Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

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jserraglio
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Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:31 am

The Donald wrote:SEE YOU IN COURT
This part of the Trump tweet may have unintended results as info about Russian interference in the 2016 election continues to dribble out. Could the "court" Trump is referring to turn out to be the U.S. Senate? Will he eventually have to confront his accusers in that court?
________________________

CNN Reports
US investigators have corroborated some aspects of the Russia dossier on Trump, namely that conversations between foreign national connected to Russia did take place. Apparently, they have intercepts of these contacts.
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/10/polit ... index.html

Washington Post & New York Times Reports:
Separately, the Wash. Post reports that Mike Flynn has changed his story. Flynn now states that he can't remember if he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador as Obama was about to impose new sanctions on Russia for interfering with the election. The matter may have come up he now says, leaving Mike Pence, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer (all of whom vouched for his denial) high and dry, Two days after Obama imposed sanctions, in a puzzling move, Putin declined to respond with retaliatory sanctions of his own. Was that because Flynn had assured the Russian ambassador that the new administration would rescind the new sanctions when they go into office? This question is now under investigation by both law enforcement and the Congress.

But buried in that Post story and in a later NYT story is a potential bombshell:
Washington Post wrote:The talks were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and [Ambassador] Kislyak that began before the November 8 election and continued during the transition, officials said. [emphasis added]
NY Times wrote:...current and former American officials said that conversation — which took place the day before the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over accusations that it used cyberattacks to help sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — ranged far beyond the logistics of a post-inauguration phone call. And they said it was only one in a series of contacts between the two men that began before the election and also included talk of cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State, along with other issues. [emphasis added]
Did Flynn or other members of Trump's team collaborate before the election with the Russians who were helping Trump and discrediting Clinton? If so, according to Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating this matter, they have broken a number of laws and should resign or be fired:
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watc ... 4922563593
Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:28 am, edited 4 times in total.

lennygoran
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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:41 am

Oops, I just replied to this in the other thread-didn't realize you had started a new thread--anyway my reply there was this:

"Wonder if the Republicans will allow an investigation to continue or will Adam Schiff and others be stymied in attempts to bring out the facts?" Regards, Len

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:53 am

lennygoran wrote:Oops, I just replied to this in the other thread-didn't realize you had started a new thread--anyway my reply there was this:"Wonder if the Republicans will allow an investigation to continue or will Adam Schiff and others be stymied in attempts to bring out the facts?" Regards, Len
Bi-partisan so far, as was the Watergate investigation which this one reminds me of with its nexus of the media, FBI, the courts and the House of Representatives.
Today, [Jan 28] House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and Ranking Member Adam Schiff released the following statement:

For many years, one of the House Intelligence Committee’s highest priorities has been to oversee the Intelligence Community’s activities to counter Russian aggression, including the cyber-attacks directed against the United States in the last year.

As part of this oversight responsibility, the Committee has been undertaking a bipartisan inquiry of these activities and the underlying intelligence used to draft the Intelligence Community Assessment, “Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”.

While the Committee has already begun to receive important documents, we trust that the incoming leadership of the Intelligence Community will fully and promptly support our requests for information related to the inquiry. It will not be adequate to review these documents, expected to be in the thousands of pages, at the agencies. They should be delivered to the House Intelligence Committee to provide members adequate time to examine their content.

The scope of the Committee’s inquiry has included, and will continue to include:

- Russian cyber activity and other “active measures” directed against the U.S. and its allies;
- Counterintelligence concerns related to Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, including any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns;
- The United States Government response to these Russian active measures and any impact they may have on intelligence relationships and traditional alliances; and
- Possible leaks of classified information related to the Intelligence Community’s assessments of these matters.

This issue is not about party, but about country. The Committee will continue to follow the facts wherever they may lead.

http://intelligence.house.gov/news/docu ... mentID=758

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:01 am

jserraglio wrote: Bi-partisan so far,
Thanks. Regards, Len [fingers crossed]

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:25 am

lennygoran wrote:
jserraglio wrote: Bi-partisan so far,
Thanks. Regards, Len [fingers crossed]
Schiff is a careful former prosecutor. He is not likely to stir up partisan rancor. But if, and that's a big if at this point, Flynn can be connected to Russian efforts to influence the election during the campaign, he may be indictable. If that were to happen, the question would become the Watergate question: What did Donald Trump know during the campaign and when did he know it?"

For Trump's presidency, these may be perilous times, and I'm not sure he even is aware of the danger. Best way out for Trump right now might be to fire Flynn for misleading Pence and Priebus and hope Flynn doesn't turn around and say, "the President-elect was the one who authorized me to speak to the Russian ambassador about sanctions".

NBC News is reporting today that the Ruskies wanna turn over Snowden to the US as a "gift" to Trump. The plot thickens.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/rus ... al-n718921
If true, that might actually feed the Flynn story by making even more folks suspect that Trump was somehow in cahoots with the Russians before the election to rig the election. Is this in effect a proposed payoff by Russia to Trump? Or simply a ploy by Putin to sow more discord and create more chaos? The next few months could turn out to be one bumpy ride for The Donald.

