Documented liar and probable federal criminal Michael Flynn, one of Donald Trump’s “best people” who was his National Security Adviser, resigned yesterday after his deceit over violating The Logan Act was exposed in the press.
The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799 ) is a United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.
Flynn made five calls to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak on December 29, 2016, the day that President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia in response to their hacking the DNC and Democrats to manipulate the 2016 election.
On that day, Trump was still just another citizen of the U.S. as was Flynn, they were not authorized by law to contact any foreign government to negotiate anything. Doing so would violate The Logan Act.
So Flynn, who led a call at the RNC this year of “Lock Her Up!” against Hillary Clinton for using a mail server because he claimed it could have (but it didn’t) compromised national security, has provably compromised national security. Hypocrisy should always be expected among Republican politicians.
Proving he shouldn’t be considered to be anywhere near the word “intelligence”, Flynn talked to Kislyak on an unsecured line with someone that our intelligence agencies would naturally be spying on. He discussed removing the new sanctions Obama had announced that day then, as the current version of the story now goes, lied to Mike Pence and others in the Trump administration, saying all he discussed with Kislyak was regarding Christmas wishes and setting up calls for the future.
Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General who Trump fired after she refused to defend his Muslim-banning Executive Order, had notified Trump and his team that Flynn was compromised because of these calls (she knew the content of them and it wasn’t “Jingle Bells”) and could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
And what did Trump do? He still nominated him for National Security Adviser and had Flynn confirmed in that position.
Much bigger questions are arising out of this situation and especially because Trump and his team have been so deferential towards Vladimir Putin and Russia.
Would Flynn have contacted the Russian ambassador without Trump or anyone on his team knowing about it? And after making those calls, would Flynn have just gone to sleep in his Stalin print pajamas? Or might he have instead contacted Trump to say, “Mission accomplished!”
It’s so early in this coverup but it is a coverup. The first provable one begins with Flynn but it would be hard to swallow that it will end there. For that matter, wouldn’t Trump’s nomination of Flynn, knowing through the acting Attorney General beforehand that Flynn had criminally violated The Logan Act but never informing The Senate, be a de facto coverup?
And going back to the actual crime, are we to believe that Trump’s “employee” didn’t act on instructions from his boss or at the very least, didn’t inform him of red-hot information that his boss needed to know?
Mindful of the curse of fake news, please regard the following as solely a subjective opinion (even though it is also common sense): Trump knew. He knew about the calls, he knew about what was discussed and perhaps because Trump himself is compromised by Putin and Russia in one way or another (maybe now we will get to see his tax returns…as evidence in a critical investigation?), he nominated a candidate for National Security Adviser that he knew to be a liar and betrayed the laws of the United States.
It is very interesting to consider why Trump wouldn’t have been shocked to hear from the Attorney General that Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador in a violation of U.S. law. What would such a brilliant boss like Trump do if he found out a potential employee lied to him about going behind his back and negotiating on his own with Russia? Say, “You’re hired!”? Does that make any sense?
Add to this, another interesting tidbit:
After the Nov. 8 election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency that the Russian government was in touch with members of Trump’s political team during the U.S. election campaign and knew most of his entourage.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Trump declined to answer whether anyone connected to him or the campaign had contact with Moscow during the campaign and said he had no loans or business deals with or in Russia.
There have been some stories recently questioning the silence that’s followed the Russians interfering with our election. Such an outrageous and unprecedented invasion of our democracy by a dictatorial country that sees us as an enemy and yet after the inauguration, the story of this attack on our country seemed to dissolve away in the press.
Looking back, there have been a plethora of warning signs about Trump’s odd-sounding enthusiasm about Russia:
- Trump’s man-love towards Putin during the campaign and touting him as a better leader than President Obama
- Trump attacking Senator John McCain for being a POW, A Gold Star family, even The Pope but never had anything but praise for Putin
- Bringing on Paul Manafort as his campaign manager who worked for Putin’s regime and convinced the RNC to insert a plank in its platform supporting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Trump’s normalizing of the charge that Putin is a killer (trying to absolve him by claiming America had done bad things too and responding to Putin’s killing of journalists by saying, “At least he’s a leader unlike what we have in our country.” )
- Putin announcing publicly that he supported Trump’s presidential bid
- Russia admitting being in contact with Trump during the campaign
- Trump nominated Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, ex CEO of Exxon who built his career working with Russia for Exxon and has deep ties to Putin and Russia as well as having had Exxon lobby to remove sanctions against Russia.
- Michael Flynn, who had dinner at a table with Putin at RT’s (Russia Today, the Russian state-owned propaganda channel) 10th anniversary, who happily appeared multiple times on RT and didn’t fully disclose the hundreds of thousands he’d been paid in Russia for “speaking fees”…being Trump’s top intelligence advisor and pick for National Security Adviser
One would have to be blind not to see an obvious pattern here.
And isn’t it interesting that Trump nominated a candidate for what may be the most important intelligence position in government, who he knows has betrayed U.S. law and was ripe for being blackmailed by Russia for doing so, while angrily making the case to the country that his Muslim ban is critical to protect the country? Trump insists that he has to do harsh things because the country’s safety comes first…yet he nominates to one of the highest intelligence positions, someone who he’s been warned could become a Russian puppet?
Instead of just assuming Trump is also compromised by Russia, as I think the facts seem to argue, how about considering a scenario of how someone who wasn’t under Russia’s thumb, would behave?
Okay, let’s say you had a radical, outsider President who claims that the U.S. needs draconian measures to keep out enemies of the U.S.. How would someone who was not compromised respond when they found out that someone they wanted for a top intelligence position was compromised by a historical enemy of the U.S. and who had just meddled in U.S. elections to control the outcome? Would they just go ahead and nominate him anyway? If they really were independently minded and wanted to protect the U.S. from external threats?
Trump’s behavior is incompatible with someone who opposes the potential of Russian influence over our government. And the only reason Flynn is out now? It’s only because the press exposed this story. Trump and friends already knew all of this before Flynn was nominated and it didn’t deter them.
This changes everything. Trump will no doubt try to obliterate the focus on Russia’s influence over him and his administration with some new outrageous Executive Orders, Twitter attacks, etc.
But it sure seems that these now-familiar tactics may not be strong enough to accomplish their goals due to the severity of this issue. And might not every outrageous action he takes now be seen through the lens of his apparent complicity with Putin’s goals?
If you’re in a pool on how long it might take until Trump is impeached, you may be more optimistic today if you’ve got picks that are a matter of months instead of years.
As for Flynn…dasvidania!