Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer offered his opinion on the scandal snowballing Monday about President Trump's national security advisor Mike Flynn, saying that it was a "cover-up without a crime" but opining that either choice Trump makes will hurt him politically.
Bret Baier began after recounting the events leading into the scandal Monday, "Charles your thoughts as this is developing late this afternoon."
"Well what strikes me is how bizarre the whole story is," Krauthammer responded. "This is a coverup without a crime."
The idea that one should be all aghast because the incoming national security advisor spoke with the Russian ambassador and spoke about sanctions seems to me to be perfectly reasonable.
The idea that it was illegal is preposterous. When I hear Nancy Pelosi get all upset about this and how in the grip of the Russians this shows us to be, this is an absurdity. But then you ask yourself, "well then why did he lie about it?" Even internally in talking to the Vice President. And that shows a tremendous lapse of judgement. And a sort of a lack of trustworthiness.
So the president is faced with a very difficult problem. If he fires him, then it puts in question the president's own judgement. Choosing him in the first place. Having to fire him within three weeks. On the other hand this is a guy who has been advising him, stuck with him, who appears to have done the right thing in talking to the Russian ambassador, and done a crazy thing in lying about it to Pence. And he's gotta decide how it's gonna look - either way he's gonna be hurt.
"But if he does get rid of him," Krauthammer concluded, "he better have someone of stature waiting in the wings."
Baier then listed the various unsubstantiated leaks supposedly from the White House speculating that Flynn could be out of a job very soon.
"And I think that's the reason that the fate of Flynn is hanging in the balance," Krauthammer offered.
I'm not sure that Trump knows his own mind even now. I'm sure that the silence over the weekend was a result of the fact - I don't think it was a great strategic decision to keep people hanging and all this. I think he simply didn't know which way to go. Because he loses either way.
One way it makes him look bad, bad choice, the other way he leaves Pence hanging and disrespected if he sticks with Flynn. So he knows its a tough choice, he knows he's going to lose one way or the other. I think the reason we're waiting for a decision is that it is entirely up to the president. And I'm not sure the president himself has decided.
The media has tried to entangle Mike Flynn with speculations about intimate and inappropriate interactions between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and he has given them much ammunition to fire away with. After it was discovered that he might have spoken with a Russian ambassador about easing sanctions before the election, and lied about it, critics have come out of the woodworks to demand his resignation. Worse still was Vice President Mike Pence going on news shows to defend him and confirm his misleading denial of the talks.
Monday the Trump administration ominously announced that the president was "evaluating the situation" with Flynn, fueling speculation that he was on the way out.
Increasingly there is speculation that Flynn will end up the same as another top Trump staffer who was canned over allegations of Russian involvement - Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign manager before being dismissed to make way for Kellyanne Conway.