Dispatch December 6, 2018

The Pence/Flynn Cover Story Continues To Unravel

Yesterday we shared our analysis of why the Flynn sentencing memo pointed to a quid pro quo with Russia—and warned that Vice President Mike Pence should be worried. That’s because the memo further debunks one of the Trump administration’s most obvious Russia-related lies: their cover story on why Flynn resigned.

Here’s the official “lying to Pence” story, as recounted by Bob Woodward in Fear:

If that’s true, that means not only Pence, but Reince Priebus and Don McGahn also saw the transcripts of Flynn and Kislyak’s phone calls—which should have raised serious concerns.

  • According to Mueller, those phone calls, and Flynn’s lies about them, weren’t just about sanctions during the transition; they were “material to the FBI’s investigation into … links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”
  • That strongly suggests that phone calls were part of a quid pro quo for Russia’s help during the campaign.
  • That also helps explain Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’s warnings to McGahn, where she expressed concerns not just about Flynn’s lies, but the “underlying conduct” on the phone calls that left the national security adviser compromised.

Yet, we got a cover story that Flynn resigned after lying to Pence. And that doesn’t make sense.

So, three questions for Pence as this story continues to unravel:

  1. What exactly did Pence, Priebus, and McGahn see in the transcripts?
  2. Who directed the cover-up, and how?
  3. Who else knew about the contents of Flynn’s phone calls—and when did they know it?