The left’s response to the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts shows a monarchal mindset

Henry VIII accused both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard of adultery, so they were executed for treason. That adultery could transform into treason came about because the monarch and the state were the same. An offensive against the former was a capital crime against the latter.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be in America. In America, if people dislike a president’s policies, they elect a new president who changes those policies. Treason is a crime against America itself, not a crime against a particular president and his initiatives. But that’s not how the left sees things today.

When General Michael Flynn’s supporters saw the released transcripts of the telephone conversations he had with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the month before Trump’s inauguration, they believed the transcripts vindicated Flynn. The FBI and DOJ had accused Flynn of falsely claiming that, during a December 29 telephone call with Kislyak, he had not discussed the sanctions that Obama had imposed against Russia a mere three weeks before leaving office. They also accused him of lying about not having discussed UN sanctions against Israel.

In fact, the December 29 phone transcripts revealed that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed Obama’s order expelling Russian diplomats from America, something completely separate from sanctions. Moreover, the much-revised Form 302 from the January 24 interview the FBI conducted with Flynn revealed that the agents never asked him about sanctions. Given that Flynn hadn’t discussed sanctions with Kislyak, and that the FBI never asked him about sanctions, it’s an impossibility to claim that Flynn lied about sanctions.

Likewise, the transcripts reveal that Flynn and Kislyak discussed the UN sanctions against Israel during an earlier phone call, not the call on December 29, 2016. So again, he did not lie when he told the agents he had not discussed that UN initiative with Kislyak during that call.

The difference between the FBI and DOJ charges against Flynn and the revelations contained in the released transcripts, especially when read together with the Form 302 that was the best that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page could create, vindicates Flynn. Not only was he innocent of the charges, but the transcript also shows a man trying to prevent Russia from hurting America in response to Obama’s last-ditch effort to sow dissent between America and Russia.

(It would take a whole book to discuss the “why” of Obama’s efforts. Suffice to say that he was probably trying to force a phone call between Kislyak and Flynn because he was already spying on Kislyak and could, therefore, get to Flynn without an unmasking. The need to go after Flynn was part of a broader Obama administration effort to hide the fact that it had used the government’s intelligence apparatus to spy on and attempt to destroy an opposition presidential candidate and eventual president-elect.)

What’s both fascinating and frightful is to read how the left views the Flynn transcripts. Rather than seeing Flynn as a man who was set up by the Obama administration and the intelligence apparatus to destroy Flynn and, by extension, the president-elect he was set to serve, they see treason.

This is treason of an old-fashioned kind, however. Although leftists pay vague lip-service to the notion that Flynn was working against America, the gist of their position is that Flynn was working against Obama’s policies. For them, Obama has transmuted into a monarch so that any disagreement with him is treason.

Exhibit A for this argument is Jonathan Chait (and this post has room for only one exhibit today):

Flynn’s lawyers insisted his call was “consistent with him advocating for, not against, the interests of the United States.” That depends heavily on how one defines “the interests of the United States.” In December 2016, the United States had a strong interest in punishing and deterring hostile foreign governments that had stolen the private communications of American political figures in order to affect the outcome of the election. By January 20, the United States would have a very different interest.

Put another way, how dare Trump and his advisors change Obama’s policies? To the Chaits of this world, it doesn’t matter that the USSR and Russia have always meddled in America’s elections or that the Russian investment was nominal, running to the lows hundreds of thousands in advertisements (not “hacking”), compared to Hillary’s one billion dollar campaign fund.

Chait is also unconcerned that Obama knew in 2014 that Russia would meddle but did nothing about it for over two years. Chait doesn’t question why, just three weeks before leaving office, Obama would suddenly announce a radical, aggressive policy against Russia, knowing that the fallout from that policy would inevitably fall into Trump’s lap. For Chait, the fact that Flynn wanted to temper events so that Trump’s first day in office did not involve a national security crisis constitutes treason because it opposes Obama.

Lèse-majesté – the French term for an act against the monarch being tantamount to treason – was supposed to have vanished from these shores in 1776. That the left has reinvigorated this notion to protect Obama is just one of the many things leftists are doing to undermine our Constitution.

(The image for this post is a 1798 print showing John Bull, the generic Englishman, farting on a poster of George III, with an enraged William Pitt the Younger crying out “Treason.)

