I understand the frustration at so-called “Russiagaters” driving your argument Caitlin, but there are a couple of interesting facts and damning circumstantial points you’re leaving out, the omission of which just “happens” to help your argument:
1) If Flynn’s conduct was mundane “process”, there would have been no reason for him to lie to the FBI and the White House would not have felt the need to send Mike Pence out on the Sunday morning talk shows to deny allegations that the incoming administration had affected Russia’s response to Obama’s sanctions.
2) Flynn’s guilty plea directly contradicts the White House narrative that he was acting on his own initiative. The fact that he was given orders brings the question raised in point #1 above deeper into the White House, and must be asked of Jared Kushner, Reince Preibus, KT McFarland, Sean Spicer, and Mike Pence. Unless those people magically developed procedural disrespect for a very demanding and micromanaging boss it is logically ludicrous to suggest or believe the President wasn’t at least informed about what was going on, if not actively directing it. That ties the dishonesty and coordinating activity directly to the President himself, and the same question raised in point #1 above must be asked of him.
3) Regardless of past practice, the President’s transition was specifically directed and agreed not to interfere with President Obama’s policy moves while he was still in office. They wouldn’t have been wandering in a violation of the Logan Act without far warning.
4) All the lying and doing the opposite of what has been promised raises the issue of consciousness of guilt. If one is not up to something shady it’s becoming increasingly ludicrous to craft a credible explanation for contradicting the Obama administration, for lying about talking to Kislyak about sanctions, for firing Comey, for bragging to the Russians about firing Comey, for the June 2016 meeting in the Tower, for the President’s personal involvement in drafting a misleading response to news of the 2016 meeting, for Jared leaving out 100 contacts in Russians on his security forms, for Jeff Sessions lying about having contacts with Russians, Sessions “forgetting” that Carter Page specifically told him he was about to travel to Russia, and for George Papadopoulos directly informing the President and his campaign foreign policy team that he could get dirt on Hillary Clinton through the Russians. If none of this is out of the ordinary then why does everyone lie about or claim to have no recollection about anything to with Russia until they’re faced with conflicting facts? Russia is the common thread in all this dishonesty and forgetfulness. If I’m a police officer and I check your apartment and you won’t let me check your closet it looks weird. If you keep denying that you killed your roommate and saying there’s nothing in the closet it looks weird. If I get a look in that closet and find your dead roommates body it’s kinda too late to say your forgot it was there or the real problem was a process violation that you failed to report a dead body. I have to assume you know something about why the body is not only in there, but dead.
5) Finally, your observation asking about why didn’t Russia veto the U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements is superficially fair, but strict conformity is not how coordinated relationships can or even should work. Russia declines to do stuff we ask of them all the time, and vice versa. Doesn’t mean we can’t coordinate on certain issues. Not every relationship matches the lockstep nature of our “special relationship” with the U.K. The now-President himself was getting advised by Wikileaks through Jared. He still declined to give Wikileaks a copy of his tax returns like they asked? Does that mean they weren’t working together? The President has proven unable to unwind American sanctions on Russia. Does that mean that aren’t working together. There are good reasons Russia would have declined to vote down the U.N. resolution, namely that it would be completely out of the ordinary for them, would have directly contradicted a historic political move by the United States. The atypical nature of the move would have raised even more suspicions on Putin, as any reasonable reporter would want to know WHY Russia suddenly cares about opposing the US on Israeli-Palestinian conflict and unilaterally making Middle East peace nearly impossible. It would have been impossible to cover up the tracks that someone else influenced Putin to influence the vote. For all our intelligence community knows about what he did in our election, how and why, Putin himself still tries to operate from a stance of plausible deniability. Getting involved at the U.N. shatters that.