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:37 am

jserraglio wrote:But if, and that's a big if at this point, Flynn can be connected to Russian efforts to influence the election during the campaign, he may be indictable. If that were to happen, the question would become the Watergate question: What did Donald Trump know during the campaign and when did he know it?" For Trump's presidency, these may be perilous times, and I'm not sure he even is aware of the danger. Best way out for Trump right now might be to fire Flynn for misleading Pence and Priebus and hope Flynn doesn't turn around and say, "the President-elect was the one who authorized me to speak to the Russian ambassador about sanctions".
I hadn't been paying as much attention to this as I maybe should have. I see the NY Times had an article on this which says this:

"Prosecutions in these types of cases are rare, and the law is murky, particularly around people involved in presidential transitions. The officials who had read the transcripts acknowledged that while the conversation warranted investigation, it was unlikely, by itself, to lead to charges against a sitting national security adviser."

Here's the whole article. Regards, Len


Flynn Is Said to Have Talked to Russians About Sanctions Before Trump Took Office

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and MATT APUZZO FEB. 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — Weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, discussed American sanctions against Russia, as well as areas of possible cooperation, with that country’s ambassador to the United States, according to current and former American officials.

Throughout the discussions, the message Mr. Flynn conveyed to the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak — that the Obama administration was Moscow’s adversary and that relations with Russia would change under Mr. Trump — was unambiguous and highly inappropriate, the officials said.

The accounts of the conversations raise the prospect that Mr. Flynn violated a law against private citizens’ engaging in diplomacy, and directly contradict statements made by Trump advisers. They have said that Mr. Flynn spoke to Mr. Kislyak a few days after Christmas merely to arrange a phone call between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mr. Trump after the inauguration.

But current and former American officials said that conversation — which took place the day before the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over accusations that it used cyberattacks to help sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — ranged far beyond the logistics of a post-inauguration phone call. And they said it was only one in a series of contacts between the two men that began before the election and also included talk of cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State, along with other issues.

The officials said that Mr. Flynn had never made explicit promises of sanctions relief, but that he had appeared to leave the impression it would be possible.

Mr. Flynn could not immediately be reached for comment about the conversations, details of which were first reported by The Washington Post. Despite Mr. Flynn’s earlier denials, his spokesman told the Post that “while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

During the Christmas week conversation, he urged Mr. Kislyak to keep the Russian government from retaliating over the coming sanctions — it was an open secret in Washington that they were in the works — by telling him that whatever the Obama administration did could be undone, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified material.


Days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Vice President-elect Mike Pence also denied that Mr. Flynn had discussed sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. He said he had personally spoken to Mr. Flynn, who assured him that the conversation was an informal chat that began with Mr. Flynn extending Christmas wishes.

“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Mr. Pence said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

Some officials regarded the conversation as a potential violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in disputes involving the American government, according to one current and one former American official familiar with the case.
California Today

Federal officials who have read the transcript of the call were surprised by Mr. Flynn’s comments, since he would have known that American eavesdroppers closely monitor such calls. They were even more surprised that Mr. Trump’s team publicly denied that the topics of conversation included sanctions.

The call is the latest example of how Mr. Trump’s advisers have come under scrutiny from American counterintelligence officials. The F.B.I. is also investigating Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

Prosecutions in these types of cases are rare, and the law is murky, particularly around people involved in presidential transitions. The officials who had read the transcripts acknowledged that while the conversation warranted investigation, it was unlikely, by itself, to lead to charges against a sitting national security adviser.

But, at the very least, openly engaging in policy discussions with a foreign government during a presidential transition is a remarkable breach of protocol. The norm has been for the president-elect’s team to respect the sitting president, and to limit discussions with foreign governments to pleasantries. Any policy discussions, even with allies, would ordinarily be kept as vague as possible.

“It’s largely shunned, period. But one cannot rule it out with an ally like the U.K.,” said Derek Chollet, who was part of the Obama transition in 2008 and then served in senior roles at the State Department, White House and Pentagon.

“But it’s way out of bounds when the said country is an adversary, and one that has been judged to have meddled in the election,” he added. “It’s just hard to imagine anyone having a substantive discussion with an adversary, particularly if it’s about trying to be reassuring.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/us/f ... ffice.html

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:49 am

Yes, but notice the fourth paragraph of the article you quote.
But current and former American officials said that conversation — which took place the day before the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over accusations that it used cyberattacks to help sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — ranged far beyond the logistics of a post-inauguration phone call. And they said it was only one in a series of contacts between the two men that began before the election and also included talk of cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State, along with other issues.
That's where the potential time bomb lies.(The same info was in the original Wash Post story buried down in the sixth paragraph). What were those "other issues" Flynn discussed with the ambassador? How extensive were their contacts with each other during the campaign? Did the possibility of their working together to discredit Clinton ever come up? If Flynn (or anybody else, including Trump) can be shown to have collaborated with the Ruskies to influence the election they would have broken the law, according to Rep, Schiff a number of laws, and could very likely be prosecuted for it.

