“There are some serious legal implications here, but it has nothing to do with partisan politics. I mean, the leak of highly classified information by what is apparent here — a number of individuals inside our intelligence community — is the illegal act that I think we need to review.” — Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana
When the accusation came in July 2016 that the Trump Campaign had been in contact with the Russian government — it was an odd bit of news. Later, it got even weirder, with a scandalous tabloid style sensational dossier — complete with sex, money, blackmail, and deep intrigue.
While it makes for a good Tom Clancy novel, in the real world it’s just another conspiracy theory.
However, in the recent weeks(!) of the Trump Administration, the details around his Campaigns involvements with the Russian Government have continued to come to light. Unlike the splashy dossier, they are based in traceable fact.
Fact: Michael T. Flynn, the now former national security adviser, and Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States discussed the Sanctions against the Russia, imposed by the Obama Administration. The conversations in question were pulled from wiretaps.
Fact: Flynn is not the first Trump associate to be forced to resign/were fired over inappropriate links and interactions with the Russian Governement. Both Carter Page and Paul Manafort were cut loose — but only AFTER news stories, backed-up with tangible evidence made their situations unexplainable even with supportive bias.
Fact: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Republican National Committee (RNC) were hacked by Russian state actors. Only DNC data was released. This is proven by forensic records collected by the FBI.
Fact: Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy Russian foreign minister, admitted that there was communications between Russian officials and Trump’s campagin team. Again, this is documented by hard taps, and phone records.
Fact: The White House, much the same way that Nixon did, is denying everything — but without evidence to the contrary, and specifically avoiding providing any co-operation.
Fact: In 2008 at a real estate investor conference in New York, Trump Jr. reported that “the Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our [Trump Inc.] assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” This was a recorded statement, as was Trump Sr.’s statement declaring that he and his organization had no financial ties to Russia. It is also backed up by public domain records — both in Russia and the US.
It’s possible to go much deeper on speculation, however when there is this much fact, there really isn’t a reason to reach for the scandalous alligations.
The disturbing part is, there is most likely far much more going on than we the people can, and will be allowed to see. Worse still, even as hard evidence is laid out in front of us — the Administration and it’s supporters in on The Hill still attempt to tell us it’s all a set up. Just like Nixon’s adminstration did.
Both Trump and his GOP supporters are trying desperately to place the focus of attention on the Justice Department, as well as the Intelligence community “leaking” information. Logic would suggest that if Justice & the IA can not be “trusted” with such a task due to leaks, that a Special Investigator should be appointed.
The only problem with that is that Special Investigators have been highly efficient in the past years at destroying or damaging Presidencies. Just look at Nixon, Clinton, and Bush. The GOP leadership is very aware of this, and unlike the Democratically controlled 104th Congress which supported a Special Investigation lead by Kenneth Starr, the Republican controlled 115th Congress has no desire to roll the dice — being very vocal that all of this is nothing to worry about.
There are two ways an Administration could handle this, let an impartial investigation occur, or attempt to distract us all with alligations of fake news while they rush an “investigation” through controlled channels.
Obviously they have chosen the latter:
“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked, … It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on. And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.” — Donald Trump
The thing that is most disturbing, is just how unstable this Administration’s actions & comments have been around Flynn’s behavior. Here is a timeline that demonstrates that:
18DEC2016 to 30DEC2016 — Flynn is in contact with Kislyak, on multiple occasions. These conversations are captured. He discusses the sanctions and asks the Ambassador for Russia not to take immediate action. This is not a passing topic — but an offer of assistance.
12JAN2017 — David Ignatius writes that Flynn had spoken to the Russians. The transition team denies, it, crying “fake news.”
16JAN2017 — FBI Director Comey is informed of the captured information formally, collaborating the Igantius story. He does not act on it until…
22JAN2017 — Comey sends agents the White House to interview Flynn, who lies to them. Flynn is asked again by Spicer, as well as Pence if this is true — he once again lies.
26JAN2017 — Acting Attorney General Sally Yates delivered evidence of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador to Don McGahn, Trump’s White House counsel, who does not share it with Vice President Pence. “The White House counsel informed the president immediately” White House spokesman clarified on 14FEB2017, however.
09FEB2017 — Vice President Pence is made aware of the intelligence capture detailing Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador concerning the lifting of sanctions.
10FEB2017 — As additional details come out about Flynn’s conduct during the week, on Friday a USA Today reporter asks Trump about what he knows about the intellegence report. Trump responds “I haven’t seen them. I’ll look into them” — later Spicer will say that he is referring to a story from the Washington Post, which was never mentioned by the USA Today reporter.
13FEB2017 AM Kellyanne Conway, White House counselor: “…Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president.”
13FEB2017— White House states that Flynn was asked to resign because of his conduct by misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his conversations with a Russian diplomat.
14FEB2017 — Kellyanne Conway, White House counselor: Mike Flynn had decided it was best to resign. He knew he had become a lightning rod and he made that decision…” “That fact is what became unsustainable, actually. I think misleading the vice president really was the key here. And I spoke with the president this morning. He asked me to speak on his behalf and to reiterate that Mike Flynn had resigned.”
14FEB2017 — Sean Spicer states: “We’ve been reviewing and evaluating this issue with respect to General Flynn on a daily basis for a few weeks trying to ascertain the truth. We got to a point not based on a legal issue but based on a trust issue where the level of trust between the president and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he [Trump] had to make a change,”
15FEB2017 — President Trump states: “[Flynn has] been treated very, very unfairly by the media, by documents and papers that were illegally — I’d stress that, illegally — leaked.”
For nearly a month after the Adminstration was informed, Flynn continued to serve, — attending and running the National Security Council — after the administration was made aware of his misconduct and lies. Only when the story breaks to the public that he did indeed have imporper contact with a Russian state actor, does the Administration act — flopping between stories that Flynn had been asked to leave, that Flynn had decided to leave.
If what exact fate befell Flynn is not clear, it is even more confused if the real issue was that that he lied to Pence, that Trump didn’t trust him (but let him serve on the most sensitive committee this nation has …) or if it was the evil fact mongering media, in concert with Whistle Blowers in the Intelligence community that lead to his downfall.
While there is currently no evidence that Trump is directly colluding with Russia, and/or being blackmailed or bribed, it is impossible to see the constant connections, incidents, and puzzling actions involving the Nation as simple coincidence.
The facts of the matter, in just the Flynn incident point to enough of a mismanagement of basic statecraft that they demand oversight and investigation — much the same way that it did with Nixon, Clinton, and Bush. When an Administration fumbles a subject so consistently and treats the public with such open and naked condescension, history has shown us that something is very wrong.
We’ve moved beyond a conspirancy theory to conspiracy fact. Indeed, Flynn was engaged in “the action of plotting or conspiring,” with a Russian state actor and then lied/mislead those who asked for the truth.
It’s time to start digging and stop accepting excuses that are more concerned with getting caught as opposed to covering up wrong doing in the first place.
The real meat of this entire issue is why Flynn reached out to the Russian Ambassador in the first place, and why he asked him to not react to the sanctions that Obama put into place. More than why he did, who asked him to is a fair point to investigate. His actions and his requests all would fit into a context of offering assistance, or currying favor with an openly hostile nation.
Why this happened is the question we need to look into — not how he was caught, or who asked him to leave.