I really have to give credit to the Republicans: they’re going so fast with this nonsense it’s exhausting. Anyway, here’s the ground assumption information you need to know right now: Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor, resigned at the start of the week over discussing sanctions with the Russian foreign minister in December. Here’s why that’s bad: First, one cannot do what Flynn did because private citizens (which he was at the time) are not allowed to direct foreign policy. It’s been done before but it’s very, very rare. The second reason, and the most important, is that Flynn and the Trump campaign have had extensive ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime for quite some time. There’s even a famous picture of Flynn and Putin having dinner together for Putin’s propaganda channel. So Flynn has resigned, allegedly for lying to Vice President Pence about the nature of the call. But it still doesn’t answer the question: what in the world was Flynn doing talking to Russia’s foreign minister in the first place?
There’s a few possibilities here and all of them are bad. The first was that Flynn, who used to be the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, a man who is used to dealing with spies, was actually stupid enough to believe the conversation’s contents wouldn’t get out and cause him any trouble and tried to cover his error by lying when it got out. That on its own is bad, and it’s a good thing he’s been fired if that’s the case. The other possibility however, is truly chilling: Trump told him to do this. If this is the case and the Trump campaign and Trump himself were actively working with Russia to help him get elected, this is treason, and means that Trump must immediately be forced out of office.
The real question, though, is how do we even know about this? Who is Trump’s main opposition that’s causing these leaks and others? The answer, sadly, is not Democrats (they can only do much), but what has been often referred to as the Deep State.
Here’s a brief primer to these people: The Deep State is essentially any people who have significant positions of power that are not explicitly tied to politics the way the three main branches of government are. These are the intelligence communities (CIA, FBI, NSA) and the military, the Federal Reserve and the IRS, the State Department who aren’t appointees and the scientists in charge of things such as research and making sure the nuclear arsenal doesn’t accidentally get blown up. Compared to a lot of places, America’s Deep State is pretty comparatively mild: the Turkish Deep State is its military, which prides itself on following the secular ideals of their founder Ataturk and who have successfully lead several military coups (they recently failed, but they have a decent chance of trying again). Russia’s Deep State is one made up of oil executives and various ex-KGB as well as the occasional leader of the mob. But those are essentially parts of the government that cannot be held accountable by the people, while our Deep State is closer to a bureaucracy designed to keep a certain amount of status quo. Every president runs into them and has their agenda halted to a degree, and Trump is no different.
What’s different now however, is the sustained level of assault by the Deep State against Trump. This is understandable, as they believe the world should be run a certain way (U.S. as the world’s only superpower, NATO expansion and robust international trade) which Trump directly threatens. The Deep State does not typically step in unless they are wronged: Richard Nixon was taken down by reporting on Watergate, but if it weren’t for J. Edgar Hoover suggesting to Nixon he record everything and William Felt taking revenge against Nixon for refusing to listen to him, we would likely never know about Watergate. With the CIA, NSA, military and now what appears to be the FBI speaking about the dangers of Trump and his people’s connections to Russia, combined with Trump’s open hostility to these people, it means that more and more leaks are going to keep coming no matter what. They may, in fact, take down Trump.
However, this is not the good thing you are imagining it to be. Trump, Bannon, et. al need to go down, Russia connections or no, and the fact that Flynn is no longer National Security Advisor is an objectively good thing that means that chances of something catastrophic fall lower (we still have to get rid of Bannon). However, this should not be what we had to resort to. If it comes down to it, no matter how entrenched and powerful they are, Trump still has a chance to defeat them, and he might just do so if we allow this. We must continue to protest, support journalism and vote for politicians who will investigate him and slow him down and lead to his downfall. If we have a Deep State who needs to launch a coup to stop catastrophe, are we really any better than Turkey’s various slides into destruction?
Protest. Call your representatives. Vote for better ones. Run for office yourself. Work with the Deep State. This will save us.