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Tag Archives: Mike Flynn

Trump: Hillary Lied, Nothing Happened; Flynn Lied, They Ruined His Life

President Trump spoke briefly to the press this morning before leaving for Salt Lake City. He didn’t directly answer a question about Flynn, instead comparing his fate to that of Hillary Clinton:

I will say this: Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it’s a shame.

Hillary Clinton, on the Fourth of July weekend, went to the FBI, not under oath — it was the most incredible thing anyone has ever seen. She lied many times. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it’s like they ruined his life. It’s very unfair.

ABC News: Flynn Prepared to Testify Against Trump

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to a relatively minor charge of lying to the FBI in what appears almost certainly a deal to incentivize him to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

According to ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross:

He is prepared to testify, we are told by a confidant, against President Trump, against members to he Trump family, and others in the White House, He is prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate, Donald Trump, ordered him, directed him, to make contact with the Russians.

Despite all the excitement, National Review writer Andrew McCarthy, one of my favorite journalists and an actual former prosecutor, thinks the Flynn plea may not mean much. He writes:

As I explained in connection with George Papadopoulos (who also pled guilty in Mueller’s investigation for lying to the FBI), when a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his coconspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation.

That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime. A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime – he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

Honestly, I don’t think there was “collusion,” and I never have. But I do think it’s also possible that Mueller had Flynn plea to such a minor charge, even unrelated to the actual collusion case, because his information is valuable. But probably, not.

NYTs: Trump Asked Comey to End Flynn Investigation

I would imagine President Trump most likely did this because he had just fired former National Security Advisor Flynn and felt bad about it. Bad idea. I would also imagine, if this is true, that this is obstruction of justice, though I’m not a lawyer. And now, if there are tapes, the demands for them will cross all Party lines on Capitol Hill.

From the New York Times:

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

The White House, in a statement released to White House reporters, denied the allegation:

On background: While the President has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn. The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.

On background: Deputy Director McCabe said in his testimony last week that the WH had not interfered with any investigation.

Yates: I Warned Trump Attorney that Flynn Could be Blackmailed by Russia

From the Washington Post:

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates said Monday she warned the top lawyer in the White House that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia, and gave the White House a private warning “so that they could take action.’’

Testifying about her discussions in January with Trump administration officials, Yates gave her first public accounting of a conversation with White House counsel Donald McGahn that ultimately led to Flynn’s firing.

“We began our meeting telling him that there had been press accounts of statements from the Vice President and others that, related to conduct that General Flynn had been involved in, that we knew not to be the truth,” said Yates. “The vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the American public, and General Flynn was compromised by the Russians.’’

Though Yates would not discuss classified details of the Flynn matter, other people familiar with the matter said the issues she raised to McGahn were conversations between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which the two discussed easing U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Obama Warned Trump Not to Hire Flynn: Report

NBC News is reporting that Barack Obama warned President Trump against hiring Michael Flynn to be his national security advisor because he believed Flynn was not suitable for such a high-level post.

According to NBC:

The warning, which has not been previously reported, came less than 48 hours after the November election when the two sat down for a 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office.

The revelation comes on a day that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is expected to testify that Flynn misled the White House about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

NBC News has asked the Trump administration for a response.

Image: Barack Obama, Donald Trump
Obama and Trump shake hands following their meeting in the Oval Office on Nov. 10, 2016. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
According to all three former officials, Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn. The Obama administration fired Flynn in 2014 from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, largely because of mismanagement and temperament issues.

Obama’s warning pre-dated the concerns inside the government about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador, one of the officials said. Obama passed along a general caution that he believed Flynn was not suitable for such a high level-post, the official added.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said it shouldn’t be surprising that Obama would go after Flynn since there was “bad blood” between the two, given Flynn had been sharply critical of Obama’s lack of a strategy for fighting ISIS.

Flynn Would Testify if He Gets Immunity: Report

From the Washington Examiner:

President Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, is willing to testify to investigators in return for immunity, according to a report Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal cited officials in saying Flynn, through his attorney Robert Kelner, has made the offer to both the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees that are probing any possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In a statement from Kelner, he didn’t explicitly mention anything about testimony but said Flynn “certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”

Republicans Agree with Trump, will Probe Leaks

These are very serious leaks that are exposing U.S. intelligence gathering methods and that could involve an intentional effort to undermine an official whose views are quite contrary to those of Obama administration officials.

From the Washington Examiner:

House and Senate Republicans are following President Trump’s lead by demanding investigations into the damaging leaks that have been pouring out of the federal government since President Trump took office.

Leaks that exposed former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s phone call to the Russian ambassador in December, as well as conversations between Trump and foreign leaders, have frustrated Trump in his first few weeks in office. When Democrats pounced and said further investigations into the White House are warranted, Trump said the “real” issue is the leaks themselves.

“The real story here is why there are so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington,” Trump tweeted.

Republicans in Congress made it clear they are ready to oblige. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is drafting a letter to the FBI that will ask the bureau investigate the leaks.

Conway: Trump Has Full Confidence in Flynn

I assume President Trump was ready to say this at the press conference he just held with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, but no one asked.

From the Washington Examiner:

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said Monday the president’s embattled national security adviser continues to enjoy Trump’s full support despite a spate of reports suggesting he may have misled the vice president over his pre-inaugural contact with Russia.

“Gen. [Mike] Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president,” Conway said during an interview with MSNBC.

Flynn has come under fire for seemingly false statements he made to reporters and to Vice President Mike Pence about whether he discussed sanctions relief with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office.