There are two separate issues here. Schiff himself said Flynn would not be prosecuted under the Logan Act of 1799 which has never been enforced because this is indeed a "murky" area. But Flynn very well could be fired for lying about it to three separate White house officials (Pence, Priebus and Spicer) all of whom are on tape telling the American people that Flynn told them he never discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:56 am

jserraglio wrote:Yes, but notice the fourth paragraph of the article you quote.
Good point-I'll definitely be trying to follow this thing more closely! Regards, Len

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:04 am

lennygoran wrote:Good point-I'll definitely be trying to follow this thing more closely!
You may find your attention richly repaid. Trump should fire Flynn if he lied to three White House officials. But what did Trump know and when did he know it? If Flynn did lie about his sanctions talk with the Russians, why did he lie? Could it be that the president-elect had authorized him to tell the Russians not to worry about the sanctions and that Flynn thought he had to lie to protect Trump from being accused of undercutting a sitting President?

Something stinks in Trump Tower and it ain't just the tacky decor.

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:00 pm

jserraglio wrote:Could it be that the president-elect had authorized him to tell the Russians not to worry about the sanctions and that Flynn thought he had to lie to protect Trump from being accused of undercutting a sitting President?
Great question! Regards, Len

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by jserraglio » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:51 pm

Why did Gen. Flynn mislead Vice-president Pence? How could Flynn not be acting on instructions from Trump when he discussed with the Russian ambassador a matter so important as sanctions? Sanctions were apparently the main topic of the phone call. Did Trump instruct Flynn to keep the potentially illegal phone call secret? Is that why the White House has been sitting on the DOJ warning that Flynn was subject to blackmail by the Russians (cf. article printed below)? What was the content of Flynn's ongoing discussions with the Russians during the election campaign? Were those contacts authorized by Trump? Did Flynn, an intelligence pro, not know that the Russians were routinely wiretapped by US intelligence?

If Trump now fires Flynn for lying, what might Flynn allege about Trump's involvement with the Russians both before and after the election?

What did Trump know and when did he know it?

The Russiagate soap-opera proceeds apace.

-------------------------------------

Justice Department warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say
Washington Post
By Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Philip Rucker
February 13 at 8:17 PM

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.

A senior Trump administration official said that the White House was aware of the matter, adding that “we’ve been working on this for weeks.”

The current and former officials said that although they believed that Pence was misled about the contents of Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador, they couldn’t rule out that Flynn was acting with the knowledge of others in the transition.

The FBI, Yates, Clapper and Brennan declined to comment on the matter. The White House said in a statement Monday that Trump was “evaluating the situation” regarding Flynn.

In a Feb. 8 interview with The Washington Post, Flynn categorically denied discussing sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, repeating public assertions made in January by top Trump officials. One day after the interview, Flynn revised his account, telling The Post through a spokesman that he “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”

Two officials said a main topic of the relevant call was the sanctions. Officials also said there was no evidence that Russia had attempted to exploit the discrepancy between public statements by Trump officials and what Flynn had discussed.

Flynn told The Post earlier this month that he first met Kislyak in 2013, when Flynn was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and made a trip to Moscow.

U.S. intelligence reports during the 2016 presidential campaign showed that Kislyak was in touch with Flynn, officials said. Communications between the two continued after Trump’s victory on Nov. 8, according to officials with access to intelligence reports on the matter.

Kislyak, in a brief interview with The Post, confirmed having contacts with Flynn before and after the election, but he declined to say what was discussed.

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.

Yates and other intelligence officials suspected that Flynn could be in violation of an obscure U.S. statute known as the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from interfering in diplomatic disputes with another country.

At the same time, Yates and other law enforcement officials knew there was little chance of bringing against Flynn a case related to the Logan Act, a statute that has never been used in a prosecution. In addition to the legal and political hurdles, Yates and other officials were aware of an FBI investigation looking at possible contacts between Trump associates and Russia, which now included the Flynn-Kislyak communications.

Word of the calls leaked out on Jan. 12 in an op-ed by Post columnist David Ignatius. “What did Flynn say, and did it undercut U.S. sanctions?” Ignatius wrote, citing the Logan Act.

The next day, a Trump transition official told The Post, “I can tell you that during his call, sanctions were not discussed whatsoever.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in a conference call with reporters on Jan. 13, said that the conversation between Flynn and Kislyak had “centered on the logistics” of a post-inauguration call between Trump and Putin. “That was it, plain and simple,” Spicer added.

On Jan. 15, Pence was asked about the phone call during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Citing a conversation he had with Flynn, Pence said the incoming national security adviser and Kislyak “did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”

Before the Pence statement on Jan. 15, top Justice Department and intelligence officials had discussed whether the incoming Trump White House should be notified about the contents of the Flynn-Kislyak communications.

