Just for perspective: A transgression of little if any practical impact appears to have paved the way for the Michael Flynn ouster.
The national security chief, who quit Monday, spoke with the Russian ambassador about sanctions on his nation before President Donald Trump took the oath of office Jan. 20.
Flynn said earlier he didn’t do that — then said he wasn’t sure whether he did.
Apparently he wasn’t supposed to, and apparently there was a recording of it.
From what we know so far, Vladimir Putin’s regime may have been told Team Trump might soften the U.S. posture toward Russia.
But didn’t we expect that?
On his way out the door, President Barack Obama imposed sanctions while releasing a report stating that Moscow ordered an “interference campaign” last year against Trump opponent Hillary Clinton.
For months, Trump did his best to downplay and deny a Russian role.
Based again on what we know so far, Flynn’s actions don’t exactly give the storied espionage cases of the Cold War a run for the money.
And, from what we know so far, some people in the White House are relieved at the removal of Flynn, whom even Colin Powell once privately called “right-wing nutty” and “a jerk.”
By Tuesday, White House officials said Flynn misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his conversation with the ambassador was the problem.
So, somebody else will fill the job.
Maybe this will prove to be a blessing for the administration — if all goes smoothly from here.
That is a very big if.
For one thing: Trump was made aware of a Justice Department warning last month that Flynn spoke about sanctions with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, according to spokesman Sean Spicer.
Yet the president doesn’t seem to have reacted to this information until published reports of the warning emerged. It is unclear why.
Also, recall that Flynn was prominently involved in the Trump campaign — whose interactions with Putin & Co. are still reported to be under probe by congressional and law-enforcement staff.
Much is uncertain about U.S. dealings in Eastern Europe under the new U.S. presidency.
Nikki Haley, Trump’s UN ambassador, has said U.S. sanctions will remain in place until Russia withdraws from Crimea. That seems consistent with the view of the powers-that-be among Republicans and Democrats.
That said, Trump’s Russia connections — whether through his family’s private business, or his campaign aides’ dealings, or his government — will keep feeding the intrigue.
Then again, we already knew that.