Dispatch December 1, 2017

Flynn Indictment Questions and Details

Three things on Flynn:

  1. THIS IS COLLUSION. Directing Flynn to make contact with the Russians during the campaign is massive. It destroys Trump’s lies about having nothing to do with Russia.
  2. WHAT ELSE DID FLYNN LIE ABOUT? Here’s one possibility: on December 29, President Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia as punishment for their interference in the 2016 election. That same day, Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak exchanged five phone calls, suggesting they were coordinating something. What were they coordinating and was Flynn talking with his boss?  That same day, Putin announced that Russia would not retaliate – surprising nearly everyone and strongly suggesting that he expected something – such as sanctions relief once Trump became president – in return for standing down. What did Trump know and when did he know it? And did he tell Flynn to make this contact with the Russians this time as well?
  3. WHAT DOES FLYNN KNOW ABOUT KUSHER’S BACKCHANNEL? Flynn might also know the real story behind Kushner’s request to use the Russian embassy as a secret line of communication between top Trump officials and Moscow – because he was in that meeting.

More details:

Flynn lied to the FBI about contacts with the Russians – those contacts appear to include a coordinated effort with the Russian ambassador.

  • Flynn’s false statement about his December 22nd contact with Kislyak –regarding the UN resolution on Israeli settlements – is huge.
    • In that instance, Trump personally called Egyptian President Sisi to get the resolution changed or delayed and posted on his Facebook page saying it should be rejected before the vote. Now, we’ve learn that Flynn called Kislyak on December 22 to try to get the Russians to veto it.
    • It would only make sense that Trump directed Flynn to do that – with the likely participation of Kushner, who, as the WSJ article reports, was involved in the issue. Kushner has denied any wrongdoing.

Given that the second round of Kislyak calls about Russia sanctions were just a week later, it is impossible to believe that Flynn was simply acting on his own rather than following the same process as the UN calls.

  • On December 29, 2016, after President Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia, Flynn reportedly held five phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Kislyak.
    • The new sanctions included a move to expel Russian diplomats and close Russian-owned properties in the U.S. In a surprise move, Russian president Vladimir Putin “opts to do nothing.”
    • It has since been revealed that Flynn discussed these sanctions during his calls with Kislyak, assuring him that “the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.” This explains Putin’s lack of initial response to the sanctions.
  • Between January 14 and 15, 2017, Reince Priebus and Mike Pence denied that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed the issue of sanctions in December 2016; this was later revealed to be false, as indicated above.

Flynn was with Trump from beginning to the end of the campaign and into the administration.

  • In February 2016, Michael Flynn began advising Trump on various matters, including selecting a vice president. Flynn, who was paid to lobby for Turkish interests during his time on the campaign, also had strong ties to Russia. In December 2015, he was paid $45,000 to attend an RT gala in Moscow, where he sat at the same table as President Vladimir Putin and his chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov.
  • Flynn’s close relationship with Trump was evident when he was named as a potential choice for Vice President in July 2016.
  • Flynn was sworn in as national security advisor on January 22, 2017, during a ceremony over which Trump presided.
  • Flynn also had a prominent speaking role at the 2016 Republican National Committee Convention, where he led chants of “Lock Her Up”.

The day after Sally Yates reported Flynn, Trump asked Comey for a loyalty pledge – and a few days after that, Trump fired Yates.

  • On January 26, 2017, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates and another senior DOJ official warned the White House that Flynn’s denial of sanctions discussions with Kislyak may have been misleading. Flynn denied discussing sanctions with Kislyak in an interview on February 8 2017.
  • One day later, Trump asked Comey for a loyalty pledge. He refused.
  • Four days later, Yates was fired.
  • On February 14th, the day after Flynn’s resignation, Trump pressured FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn. Comey was subsequently fired in May.

Open and shut: this is collusion. Period. End of story.