Late last night, only hours after the surprise that Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn had plotted illegally with the Russian ambassador both before and after Election Day, the CIA took swift disciplinary action against Flynn and his staff. Depending on the exact sequence of the events, which is still being determined, it’s possible that Trump’s own newly appointed CIA Director has gone rogue against him as the Russia scandal threatens to take Trump down.
Here’s what we know for sure: after the Flynn-Russia disclosure yesterday, the CIA denied security clearance to one of Flynn’s top deputies, Africa Robin Townley. In so doing, the CIA knowingly and directly enforced Townley out of her job, which requires the clearance in question. In other words, they got her fired on the spot. It’s been confirmed that CIA Director Mike Pompeo signed off on this action, which makes logical sense given the severity of it and the probable fallout. But what’s not yet known is whether Pompeo had Trump’s approval at the time.
If Donald Trump gave his OK for a CIA action which resulted in the firing of his own National Security Advisor’s top deputy, that would be a decisive signal that Trump is now trying to separate and scapegoat Michael Flynn for the Russian collusion scandal. But if CIA Director Mike Pompeo took the action of his own accord, that would mean that Pompeo has gone rogue against the Trump administration in regards to the Russia scandal. And politically speaking, the latter may be the more likely scenario.
Although Mike Pompeo was just recently hand picked to run the CIA by Donald Trump, he was not a part of the Trump campaign; until this month he was a Republican Congressman from Kansas. In other words, Pompeo almost certainly had no hand in, and likely no information at the time of, the Trump campaign’s Russian collusion — meaning he’s not a guilty party in the conspiracy.
Now that Mike Pompeo is in charge of the nation’s spy agency, he has likely learned the extent of the Trump-Russia scandal. And if Pompeo is freezing Flynn out without bothering to get Trump’s blessing, then it proposes that he knows the whole thing is going to come crashing down. Unlike Trump, Pence, Flynn, and other players who are knee deep in the Russia scandal, Pompeo knows the Russia treason won’t come down on his head. In the end he’ll only be judged on how he handled the fallout. And if Trump’s own CIA Director is individually moving against Flynn, then it would mean Trump has already fully lost control of the Russia scandal, and it’s about to explode.
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