Pence’s statement on CBS made the issue more urgent, current and former officials said, because U.S. intelligence agencies had reason to believe that Russia was aware that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions in their December call, contrary to public statements.

The internal debate over how to handle the intelligence on Flynn and Kislyak came to a head on Jan. 19, Obama’s last full day in office.

Yates, Clapper and Brennan argued for briefing the incoming administration so the new president could decide how to deal with the matter. The officials discussed options, including telling Pence, the incoming White House counsel, the incoming chief of staff or Trump himself.

FBI Director James B. Comey initially opposed notification, citing concerns that it could complicate the agency’s investigation.

Clapper and Brennan left their positions when Trump was sworn in, but Yates stayed on as acting attorney general until Jan. 30, when Trump fired her for refusing to defend his executive order temporarily barring refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries — an action that had been challenged in court.

A turning point came after Jan. 23, when Spicer, in his first official press briefing, again was asked about Flynn’s communications with Kislyak. Spicer said that he had talked to Flynn about the issue “again last night.” There was just “one call,” Spicer said. And it covered four subjects: a plane crash that claimed the lives of a Russian military choir; Christmas greetings; Russian-led talks over the Syrian civil war; and the logistics of setting up a call between Putin and Trump. Spicer said that was the extent of the conversation.

Yates again raised the issue with Comey, who now backed away from his opposition to informing the White House. Yates and the senior career national security official spoke to McGahn, the White House counsel, who didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Trump has declined to publicly back his national security adviser since the news broke.

On Monday afternoon, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said Trump had “full confidence” in Flynn. Minutes later, however, Spicer delivered a contradictory statement to reporters.

“The president is evaluating the situation,” Spicer’s statement read. “He’s speaking to Vice President Pence relative to the conversation the vice president had with Gen. Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: Our national security.”

Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... 1ff8bd9c74

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:56 am

Just back from the opera-I see he has now resigned! Len

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by jserraglio » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:30 am

lennygoran wrote:. . . I see he has now resigned!
The first shoe has dropped. More to come, for certain.

Kudos to the Washington Post and the so-called "failing" New York Times. It may have been their about-to-be published stories about possible blackmail and White House inaction that forced the WH to re-assess Flynn's viability yesterday afternoon.

Flynn's resignation raises a host of questions that need to be answered. The real story here, I think, is what went on during the campaign between Flynn and the Ruskies. The FBI and Congress both are investigating exactly that, and these two newspapers will also be on it like flies on a road apple.

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by Ricordanza » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:03 am

jserraglio wrote:What did Trump know and when did he know it?
I've heard that my esteemed :twisted: governor, Chris Christie, will be meeting with Trump. Christie is well equipped to advise Trump on this subject, based on his experience of wiggling out of responsibility for the politically-motivated lane closures on the George Washington bridge.

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:18 am

Ricordanza wrote:
jserraglio wrote:What did Trump know and when did he know it?
I've heard that my esteemed :twisted: governor, Chris Christie, will be meeting with Trump. Christie is well equipped to advise Trump on this subject, based on his experience of wiggling out of responsibility for the politically-motivated lane closures on the George Washington bridge.


Henry the men gathered at our friend`s house as the women had the baby shower at the restaurant-one of the younger guys who works for the New Yorker suggested that this Flynn thing resembled Bridgegate-would love to see Trump get nailed on this-probably wishful thinking. Len

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Re: See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake

Post by lennygoran » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:21 am

jserraglio wrote:
lennygoran wrote:. . . I see he has now resigned!
The first shoe has dropped. More to come, for certain.
Bring it on! Len

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:28 am

Evidently, there are intercepts of the contacts between Flynn and the Ruskies going all the way back to last summer. Let's see whether those transcripts eventually come to light and what they might reveal about Trump's possible involvement in the sanctions fiasco or even more explosively, in Russia's efforts to influence the election outcome.

We already know that Trump misled reporters last Friday on AF1 when he said he didn't know anything about reports that Flynn had misinformed VP Pence. In fact, the White House counsel had been told by the acting Attorney General about Flynn's perilous position in late January. Did White House counsel not inform Priebus or Trump? Why did no one in the WH act on this report till yesterday afternoon, and only after they learned the Post and Times stories were about to be published?

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. More heads are likely to roll in the future, maybe even one with failing hair.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by John F » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:52 am

That Trump, he sure is a judge of men, isn't he? (Women too, on the evidence.)
John Francis

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:42 pm

Since evidence is not the coin of the realm these days, one might be tempted to speculate that Trump was the Kremlin's "Siberian candidate".

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by John F » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:27 pm

It's not Trump's idea of "evidence" that I mean, but ours - looking at his various wives and such, all of them prime trophies.
John Francis

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:39 pm

John F wrote:It's not Trump's idea of "evidence" that I mean, but ours - looking at his various wives and such, all of them prime trophies.
Of course . . . . And Trump's latest trophy wife is Lady Liberty.

