A dark cloud of scandal and haplessness hangs over the White House - the Michael Flynn case proves that

Andrew Buncombe
Michael Flynn arrives at swearing in ceremony for senior White House staff: Andrew Harrer/Getty

Six months ago, they were both in agreement.

Someone seeking immunity during a criminal investigation “means that you’ve probably committed a crime,” said retired general Michael Flynn, at the time an advisor to Republican candidate Donald Trump.

The New York tycoon expressed similar a sentiment. Getting immunity was “so corrupt”, he told an election rally in Melbourne, Florida. “If you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?”

Fast forward to the tenth week of Mr Trump’s presidency, and things look very different. Mr Flynn has reportedly asked for immunity from prosecution from the FBI in cooperation in its investigation into Mr Trump’s alleged links to Russia.

And his boss, thinks the same. “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

What is anyone to make of this? If you’re a Trump supporter you may be inclined to believe the president’s explanation. You may believe that the president’s enemies - the so-called “deep state” - are trying to undermine the man who has vowed to take on the establishment.

For anyone else, it just adds to the stink coming from the White House, that and the sense of chaos.

It is worth stressing again, that investigators have so far revealed nothing that proves collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s alleged attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

There have been lots of claims and lots of accusations, but so far the authorities have not released into the public domain anything that might be considered a “smoking gun”. They have been investigating since last July.

At the same time, the Trump administration is unable to escape dark cloud of scandal and haplessness that hangs over the White House. Even if the FBI and congressional probes ultimately decide there is no evidence that Trump’s associates cooperated with Moscow, the issue has engulfed his administration at at time when it should be making hay.

Trump desperately needs a win. His first legislative project, an attempt with House Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, ended in shambles and embarrassment. The administration was made to look naive and unprepared.

Then, with the White House still reeling from its loss, it was obliged to deny allegations that it had conspired with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, to leak information that appeared to support Mr Trump’s claim he had been electronically surveilled. Then the White House was accused of potentially colluding with Mr Nunes to cancel testimony from Sally Yates, the former acting deputy attorney general, and the person who had briefed Mr Trump that Mr Flynn may be vulnerable to blackmail from the White House.

The first 100 days of any presidency are considered the honeymoon period, the time when the new incumbent makes their mark. By this stage, Barack Obama had already passed two major legislative achievements - an $800bn economic stimulus package and a law making that made it easier for women to sue for equal pay.

Not surprisingly, this has left Mr Trump an unhappy man.

Come nightfall, Mr Trump is often on the phone with fellow billionaires and decades-long friends, commiserating and critiquing his own staff, Axios reported.

Little wonder. Mr Trump sold himself to his as the man who could close the toughest of deals and who would drain the corrupt swamp of Washington. He appears unable to do either.

It is not a good look. And it smells even worse.

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