Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Russia Story Does Not End with Michael Flynn

I hate to say it, but the chaos reigning in the White House in the wake of  Der Trumpenführer's purported request for the resignation of National Security adviser Michael Flynn doesn't surprise me. There were plenty of signs well before the 2016 election and then the inauguration that Flynn was dirty.  The issue now, of course, is what did Der Trumpenführer know and when did he know it.  Or, worse yet, did Flynn act with Der Trumpenführer's direction and/or approval.  For those not in the know, the Washington Post reported as follows today:
Michael Flynn, the national security adviser to President Trump, resigned late Monday over revelations about his potentially illegal contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and his misleading statements about the matter to senior Trump administration officials.
Flynn stepped down amid mounting pressure on the Trump administration to account for its false statements about Flynn’s conduct after The Washington Post reported Monday that the Justice Department had warned the White House last month that Flynn had so mischaracterized his communications with the Russian diplomat that he might be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.
A piece in Esquire looks at why investigations MUST take place and not be limited to the conduct of Flynn. The Russian contacts and possible collusion of Der Trumpenführer and others in his Hitleresque regime all need to be investigated.  I would love to be proven wrong, but my gut tells me that we have a traitor in the office of the presidency. Only an independent investigation with subpoena powers will resolve the questions.  Here are highlights of the Esquire piece:
This, for example, from The Washington Post, is a legitimate bombshell.
The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said. The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that ­Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice ­President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the information. In the waning days of the Obama administration, James R. Clapper Jr., who was the director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the CIA director at the time, shared Yates's concerns and concurred with her recommendation to inform the Trump White House. They feared that "Flynn had put himself in a compromising position" and thought that Pence had a right to know that he had been misled, according to one of the officials, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
And, by 11 o'clock Monday night, Michael Flynn had resigned. What that means about his ongoing relationship with the president*, of course, is anybody's guess.
A couple of things. First, Sally Yates turns out to be an even bigger hero than we thought she was when she made the stand that got her fired on the immigration order. (And, one wonders what else was up with that now, too.) Second, I know it's hard to believe either Clapper or Brennan as far as you can throw a federal courthouse, but they had absolutely no reason to align themselves with Yates' concerns except out of a legitimate concern for the national security. Third, anyone fantasizing about what it would take to get the president* out of the White House and back on NBC where he belongs now has to factor in that Mike Pence is tainted by this dangerous nonsense, too.
At the very least, as people from Indiana warned us, the man is a dolt. Per the Post:
For Yates and other officials, concerns about the communications peaked in the days after the Obama administration on Dec. 29 announced measures to punish Russia for what it said was the Kremlin's interference in the election to help Trump. After the sanctions were rolled out, the Obama administration braced itself for the Russian retaliation. To the surprise of many U.S. officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Dec. 30 that there would be no response. Trump praised the decision on Twitter. Intelligence analysts began to search for clues that could help explain Putin's move. The search turned up Kislyak's communications, which the FBI routinely monitors, and the phone call in question with Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general with years of intelligence experience. From that call and subsequent intercepts, FBI agents wrote a secret report summarizing ­Flynn's discussions with Kislyak. Yates, then the deputy attorney general, considered Flynn's comments in the intercepted call to be "highly significant" and "potentially illegal," according to an official familiar with her thinking.
OK, so nobody's ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act. Still, the idea that this walking hunk of kompromat was the National Security Advisor for as long as he was beggars belief.
There is the simple fact that nobody in this White House seemed to know fck-all about how to handle this situation. It is also a problem for democracy to have the unelected bureaucrats of the intelligence community at war with an elected president, no matter what you think of the president* or how he got elected. Sooner or later, I fear, the military's going to get dragged into this fiasco and that will make things immeasurably worse.
It was more than simply time for Flynn to go. It's time for the country to know everything about the involvement of Russia in the 2016 presidential election, if only to clear the air so somebody can govern the country. It's time for a halt to the bombardment so we can all get the lay of the land again, if and when the smoke ever clears.

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