Image

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:46 pm

jserraglio wrote:Evidently, there are intercepts of the contacts between Flynn and the Ruskies going all the way back to last summer. Let's see whether those transcripts eventually come to light and what they might reveal about Trump's possible involvement in the sanctions fiasco or even more explosively, in Russia's efforts to influence the election outcome.

We already know that Trump misled reporters last Friday on AF1 when he said he didn't know anything about reports that Flynn had misinformed VP Pence. In fact, the White House counsel had been told by the acting Attorney General about Flynn's perilous position in late January. Did White House counsel not inform Priebus or Trump? Why did no one in the WH act on this report till yesterday afternoon, and only after they learned the Post and Times stories were about to be published?

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. More heads are likely to roll in the future, maybe even one with failing hair.
Flynn forgot that the US INTEL community bugs all the Russian phones, he caused his own downfall by not using a secure phone.

My NATSEC sources say there are more Russian Moles in the White House, Flynn is only one of them, for this reason the INTEL community will not tell the White House certain information in its Daily Briefings, because they know it will get sent straight to the Russians.

According to A Mob Person in the Construction Business, who has known Trump for decades...

"He'd lie about the time of day, just for the practice."
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:11 am

Chalkperson wrote:My NATSEC sources say there are more Russian Moles in the White House, Flynn is only one of them, for this reason the INTEL community will not tell the White House certain information in its Daily Briefings, because they know it will get sent straight to the Russians.
CNN REPORT Feb 15: Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign
High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.

President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to US officials familiar with the matter.

Both the frequency of the communications during early summer and the proximity to Trump of those involved "raised a red flag" with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.

(Click link to read rest of the story).
http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/ ... index.html

Similar story also reported by New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/p ... v=top-news
Chalkperson wrote:Flynn forgot that the US INTEL community bugs all the Russian phones, he caused his own downfall by not using a secure phone
Flynn might have believed, rightly or wrongly, that his contacts with the Russians were legal and appropriate. No one has yet proven that he was colluding with the Russians during the campaign or trying to undercut the sanctions, though it would not surprise me if INTEL soon leaks info to suggest precisely that. Trump blundered when he took on INTEL w/o having any arrows in his quiver.

Why would Flynn lie if he thought he hadn't done anything wrong? Maybe because Trump had prior knowledge of the call(s) about sanctions and wanted them kept secret b/c they would be politically embarrassing.

Why did the White House wait two weeks (until Feb 9 when the Post report that Flynn had changed his story was published) to inform Pence that Flynn had misled him? Maybe because they knew Pence would immediately and publicly retract his own previous misstatement, and they still wanted the matter kept quiet.

Why did the WH finally reverse course and fire Flynn on Feb. 13? Maybe because the Post had informed them on the 13th that they were publishing a devastating new report about Flynn's lying.

The news media and the INTEL community appear to be driving these events, not the White House.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:00 am

Today an INTEL source suggested Trump will die in jail.

The calls to Russians have been going on non stop since 2015.

The UK, Germany and France also tapped the Russian's phones, they have more INTEL than Congress knows about.

Could Impeachment be off the table for Trump, is Treason the new charge...
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:40 am

http://m.dailykos.com/stories/1634012

Read this, it's very damning.
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by John F » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:59 am

Chalkperson wrote:Could Impeachment be off the table for Trump, is Treason the new charge...
It is off the table - no way the House Republicans will vote articles of impeachment against their own president, who agrees with them on major policy issues and I believe got more votes than many of them in their own districts. In 2019, following two years of mismanagement and incompetence and depending on the outcome of the Congressional elections, we'll see.
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:20 am

Last fall lots of us pronounced w/o a glimmer of doubt: "It's off the table. No way Trump will be President." I learned my lesson back then: lose the unreliable long-range forecasting.

Those contacts with the Russians might turn out to be completely innocent, unlikely as that may appear at this point. Just because Trumpskeeteers met with Ruskies does not prove a connection with Russian efforts to throw the election to Trump. For all we know, they might have been tossing back White Russians while planning celebrations for the upcoming centennial of the Revolution. And even if there were a nefarious plot, that does not prove that the Donald himself was involved.

But if Trump were ever to be implicated in efforts by a foreign power to rig the election, a very big if at this juncture, Trump might very well be impeached. As for those bills so dear to the House GOP, last time I checked, Mike Pence had five working digits on his bill-signing hand plus a close working relationship with the House leadership. That should suffice very nicely, were Trump ever to be found out, forced out, kicked out, indicted, etc. Not only that, Pence doesn't publicly embarrass Paul Ryan as Trump did just a few days ago.

One step at a time. Right now, I am intrigued by this puzzle: how does General Michael Flynn, the man who Sean Spicer said "couldn't be trusted" on Tuesday, suddenly morph into Trump's "wonderful man", "so unfairly treated" on Wednesday? Could Trump, worried about what Flynn knows and might testify to regarding his own involvement, be sending a public signal to Flynn: "Hang tough, Mike, all will be taken care of"?