Henry VIII accused both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard of adultery, so they were executed for treason. That adultery could transform into treason came about because the monarch and the state were the same. An offensive against the former was a capital crime against the latter.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be in America. In America, if people dislike a president’s policies, they elect a new president who changes those policies. Treason is a crime against America itself, not a crime against a particular president and his initiatives. But that’s not how the left sees things today.

When General Michael Flynn’s supporters saw the released transcripts of the telephone conversations he had with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the month before Trump’s inauguration, they believed the transcripts vindicated Flynn. The FBI and DOJ had accused Flynn of falsely claiming that, during a December 29 telephone call with Kislyak, he had not discussed the sanctions that Obama had imposed against Russia a mere three weeks before leaving office. They also accused him of lying about not having discussed UN sanctions against Israel.

In fact, the December 29 phone transcripts revealed that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed Obama’s order expelling Russian diplomats from America, something completely separate from sanctions. Moreover, the much-revised Form 302 from the January 24 interview the FBI conducted with Flynn revealed that the agents never asked him about sanctions. Given that Flynn hadn’t discussed sanctions with Kislyak, and that the FBI never asked him about sanctions, it’s an impossibility to claim that Flynn lied about sanctions.

Likewise, the transcripts reveal that Flynn and Kislyak discussed the UN sanctions against Israel during an earlier phone call, not the call on December 29, 2016. So again, he did not lie when he told the agents he had not discussed that UN initiative with Kislyak during that call.

The difference between the FBI and DOJ charges against Flynn and the revelations contained in the released transcripts, especially when read together with the Form 302 that was the best that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page could create, vindicates Flynn. Not only was he innocent of the charges, but the transcript also shows a man trying to prevent Russia from hurting America in response to Obama’s last-ditch effort to sow dissent between America and Russia.

(It would take a whole book to discuss the “why” of Obama’s efforts. Suffice to say that he was probably trying to force a phone call between Kislyak and Flynn because he was already spying on Kislyak and could, therefore, get to Flynn without an unmasking. The need to go after Flynn was part of a broader Obama administration effort to hide the fact that it had used the government’s intelligence apparatus to spy on and attempt to destroy an opposition presidential candidate and eventual president-elect.)

What’s both fascinating and frightful is to read how the left views the Flynn transcripts. Rather than seeing Flynn as a man who was set up by the Obama administration and the intelligence apparatus to destroy Flynn and, by extension, the president-elect he was set to serve, they see treason.

This is treason of an old-fashioned kind, however. Although leftists pay vague lip-service to the notion that Flynn was working against America, the gist of their position is that Flynn was working against Obama’s policies. For them, Obama has transmuted into a monarch so that any disagreement with him is treason.

Exhibit A for this argument is Jonathan Chait (and this post has room for only one exhibit today):

Flynn’s lawyers insisted his call was “consistent with him advocating for, not against, the interests of the United States.” That depends heavily on how one defines “the interests of the United States.” In December 2016, the United States had a strong interest in punishing and deterring hostile foreign governments that had stolen the private communications of American political figures in order to affect the outcome of the election. By January 20, the United States would have a very different interest.

Put another way, how dare Trump and his advisors change Obama’s policies? To the Chaits of this world, it doesn’t matter that the USSR and Russia have always meddled in America’s elections or that the Russian investment was nominal, running to the lows hundreds of thousands in advertisements (not “hacking”), compared to Hillary’s one billion dollar campaign fund.

Chait is also unconcerned that Obama knew in 2014 that Russia would meddle but did nothing about it for over two years. Chait doesn’t question why, just three weeks before leaving office, Obama would suddenly announce a radical, aggressive policy against Russia, knowing that the fallout from that policy would inevitably fall into Trump’s lap. For Chait, the fact that Flynn wanted to temper events so that Trump’s first day in office did not involve a national security crisis constitutes treason because it opposes Obama.

Lèse-majesté – the French term for an act against the monarch being tantamount to treason – was supposed to have vanished from these shores in 1776. That the left has reinvigorated this notion to protect Obama is just one of the many things leftists are doing to undermine our Constitution.

(The image for this post is a 1798 print showing John Bull, the generic Englishman, farting on a poster of George III, with an enraged William Pitt the Younger crying out “Treason.)