July 23, 2024


Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
First fish
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON — Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is the low-hanging fruit, and, as a result, he may be about to become – in this mixed metaphor – the First Fish – the Big Fish, former President Donald Trump, being temporarily out of reach. More than 450 individuals have been charged in connection with the January sixth assault on the U.S. Capitol. None of them are high profile or high-ranking. Fynn, a former national security advisor is both high profile and formerly high ranking. And although he was not there that day, he is in the process of inciting a repeat performance.
          Flynn should be charged with sedition for what he said to a rally of QAnon supporters in Dallas last weekend.  "I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can't happen here," he was asked by an audience member referencing the South Asian nation where a military coup just took place. “No reason,” he responded. “I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right,” Flynn concluded to whoops of joy from the QAnon crowd (He has since denied he was advocating what he was advocating).
          Sedition is advocating the violent overthrow of government. That’s what Flynn did, and President Biden should call him on it. The idea that a former high-ranking military officer and former high-ranking government official is publicly saying the election was stolen from Trump and suggesting directly or indirectly that action must be taken to correct this wrong, cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.
          On Memorial Day, Biden said our democracy is under attack, and Flynn, presenting a clear and present danger to the nation, is a leader in this insidious effort. His lies will continue to metastasize and once again embolden a mob to assault the seat of government. However, Biden has little to lose if the Justice Department or the military under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) pursues Flynn. Whereas Trump has millions of followers, Flynn does not, but his words incite them. Arresting Trump could provoke an uprising. Arresting Flynn would not even provoke a protest, and Trump, ever disloyal to his loyalists such as Rudy Giuliani, will not defend him.
          This makes Flynn what lawyers call a prosecutable target. Further, charging him with sedition could be a steppingstone to Trump in the sense that if a plausible case is made against him for seditious acts, the public, including some Republicans, would accept the findings and Trump’s standing with his cult-like followers would begin to erode.
          Flynn has every right to speak freely about everything he hates about Biden and the Democrats, but he cannot be allowed to plant the idea that Trump’s followers can use violence to undermine the government and restore Trump to power. Yet, at present, Flynn and Trump are inexorably moving on uncoordinated parallel paths toward that end.
          The former president’s supporters are being led to believe that Trump will be restored to the presidency in August, an abject lie that sets the stage for a potentially violent confrontation when it doesn’t happen. This is clear. This is present. This is the danger America faces.
          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2021 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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