On the foreign policy front, I wonder about the lack of backbone Trump has displayed:

1. Korean missile launch - "We stand behind our great ally Japan 100%". A weak statement of a non-policy policy. N. Korea is not likely to feel, even less than iran did, that it is being "put on notice" in any meaningful way.
2. Israel/Palestine - "One state? Two states? Dunno, don't care. Whatever you guys want works for me". Is this US leadership?
3. Flynn/NSA - "My national security adviser is a wonderful man and the dishonest media lied about him. So I will stand behind him . . . after I fire him."

To be fair, it is still early, but up to this point when he faces resistance, Donald tends to wilt, turn inarticulate, or both.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:25 am

Chalkperson wrote:My NATSEC sources say there are more Russian Moles in the White House, Flynn is only one of them, for this reason the INTEL community will not tell the White House certain information in its Daily Briefings, because they know it will get sent straight to the Russians.
Chalkperson's fascinating message is corroborated in a Huffington Post article that cites a Wall Street Journal article available only behind a pay wall:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/don ... cd34be99aa
The Huffington Post wrote: The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that intelligence agencies may be withholding sensitive information from the president over fears it could be leaked.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/spies-keep ... 1487209351
The news organization, citing unnamed former and current officials, said that the withheld information could include intelligence gathering methods, such as “the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government.” The sources said such decisions to keep information under wraps would be connected to Trump’s apparent fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House denied the allegations, and the Journal said its sources didn’t know of any instance in which “crucial information about security threats or potential plotting has been omitted.”
__________________________________________________________________________________

P.S. Despite the pay wall, I was somehow able to access the WSJ article on which the Huffington Post story was based.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/spies-keep ... 1487209351

Here it is in full:

Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns
Decision to withhold information underscores deep mistrust between intelligence community and president
By SHANE HARRIS and CAROL E. LEE
Updated Feb. 16, 2017 12:33 a.m. ET
The Wall Street Journal

U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.

The officials’ decision to keep information from Mr. Trump underscores the deep mistrust that has developed between the intelligence community and the president over his team’s contacts with the Russian government, as well as the enmity he has shown toward U.S. spy agencies. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump accused the agencies of leaking information to undermine him.

In some of these cases of withheld information, officials have decided not to show Mr. Trump the sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information, the current and former officials said. Those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government.

A White House official said: “There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”

A spokesman for the Office of Director of National Intelligence said: “Any suggestion that the U.S. intelligence community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.”

Intelligence officials have in the past not told a president or members of Congress about the ins and outs of how they ply their trade. At times, they have decided that secrecy is essential for protecting a source, and that all a president needs to know is what that source revealed and what the intelligence community thinks is important about it.

It wasn’t clear Wednesday how many times officials have held back information from Mr. Trump.

The officials emphasized that they know of no instance in which crucial information about security threats or potential plotting has been omitted. Still, the misgivings that have emerged among intelligence officials point to the fissures spreading between the White House and the U.S. spy agencies.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, asked Monday night for the resignation of Mike Flynn, his national security adviser, after the White House said the president lost trust in him, in part, because he misstated the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump castigated the intelligence agencies and the news media, blaming them for Mr. Flynn’s downfall.

“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Mr. Trump doesn’t immerse himself in intelligence information, and it isn’t clear that he has expressed a desire to know sources and methods. The intelligence agencies have been told to dramatically pare down the president’s daily intelligence briefing, both the number of topics and how much information is described under each topic, an official said. Compared with his immediate predecessors, Mr. Trump so far has chosen to rely less on the daily briefing than they did.

The current and former officials said the decision to avoid revealing sources and methods with Mr. Trump stems in large part from the president’s repeated expressions of admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his call during the presidential campaign for Russia to continue hacking the emails of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia stole and leaked emails from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign to undermine the election process and try to boost Mr. Trump’s chances of winning, an allegation denied by Russian officials.

Several of Mr. Trump’s current and former advisers are under investigation for the nature of their ties to Moscow, according to people familiar with the matter. After Mr. Flynn’s dismissal, lawmakers have called on the government to release the transcripts of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and to disclose whether Mr. Trump was aware of or directed Mr. Flynn’s conversations.

Two senior intelligence officials denied Wednesday that Mr. Flynn had engaged in extensive contacts with Russian officials. One of the officials said none of the other advisers had extensive contacts with Russian officials or engaged in any pattern of contacts.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he has heard concerns from officials about sharing especially sensitive information with Mr. Trump.

“I’ve talked with people in the intelligence community that do have concerns about the White House, about the president, and I think those concerns take a number of forms,” Mr. Schiff said, without confirming any specific incidents. “What the intelligence community considers their most sacred obligation is to protect the very best intelligence and to protect the people that are producing it.”

“I’m sure there are people in the community who feel they don’t know where he’s coming from on Russia,” Mr. Schiff said.

