Tag Archives: Michael Flynn

Trump keeps stepping in it

Donald Trump now says he fired Michael Flynn because the former national security adviser lied to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence about what he said to Russian government officials.

He fired off — that’s right — another series of tweets about this matter. Previously, he had said he canned Flynn because of lies he allegedly told Pence; the FBI was not part of the narrative Trump was pushing when Flynn was let go.

Now it is. Go figure, eh?

I keep wondering when the president is going to inflict a mortal political wound with these careless Twitter tirades.

According to The Hill: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted while traveling in New York City for fundraising events.

Trump also stressed “there was nothing to hide!”

“It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” he added.

Here is the story from The Hill

Here’s my question: When in the world has a president of the United States ever gotten so entangled and entwined in an ongoing criminal investigation?

What in the name of “acting presidential” is Trump going to listen to anyone who might be advising him to keep his trap shut when it regards this matter?

Then again, the more he yaps and yammers about it, the deeper he keeps digging the proverbial hole.

Network does well to police itself

I am quite certain Donald John “Fake News Maven” Trump is going to crow like a rooster over this bit of news.

Let’s try to put this into a bit of perspective.

ABC News has suspended veteran correspondent Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for reporting erroneously on the Michael Flynn guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump transition team.

It might be that Ross will be canned soon. You see, this isn’t the first time Ross has stepped in it on the air. In 2012, he reported that a suspect in the Aurora, Colo., massacre was a member of the Colorado TEA Party; he wasn’t.

ABC takes care of problem

But here’s my point: ABC is doing its due diligence in policing its personnel. It’s what responsible media companies do, despite the howls we’re going to hear from those on the far right about “fake news.”

Ross went on the air to report falsely that “candidate” Donald Trump had instructed Flynn to make contact with Russian government officials. Actually, that instruction came after Trump had been elected president; thus it came from the president-elect, which is a significant difference from it coming from a mere presidential candidate.

ABC said its reporter had failed to check his sources adequately and that he “fell far short” of the standards the network has set for its reporting staff.

I accept that mea culpa as sufficient evidence that the network has taken ownership of its mistake.

As for Ross, who carries the title of “chief investigative reporter” for ABC News, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised — or disappointed — if he is shown the door at the network.

This kind of mistake — and the sanction that has followed it — are going to tar Ross’s work for as long as he continues to pursue what many of us still consider to be an honorable craft.

Dare we say, ‘Lock him up’?

It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

He has pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the FBI about when and with whom he met with the Russian government. He faces a possible prison sentence — once he finishes cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into that “Russia thing.”

I doubt he’ll serve prison time. But that’s just me. Whether he remains free or in behind bars might depend on the quality of the goods he delivers to Mueller’s team of legal eagles.

However, Flynn now is being cast in a curious role in this probe. He stands to become the star witness for the special counsel’s office in its search for answers into whether the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government that hacked into our 2016 presidential election process.

Here’s the juxtaposition that cannot be ignored:

Flynn stood at the podium in the summer of 2016 during the Republican National Convention and led the GOP faithful into that ghastly chant “Lock her up!” — the reference being aimed at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her use of her personal e-mail service while she was serving as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

I use the term “ghastly” because such conduct was totally unbecoming of a man with a distinguished military career who morphed into a leading politician’s national security adviser. Flynn, though, took the low road in that preposterous display.

Will this guy be locked up? Will he get the kind of punishment he urged for a political foe?

It’s tempting to shout “Lock him up!” I won’t do it, though.

Oh, wait! Maybe I just did.

Is the vise tightening around White House?

Robert Mueller has just landed another big fish in his search for the truth.

The special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to look into the “Russia thing” appears now to have reeled in a three-star witness to help learn a great deal about Donald John Trump’s relationship with the Russian government.

He is retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the one-time national security adviser to the president. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials. In exchange he has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s legal team as it pores through a growing pile of evidence.

Mueller already has secured an indictment of former campaign chief Paul Manafort and a chief deputy; former campaign aide George Papadopoulos has copped a guilty plea as well.

Now it’s Flynn’s turn to sing.

As the Washington Post reports: With the guilty plea Friday by former national security adviser Michael Flynn — one of Trump’s closest and most valued aides — the investigation has swept up an array of figures with intimate knowledge of the campaign, the transition and the White House.

It appears to have swiftly expanded beyond Russia’s interference in the campaign to encompass a range of activities, including contacts with Russian officials during the transition and alleged money laundering that took place long before Trump ran for office.

Where does Mueller go from here?

I, of course, am in no position to predict what will happen next, or beyond the next step. My gut — along with my trick knee — are telling me that Mueller’s investigation well might be getting close to pay dirt.

Here’s hoping the president has the good sense to let him stay on the hunt. I mean, Donald Trump keeps saying there’s nothing to any of it … right?

What? Flynn is turning on Trump? Who knew?

While many of us were eating turkey and getting prepped for today’s shopping mayhem, a bit of news came to light back east.

It seems that former national security adviser Michael Flynn might be turning “state’s witness” in the ongoing probe into whether Donald John Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian hackers who sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn held his national security job for 24 whole days at the start of the Trump administration. Then he got canned because he didn’t tell the truth about what he said to whom about meeting with Russian government officials during the campaign.

The New York Times is reporting that Flynn — a retired U.S. Army three-star general — is no longer talking with the Trump legal team and well might be starting to cooperate with the legal eagles working with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Read the Times story here.

The Flynn story sickens me at a couple of levels. First of all, I didn’t like that he had been appointed national security adviser in the first place. He assumed a highly political role during the Trump campaign. In my mind, he sullied and soiled a brilliant military career by standing in front the GOP convention two summers ago leading the “Lock her up!” chants against Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The man clearly knows plenty about what the Trump campaign did in regard to the Russian hackers. Mueller is pursuing the truth methodically and meticulously. Will the former national security boss provide him with the silver bullet that pierces the armor surrounding the president and his inner circle?

I don’t expect this investigation to accelerate in speed. Mueller’s reputation as a patient prosecutor likely will preclude any rush to judgment.

However, it’s hard — for me — to disbelieve the notion that if Gen. Flynn is working with Mueller’s team that a major development in this probe is likely to explode.

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.