In American idiom, “whistle past the graveyard” has two meanings. It can mean an attempt to appear fearless in a dire situation; to proceed with a task, ignoring an upcoming hazard, hoping for a good outcome. It can also mean to enter a situation with little or no understanding of the possible consequences.
With Michael Flynn copping a plea to a felony, both meanings apply to the President’s situation.
According to Reuters, Trump, in his first comment on a guilty plea by his first national security adviser Michael Flynn to lying to the FBI, said on Saturday there was “absolutely no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.
Look, the thing about career soldiers is that they follow orders. That’s what soldiers do. Michael Flynn didn’t wake up one morning and think, “Gosh, I think I’ll collude with the Russkis this morning.” The smart money is that Flynn was being a soldier. The smart money is that Flynn was following orders.
If you read Flynn’s plea agreement, it states Flynn consulted with “multiple senior Trump officials” during the transition. One adviser, described in court documents as a “very senior member” of the transition team, directed Flynn in December to reach out to Kislyak and lobby him about a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements. There’s a lot of speculation that would be Jerad Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, but it could just as easily be Trump himself. Either way, it’s a violation of the Logan Act, which forbids civilians from working with foreign governments against the U.S. government. Which, after all, is a kind of treason. If Flynn will testify that Trump ordered him to meet with Ambassador Kilyak during the transition, that’s a further Logan Act violation.
It looks like Trump or someone very close to Trump ordered Flynn to take the hill. And Flynn followed orders.
On December 28, 2016, President Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence officials from this country and the closure of two Russian diplomatic facilities as punishment for what U.S. intelligence said was Moscow’s interference in the presidential election. On December 29, in another Flynn contact with Russian Ambassador Kilyak, court documents show that Flynn asked Kilyak that Russia avoid escalating tensions with the United States and refrain from responding in kind to Obama’s actions. The next day, December 30, Putin announced that he would take no action, prompting Trump to tweet that Putin had made a “great move.” “I always knew he was very smart,” Trump tweeted.
Again, it sure looks like Flynn was following orders.
Remember, too, the other thing about career soldiers. They always report the outcome of their efforts to their superiors. It’s in the plea agreement, if you don’t believe WC.
There was absolutely collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Two different witnesses are on record, convicted of lying about it. Trump is whistling past the graveyard when he claims otherwise.
The only question is which witness will testify, “Trump ordered me to do it.”