Tensions between the spy agencies and Mr. Trump were pronounced even before he took office, after he publicly accused the Central Intelligence Agency and others of leaking information about alleged Russian hacking operations to undermine the legitimacy of his election win. In a meandering speech in front of a revered CIA memorial the day after his inauguration, Mr. Trump boasted about the size of his inaugural crowd and accused the media of inventing a conflict between him and the agencies.

In a news conference on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Mr. Trump again lashed out at the media and intelligence officials, whom he accused of “criminal” leaks about Mr. Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador last December.

Mr. Trump didn’t explain Wednesday why he asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation. Instead, he suggested the leaks and the media were to blame for his ouster.

“General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media,” Mr. Trump said. “And I think it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”

“I think in addition to that from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act and it’s been going on for a long time before me but now it’s really going on.”

Reviving his line of criticism against intelligence officials during the transition, Mr. Trump said the “illegally leaked” information was from people with political motivations. “People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Trump said.

A person close to Mr. Trump said he was reluctant to let go of Mr. Flynn because Mr. Flynn had vigorously supported him at a stage of his presidential campaign when few people did. Mr. Trump also felt Mr. Flynn did nothing wrong in his conversations with the U.S. ambassador to Russia and had good intentions.

“They both continue to support each other,” this person said.

For intelligence veterans, who had hoped that Mr. Trump’s feud with the agencies might have subsided, Wednesday’s comments renewed and deepened concerns.

“This is not about who won the election. This is about concerns about institutional integrity,” said Mark Lowenthal, a former senior intelligence official.

“It’s probably unprecedented to have this difficult a relationship between a president and the intelligence agencies,” Mr. Lowenthal said. “I can’t recall ever seeing this level of friction. And it’s just not good for the country.”

Several congressional probes are examining Russia’s alleged meddling in the election. On Wednesday, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee requested a Justice Department briefing and documents related to Mr. Flynn’s resignation, including details of his communications with Russian officials.

—Damian Paletta contributed to this article.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by John F » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:03 am

I was one of those who would not admit the possibility that Hillary Clinton could lose to Donald Trump. Of course the 2016 election was unline any other in American history, the way the campaign was conducted, the interference of Russian spies to influence the outcome, the FBI criticizing her repeatedly in public, all that garbage, and despite it all, she got more votes than Trump did. I had thought Americans would not be conned by Trump's constant lies and impossible promises, but they were. Even now, Trump's approval rating is 41%, equal to or higher than Barack Obama's rating in the fall of 2014. I did not believe I lived in a nation of suckers. I was wrong.

As for what's happening now in Washington, I'm not commenting on it or even reading about it, though friends sometimes force the news on me. :) My comment was about the nature and history of presidential impeachment. Only two presidents have ever been impeached, both by their rabid political opposition in the House, and none have been convicted by the Senate with the Constitutionally obligatory 2/3 majority. I stand by what I said, it ain't gonna happen, and I leave it at that.
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:26 am

John F wrote:I did not believe I lived in a nation of suckers. I was wrong.
I was wrong too, but I'm not about to make excuses or to lay the blame for my misreading of the political landscape on the folks who voted for the other guy, bad as he was and is.

As for impeachment, we shall see. I'm not sure a history lecture is gonna help us much in this instance, which so far is shaping up to be unpresidented. The loyalty of the President to his own country is now being openly called into question by those who oppose him. I'm interested to see what happens and am not persuaded when told that a thing won't happen because it never happened before or that something won't happen on Tuesday because congressional votes are aligned a certain way on Monday.
Last edited by jserraglio on Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by John F » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:49 am

jserraglio wrote:I was wrong too, but I'm not about to lay the blame for my complete and utter misreading of the political landscape on folks who voted for the other guy, bad as he was and is.
Who cares about our guesses? Though the main reason we guessed wrong is because of the gullibility of tens of millions of voters. What matters is the actual outcome, and for that the voters are to blame. Who else? It may be bad politics to blame the voters, because voters don't like being held responsible for the bad consequences of their votes, but when it comes to electing the president, the buck stops with us.
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:58 am

No, we guessed wrong because we both misread the electorate. I don't blame other citizens for voting the way they think is right because it conflicts with what I think is right. If they were misled, then someone in the opposition needs to step up and lead them, not blame them. If it turns out there are bad consequences to their vote, well, there's a process to fix that: more elections are on the horizon. Maybe we'll get it right next time.

In the interim, our president may be unmasked as the witting or unwitting agent of a foreign foe. I don't recall being taught in civics class what to do about that.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:29 pm

The Russians have ben grooming Trump for the presidency for many years, they saw his vulnerabilities. Narcissisism, fame and money.

Putin is the Worlds greatest Chess player, he manipulated Trump perfectly, and loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars, hence the No Tax Returns scenario.

THE EU and US INTEL agencies are all collaborating the evidence to take Trump down, so far there are no reports on Trump making calls to Russia, but he uses an insecure Android phone, i'd like to hope he wasn't stupid enough to speak to the Russians directly, we know Flynn, and Manafort did. The third is likely to be Carter Page.

