Tag Archives: Michael Flynn

Yep, the Russians are laughing at us.

Donald J. Trump tweeted the following, apparently early this morning: “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”

It’s rare that I agree with the president, but I have to endorse part of the message he fired off today.

They’re laughing at us, Mr. President … just not for the reason you tried to articulate in this nonsensical Twitter message.

The Russians are laughing at the chaos they have created by hacking into our electoral system and by seeking to swing the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

To be fair, nothing has been proven — yet — about what they might have accomplished. However, every intelligence agency and expert in many countries agree with the premise that the Russians tried to influence the election.

Look at what has happened since Trump took the presidential oath.

The FBI has said it is investigating whether the Trump team colluded with the Russians; the president’s son-in-law has become the subject of another probe; the Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to examine the “Russia thing”; Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from anything to do with Russia; Michael Flynn was fired as national security adviser because he lied about his own Russian contacts.

They also might be chuckling and chortling over the president’s refusal to call the Russians out publicly for what all those intelligence agencies have concluded about their meddlesome ways.

Are the Russians laughing at us? You’re damn right they are!

It keeps getting deeper and darker for POTUS

The hits just keep on piling up on Donald John Trump.

The latest batch of them involves more media reporting that the president asked intelligence officials to push back on the FBI investigation into that “Russia thing.” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers said, um, “No can do.”

The FBI is looking into allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who were hacking into our electoral system, seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome — in Trump’s favor!

Trump keeps denying any collusion. Yet these reports keep piling up suggesting something quite different.

The Washington Post has reported this latest live grenade to blow up in the president’s face as he travels through the Middle East and Europe on his first overseas venture as leader of the free world.

A special counsel, Robert Mueller, already is on the job. Senate and House intelligence committees are at work as well in the hunt for the truth.

And, yes, so are the media — the scorned “enemy of the American people” and purveyors of “fake news.”

I am not going to predict with — as the late PBS talking head John McLaughlin would say — any “metaphysical certitude” that the president is heading straight for impeachment. But certain elements of the progression of events keep suggesting something such as that might occur.

Michael Flynn is going to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination as the FBI looks into the former national security adviser’s Russia involvement; former FBI director James Comey is going to talk publicly with congressional committees about memos he wrote chronicling some alleged attempts by Trump to obstruct justice; and Mueller is going to talk to a current senior White House aide who has been deemed a “person of interest” in this ongoing investigation.

Just think: Donald Trump’s time in the only political office he ever sought is just beginning.

Does the president still think invoking Fifth means guilt?

Donald J. Trump was simply outraged during the 2016 presidential campaign about Hillary Clinton’s aides invoking their constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Doing so, he said at the time, meant they likely were “guilty as hell” of committing a crime.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/politics/trump-campaign-staff-fifth-amendment-flynn/index.html

The issue had to do with Clinton’s e-mail controversy and other matters. Trump was running against Hillary for the presidency, which meant that such activity just made his case for him.

He is now the president. One of his former trusted aides, ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, is invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. He has refused to answer a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena. He has a lot of questions to answer about his relationship with the Russian government and whether he allegedly worked with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

Flynn was fired 24 days into his new job.

Does the president still think Flynn’s decision to invoke the Fifth mean he is “guilty as hell” of a crime? Well, do you, Mr. President?

Invoking the Fifth usually doesn’t imply innocence

What in the world are we to make of this bit of news, that former national security adviser Michael Flynn will reject a U.S. Senate committee subpoena and invoke his Fifth Amendment rights protecting him against self-incrimination?

Let me think. My takeaway is that Gen. Flynn doesn’t want the world to know certain things about, um, certain foreign governments.

Flynn’s role in the still-burgeoning controversy surrounding Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and its potential relationship with the Russian government has taken another, apparently far more serious, turn.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ap-source-says-flynn-will-invoke-fifth-amendment/ar-BBBowHX?li=BBnb7Kz

The Associated Press is reporting that Flynn won’t appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and that he’ll clam up under his constitutional protection.

If someone were to ask me, I’d say that he doesn’t want to say something that’s going to get him tossed into prison. What might that be?

Hmm. It might be that he did do something potentially illegal when he went to work for Turkey’s government, drawing a substantial stipend for the Turks as a lobbyist while also serving as the president’s national security adviser.

Gen. Flynn, who also served on Trump’s transition team, also might have said something to say about Russian officials who had worked to undermine the 2016 presidential election. There well might be some collusion between the Trump team and the Russians to be revealed … yes? Well, maybe.

Flynn also reportedly sought immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony after the president fired him as national security adviser.

I’m smelling something terribly foul. Do you smell it, too?

