The White House is blaming former President Barack Obama for signing off on Mike Flynn, but CNN analyst Philip Mudd said the Trump campaign should not escape responsibility.
New evidence shows Flynn was warned not to accept payment from Russia by the Defense Intelligence Agency he once led, but he did so anyway and failed to make required disclosures.
Mudd, the former CIA counterterrorism deputy, said the Trump campaign set the tone that administration officials eventually took with regard to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
“As a former government official, this is easy to see,” Mudd said. “You have a tone in the campaign. That tone is, ‘Actually, Vladimir Putin is okay, despite what happened in previous administrations.’ People like Michael Flynn take that tone and say, ‘We’re going to talk to Russian officials and tell them a new sheriff is in town, or there will be in January, and we will reverse what the Obama administration did.’ Some of what they did, including Gen. Flynn’s conversations with the ambassador, turned out to be completely inappropriate.”
Flynn resigned just 24 days into his tenure as national security adviser for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
“This story looks messy, but from the outside it is clear,” Mudd said. “A tone was set and individuals did things that were inappropriate when they absorbed the president’s tone and talked with Russian officials.”