Dispatch May 8, 2017

5 Months of Lying About Michael Flynn

Here’s what you need to know:

The Trump administration lied at least 6 times about Flynn discussing sanctions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak:

  • On January 13th, as speculation grew around Flynn and Kislayk’s December 29th phone calls, Sean Spicer lies and said their conversation “centered around logistics” and “never touched on the sanctions.”
  • On January 14th, when asked about the conversations between Flynn and Kislyak, incoming chief-of-staff Reince Priebus tells ‘Meet the Press’: “the subject matter of sanctions or the actions taken by the Obama did not come up in the conversation”.
  • On January 15th, Mike Pence says on ‘Face the Nation’ that Flynn and Kislyak “did not discuss anything having to do” with sanctions.
  • On January 23rd, Sean Spicer again denies that sanctions were discussed.
  • On January 24th, Flynn lies about discussing sanctions during an FBI interview.
  • On February 7th, Flynn denies discussing sanctions with Kislyak in a Washington Post interview.

Flynn has repeatedly lied about his ties to foreign governments:

  • Flynn did not disclose payments from Turkish or Russian-linked entities on his SF-86 clearance form upon entering government.
  • Flynn did not register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department until after his resignation and after it was disclosed that he was a paid lobbyist for Turkish clients.
  • Flynn never sought approval from the Army for his December 2015 trip to Moscow where he was paid to attend an RT gala with Putin. This potentially violated the emoluments clause and the U.S. Army is currently investigating.

Yates tried to warn the White House about Flynn back in January:

  • Two days after Flynn’s interview with the FBI, on January 26th, acting Attorney General Sally Yates, with the backing of FBI Director Comey,issues a serious warning to White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn was lying when he denied discussions of sanctions with Kislyak, and that Flynn’s misleading comments made him “vulnerable to Russian blackmail.”
  • On January 27th, Sally Yates is notified of Michael Flynn’s failure to register as a foreign agent of Turkey.
  • On February 9th, the Washington Post reported that Flynn and Kislyak did in fact discuss sanctions.
  • On February 10th, President Trump denies knowing about Flynn and Russia sanctions, despite the fact Yates warned the White House.
  • On February 13th, Flynn abruptly resigns,on the grounds that he had given “incomplete information” to Vice President Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with Kislyak.

The Trump administration tried to block Yates from testifying:

  • Sally Yates is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on March 28th, following Director Comey’s blockbuster testimony.
  • On March 24th, four days before Yates is to testify, House Intel Chairman Devin Nunesabruptly cancels the hearing. We later learn that the White House sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia. Sean Spicer denied that the White House had weighed in on the matter.
  • On March 28th, the Washington Post reports that the Justice Department told Yates earlier in March that she could not speak about Michael Flynn’s departure in a congressional hearing due to either attorney-client privilege or presidential communication privilege. Yates rebuffed these claims and said she would testify.

Trump kept Flynn on staff even after his WH counsel was warned that Flynn was likely compromised.

  • Even after Yates told the White House that Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail, the New Yorker reported that “Flynn remained an important player in national-security matters. ‘He was always in the room, and on every call. Each morning, Flynn attended Trump’s intelligence briefing — the President’s Daily Brief.”
  • During the transition when the call took place, Flynn was based in New York at Trump Tower and had constant access to Trump. Flynn and Jared Kushner had also secretly met with Ambassador Kislyak earlier in December in Trump Tower.
  • Flynn’s former colleagues believe he was acting on the direction of Trump .The New Yorker reported that “some of Flynn’s former military colleagues, even those from whom he’s drifted apart in recent years, told me they were skeptical that Flynn would have conducted shadow diplomacy on his own. Despite his reputation as an agitator, he was, in the end, a soldier who followed orders, they said. ‘This story is bigger than Mike Flynn,’ the senior military intelligence official said. “Who told Mike to go do this? I think somebody said, ‘Mike, you’ve got some contacts. Let them know it’s gonna be all right.’ Mike’s a soldier. He did not go rogue.”