During the normal transition period at the beginning of a normal presidency would not surprise anyone that the newly appointed national security adviser, talking on the phone with a foreign Ambassador, even if it’s the Russian Ambassador. Or the Chinese Ambassador. During the normal transition period at the beginning of a normal presidency, the idea that official sources will report the main points of the transcript of this conversation to journalists of The Washington Post, would be considered outrageous.
But we are not talking about a normal presidency, and the transition carried out by the team of Donald trump, it also will not name. Besides, the normal national security team usually does not begin its term in office, as, according to available information, the objects of investigation. By the time Michael Flynn began his duties in the administration of the trump, the US intelligence community has come to the unanimous conclusion that the Russian hacking and trolling have played a role in presidential elections. But the question of whether the promised Flynn, trump or someone else something in exchange for the assistance provided by the Russian government, remains open.
In this context, a simple phone call turned a potential scandal — and Flynn knew it. As have many others — including the President. The call did not have to be explicit evidence, indisputable “proof” that it was a favor for a favor: “You help us with the elections, we can help you with the lifting of sanctions”. But it certainly gives reason to consider such a scenario likely.
That explains why Flynn was lying about the phone call to the Vice-President and the press. This explains why — although the President have long been aware of the problem — he was not fired Flynn before. This also explains why the President first expressed regret at the leak of the transcript of the conversation, not the one that Flynn made the call. This also explains why Flynn has resigned. He and the President both understand why it looks so inappropriate.
And finally, the resignation of Flynn helps to write in the context of another secret: why trump is not lifted sanctions against Russia in the first days after taking office? Many in Washington and, of course, the us Department of state seriously expect him to this step; many Europeans had already prepared its response. Presumably, he rejected the idea of a presidential decree because of pressure from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (ky) Senator John McCain (AZ), and because British diplomats had persuaded his crew not to do this right on the eve of the visit of the British Prime Minister.
Now we know that this could be another reason: trump and Flynn started to worry about how it will look in the eyes of investigators, watching Flynn as well as others who knew about the content of telephone conversations — if I created the impression that they reward the Russian government for its assistance. Or, of course, how it would look if they actually it got an award for that.
The investigation is continuing.