Some in the crowd chanted loudly as the man walked past them into a courthouse to plead guilty to a felony charge of lying to the FBI.
“Lock him up!” some demonstrators yelled. “Lock him up! Lock him up!”
What a fitting, if grim, irony.
The man was Michael Flynn, who used to lead crowd warm-up chants of “Lock her up!” aimed at then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
Once an avid Democrat, Flynn joined the Donald Trump-for-President campaign about two years ago. On July 17, 2016 at the Republican National Nominating Convention in Cleveland, Flynn pumped up the huge audience with these furious words in his trash-rant against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton:
“Lock her up! Lock her up! . . .,” he shouted, quivering with anger. “If I, a guy who knows this business, did a tenth – a tenth! of what she did – I’d be in jail today. So, crooked Hillary Clinton, leave this race now!”
Is there a “moral” to this massive lock-up irony, this karmic boomerang justice? Is it “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” Or, “Be careful what you wish for?” Or, “All that you send into the lives of others may come back to haunt you . . . ?”
Flynn, many claim, is the all-too-human key who will unlock the answer to whether or not higher-ups in the Trump Administration colluded with Russia to influence the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Robert Mueller, special investigative counsel of the “Russia Connection” probe, granted Flynn some legal protection in exchange for tattling some truths about what went on during the Trump campaign and its presidential transition. The whole ugly mess has turned into a peek-a-boo cat-and-mouse game, and all of us are left wondering: Who is going to pounce next, where and when?
One thing is now in sharp focus: All too many appointees of the Trump Administration have been lying through their teeth about connections to Russian Mafia wheeler-dealers, including that country’s slick-and-sinister plutocrat, Vladimir Putin. If meetings and conversations with Russians were oh-so innocent, why the endless parade of denials and lies about it? Did the Trump campaign (possibly Trump himself) promise the Russians favorable policies in exchange for sneaky Russian meddling in the election process so Clinton would lose? Well, that has yet to be proven. Or disproven.
Meantime, what is really sad about the Michael Flynn downfall is that he was – by all accounts – an American hero. For 33 years, he served in the U.S. Army, including combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the while, he helped outwit and defeat terrorists of every stripe. Highly honored and respected, Flynn, who had retired from the military, was then named by President Barack Obama in 2012 to be the director of the National Defense Intelligence Agency. He was forced out in 2014. Many reports claim as director he had been erratic, vindictive, close-minded and abusive in his managerial behaviors.
During the presidential transition, Obama cautioned Trump against hiring Flynn, warning he was virtually a foreign agent not to be trusted. Trump, usually deaf to good advice, spurned the warning and hired Flynn as national security advisor. Flynn’s job lasted 24 days, at which time – because of revelations Trump still dismisses as “fake news” – Flynn was caught in a web of lies.
Many of Flynn’s most ardent supporters from his years as a brilliant military man are aghast, wondering how he could have gone, as some have said, so “off his rocker.” He started, post-military, a consulting firm and was raking in money from international sources, including shady Russian deals and questionable Turkish interests. Was money the corrupter? Was greed his undoing? We may never know.
But the tragedy is this: That an American hero, who worked so hard to protect this country, should stumble and fall so far down.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.