Turn the special counsel loose

If history is any guide, a special counsel investigation aimed at rooting out issues relating to the president of the United States and his alleged ties to Russia well could develop a life of its own.

Robert Mueller has been given the task of finding out whether Donald John Trump’s presidential campaign was complicit in Russian government efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election. He’s also going to examine possible links between a former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, to the Russians. Moreover, he has latitude to look into whether the president obstructed justice by “asking” former FBI Director James Comey to shut down a probe of Flynn’s ties to Russia.

Could there be even more to learn, beyond the official tasks given to Mueller — himself a former FBI director?

Mueller’s the man

We have some historical precedent to ponder.

Kenneth Starr once held the title of “independent prosecutor.” His duty in the 1990s was to look at a real estate venture involving President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Republican critics in Congress thought there were some shady circumstances that needed to be examined. Starr began poking around and discovered some evidence of a relationship between President Clinton and a young 20-something White House intern.

A federal grand jury summoned the president to testify. The president took an oath to tell the whole truth to the grand jury — and then he lied about his relationship.

Ah-hah! GOP House members then cobbled together an impeachment proceeding that charged the president with perjury and obstruction of justice. The House impeached the president. The Senate held its trial and he was acquitted.

Will history repeat itself? I have no clue. My guess is that special counsel Mueller doesn’t yet know where his probe will lead.

These matters do have a way of growing legs. The statute gives Mueller considerable leeway in his pursuit of the truth. The president cannot fire him; he can, though, order the Justice Department to do so. Let’s hope that Donald Trump resists that impulse. I know that’s a tall order, given the self-proclaimed joy he gets when he fires people.

But the Justice Department’s deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has picked a serious legal heavyweight to do some seriously heavy lifting.

It’s time now for Robert Mueller to get busy. Rapidly.

Is Rep. Chaffetz the GOP answer man on impeachment?

Given that I am a red-blooded American male, which means that I am wrong a good bit more than I am right, I will advance this notion with some trepidation.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz could emerge as the stand-up congressional Republican who gets his GOP caucus members to see the unvarnished truth behind the president of their party.

Donald J. Trump might be in some serious political trouble with what we’re hearing now about what he allegedly “asked” FBI Director James Comey to do; he reportedly suggested that Comey shut down an investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russian government officials.

Obstruction of justice, anyone?

So, where does Chaffetz fit into all of this?

He chairs the House Government and Oversight Committee. He has announced he will not seek re-election to his Utah congressional district seat in 2018. He is a lame duck. He has no more pandering to do to get elected. He need not worry about his “base” of supporters.

Chaffetz said this week he is preparing to ask to see a memo that Comey wrote after meeting with the president shortly after Trump fired Flynn from his national security adviser job. The memo reportedly is part of a meticulous paper trail that Comey has left that details conversations he had with the president.

There could be much more to this than we know about already. Chaffetz might want to see all that Comey wrote down and which now is in the FBI files, presumably locked away somewhere inside the J. Edgar Hoover Building. If the FBI has its former director’s memoranda, then it belongs to the public. Chaffetz, therefore, would seem to be entitled to see them as a representative of a committee charged with examining “government operations.”

Chaffetz is set to chart a new life for himself away from Congress. The timing of these revelations — and of the chairman’s decision to step away from the House — suggest to me that Chaffetz has far less to lose politically than other congressional leaders who have been unable or unwilling to take decisive action against the president.

Mr. Chairman, are you up to the task of rooting out the truth, no matter where it leads?

Timing well could spell doom for Trump

James Comey apparently prefers to write memoranda to record important events.

When the then-FBI director met with Donald J. Trump in the White House — and when the president allegedly “asked” Comey to shut down an investigation — Comey wrote it down.

This occurred in February. The Trump administration was just a few days old. Comey was looking into the activities involving the just-fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Fast-forward to this past week. Trump fired Comey from his job as FBI director.

So, is there a connection? Is there linkage between the president’s so-called “request” for Comey to end the Flynn probe and Comey’s dismissal? Are the events tied together?

It looks that way to me. Does it to you? You don’t have to answer.

This is where this latest blockbuster revelation gets its legs. This is how a conversation threatens to swallow the president of the United States.

There are many more dots to connect. What about the former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, who Trump also fired? She warned the president that Flynn could be blackmailed because he had some sort of connection with Russian government officials. Then she’s out! Is there linkage to that dismissal as well to what we are learning today about what the president reportedly sought from the FBI boss?

At this point, absolutely nothing — not a single thing — is going to surprise me as this story continues to evolve.

I will not predict the president is going to pay a hefty political price. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m out of the predicting business.

This story, however, ain’t lookin’ good for the president.

Can you say ‘obstruction of justice’?

OK, let’s take a quick look at a sequence of some troubling events.

* Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office as president of the United States.

* Twenty-four days later, he fires his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, because Flynn supposedly lied to the vice president about conversations he had with Russian government officials.

* The FBI starts looking at Flynn’s involvement with Russia.

* The president and FBI Director James Comey meet to discuss various matters and Trump then — allegedly — asks Comey to stop the investigation into Flynn, whom Trump describes as “a good guy.”

* Comey doesn’t do as Trump asks.

* Trump fires Comey as FBI director because, according to the president, he was spending too much time on the “Russia thing.”

Let me think. Does that sound like an obstruction of justice? It does to me.

I believe, dear reader, we just might have an impeachable offense on our hands.

For starters, Mr. POTUS, please explain the timing of Comey firing

This has been a big week in the presidency of Donald J. Trump, wouldn’t you agree?

The former acting attorney general of the United States, Sally Yates, testified Monday that she warned the Trump campaign about Michael Flynn’s association with Russian government officials.

Then on Tuesday, the president decided to fire FBI Director James Comey, whose agency is in the midst of investigating questions surrounding the former national security adviser.

The firing has shocked and stunned much of Washington, D.C., and — I venture to guess — much of the rest of the nation, too.

What in the world does one make of this?

Trump’s letter to Comey discusses something about his conduct regarding the Hillary Clinton e-mail matter that erupted 11 days before the presidential election. So … he waits until today — May 8 — to pull the trigger on Comey?

I don’t know about you, but something smells badly here. It stinks. It reeks.

There’s going to be some gnashing of teeth for a few days. Then what?

Here’s what I think ought to happen. I believe it is monumentally imperative that Congress — House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans — declare the need for an independent prosecutor to continue this Trump-Russia probe. There can be no hint, not a whiff, of bias in this investigation.

Comey told a congressional committee that his office was examining questions about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian government officials who — according to intelligence agencies’ assessment — sought to interfere with the 2016 election. Has any of it been proven? No, although the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, has said there appears to be something “more than circumstantial evidence” to pin the collusion charge on the Trump campaign.

Still, the investigation must continue. Can a Trump appointee as head of the FBI be trusted fully to do what he or she must do to root out the truth? Call me a skeptic — even a cynic, if you prefer — but I have grave doubts that the president is going to nominate a truly independent FBI director.

We’re hearing words like “Nixonian” to describe what Trump has just done. President Nixon fired the independent prosecutor who was zeroing in on the White House during the Watergate scandal. As we know, it didn’t work out well for the president, who quit his office just as the House of Representatives was preparing articles of impeachment against him.

This latest matter has taken a dramatic turn for sure.

It’s timing of this dismissal that has awakened a lot of Americans.

Mr. President, you need to explain yourself. Now!

Yates testimony deepens Flynn-Russia mystery

No one in Washington, D.C., likely thought Sally Yates was going to clear things up when she testified today about a former national security adviser and his relationship with the Russian government.

Oh, no. The former acting U.S. attorney general deepened the questions, heightened the intrigue and quite possibly opened some more doors of inquiry into this ongoing mess within the Trump administration.

At issue is former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general who last 24 whole days as Donald Trump’s right-hand man on national security issues. The president booted him after Flynn lied to Vice President Pence about conversations he had with Russian government officials.

Yates’ testimony, though, did reveal an interesting lapse of time: It took 18 days for the president to fire Flynn after learning about the general’s deception. Why did it take so long to let him go?

Flynn’s seat gets even hotter

Yates also told U.S. senators that Flynn’s conversations with the Russians — and his lying to the vice president — likely exposed him to blackmail. She said that’s a dangerous set of circumstances surrounding someone upon whom the president must rely for national security advice.

Oh, the web of intrigue continues to grow.

Yates stayed on after Donald Trump took office; she had been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve in the Justice Department, but then the new president asked her to stay on during his initial days in office. Then he fired her.

The Hill reports: “Reporting based on leaks of U.S. surveillance revealed in February that Flynn misled Vice President Pence about the contents of a December phone call to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — an account Pence was then repeating to the American people.”

There’s also this from The Hill: “‘We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this,’ Yates said Monday, referring to the revelation that Flynn misled Pence about the true content of the phone call with Kislyak. ‘The Russians also knew about what Gen. Flynn had done. The Russians also knew that Gen. Flynn had misled the vice president and others.

“’This was a problem because not only do we believe that the Russians knew this, but that they likely had proof of this information — and that created a compromise situation, where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians,’ she said.”

Do you think this Russia-Trump story is going away any time soon? Neither do I.

The FBI is examining this relationship. And of course there’s the question about collusion and whether the Trump campaign actually cooperated with Russian hackers who sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.

I believe I’m going to stay tuned to this drama as it plays out.