Manafort under the bus last week, but not Flynn. So something changed to make them turn on Flynn.
Now, if you really want to go all 007, another reason to sacrifice Flynn might be to save someone else. If there’s a bigger fish who’s been compromised by the Russians, throw the world the smaller fish who may not have even been involved, and hope that their appetite is satiated.
One more possibility: It wasn’t Trump, it was someone in the White House who turned on Flynn and asked the Enquirer to do this. We know Trump considers the Enquirer a reputable news source. If you wanted to convince Trump that Flynn is bad news, you’d go throw a disreputable news source that Trump respects, like the Enquirer, Breitbart or Fox. But this story is even too incendiary for Fox. So you go to the Enquirer. What if Bannon or some other senior official decided that Trump’s defense of Flynn was damaging Trump? You hand the Enquirer a story they can’t refuse, and hope that it sways Trump.
Of course, then you tick off Flynn, so that now Flynn is guaranteed to do whatever he can to save his own behind, including turning on Trump.
Also, keep in mind that all of this is happening as Adam Schiff, the lead Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he’s seen evidence meriting going to a grand jury. Schiff has seen something new, something troubling. What was it? And was it related to Flynn and today’s news?
UPDATE: Then we find out that Trump’s top intelligence ally in the House, Intelligence Committee chair Nunes, just canceled a public hearing about Russia. What is Nunes hiding? Why is he afraid of having a larger public discussion about this issue? And why now? It’s interesting timing that the spam hits the fan this week just as Nunes feels the need to pull all the information in more tightly.
And finally, the “best” spin the White House could come up with is that a Russian mole got inside the White House. What’s the worse spin? What possible story could the White House be trying to hide, protect if they’re using the claim “Trump hired a Russian spy in the White House” as cover?
This is a very strange and very important story. The fact that it’s the Enquirer doesn’t make this story meaningless, it makes this story huge.
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