What did the President know? And when did he know it?
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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:44 pm

Chalkperson wrote:The third is likely to be Carter Page.
Funny that you mention Carter Page, whom I had never heard of before yesterday. My wife and I saw Page interviewed by Judy Woodruff on PBS News Hour last nite. He was bizarre--worse even than Drillmeister Stephen Miller on Meet the Press last Sunday. Carter and Miller are so creepy they make Haldeman and Ehrlichman look like Sistine Chapel choristers.


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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by jserraglio » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:42 am

One takeaway from yesterday's press conference: President Trump is the proverbial weak sister. When confronted by somebody he perceives as strong and secure, e.g., by Peter Alexander of NBC News, he quickly backs down. Although he resents the challenge and nurses a grudge, the commander-in-chief wilts under fire. No wonder the military and Intel are grousing about his sh*tsandwiches, even refusing to join his national security team. They live in a No Sh*t Zone and see right thru him.

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by lennygoran » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:45 am

The NY Times is calling for an independent special prosecutor! I`ve been wanting to see those tax returns for a long time! Len


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/opin ... eft-region

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by lennygoran » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:36 pm

And there's this column too:



The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor
Republicans, Protect the Nation

By EVAN McMULLIN FEB. 17, 2017


President Trump’s disturbing Russian connections present an acute danger to American national security. According to reports this week, Mr. Trump’s team maintained frequent contact with Russian officials, including senior intelligence officers, during the campaign. This led to concerns about possible collusion with one of America’s principal strategic adversaries as it tried to influence the election in Mr. Trump’s favor. On Monday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was forced to resign after details of his communications with the Russian ambassador emerged.

Republican leaders in Congress now bear the most responsibility for holding the president accountable and protecting the nation. They can’t say they didn’t see the Russian interference coming. They knew all along.

Early in 2015, senior Republican congressional leaders visited Ukraine and returned full of praise for its fight for independence in spite of Russia’s efforts to destabilize the country and annex some of its regions. And in June, coincidentally just before Mr. Trump announced his campaign for the Republican nomination, they met with Ukraine’s prime minister in Washington — one of many meetings I attended as a senior aide to the House Republican Conference.

As the presidential race wore on, some of those leaders began to see parallels between Russia’s disinformation operations in Ukraine and Europe and its activities in the United States. They were alarmed by the Kremlin-backed cable network RT America, which was running stories intended, they judged, to undermine Americans’ trust in democratic institutions and promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Deeply unsettled, the leaders discussed these concerns privately on several occasions I witnessed.

Some also questioned Mr. Trump’s attacks on Hispanics, Muslims, women and people with disabilities, or his positions on entitlement reform, discretionary spending and national security. Others were unnerved by his volatile temperament, egoism and authoritarian tendencies. In public, they occasionally offered light criticism of Mr. Trump’s most objectionable comments, but mostly remained silent for fear of antagonizing his supporters.

As Mr. Trump campaigned, his consistent affection for Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and apparent defense of Russian intervention in Ukraine raised further concerns. In December 2015, on “Morning Joe,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Putin, “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.” He also equated Mr. Putin’s murderous regime with the American government: “Our country does plenty of killing, also” — a remark he has repeated as president.

Suspect public comments like these led one senior Republican leader to dolefully inform his peers that he thought Mr. Trump was on the Kremlin’s payroll, suggesting that Mr. Trump had been compromised by Russian intelligence. Other leaders were surprised by their colleague’s frank assessment, but did not dispute it.

As Mr. Trump prevailed in state after state, the leaders came to terms with the possibility, then the likelihood, that he would win the nomination. During the process, most leaders had not endorsed a candidate and hoped that Mr. Trump would be stopped. By early May 2016, however, his victory appeared a fait accompli, placing them in an unenviable position. As senior leaders, opposing the outcome of the party contest was unthinkable.

Eventually, one by one, they all committed to supporting Mr. Trump, often simply saying they would support the nominee, conspicuously avoiding uttering Mr. Trump’s name. In a fascinating political metamorphosis, some even found reason to be excited about Mr. Trump.

They were understandably anxious to win back the White House to advance policy priorities and appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. Some believed that, despite his faults, Mr. Trump could bring the dramatic disruption they thought Washington needed. Others saw career opportunities in supporting Mr. Trump, who had yet to select a running mate and, if elected, would also make cabinet appointments.

Shockingly, some of the leaders most concerned about Russian subversion and Mr. Trump’s possible compromise were his first and most vocal supporters among congressional leaders — some publicly, some privately. It was an inauspicious trade of national security for political self-preservation and partisan ambition.

Now the leaders’ worst fears seem validated. Mr. Flynn has become the third Trump team member to step down over Russia-related issues, following the campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

This plotline is unlikely to improve of its own accord, and America’s security is now at stake. For Republican leaders in Congress, there is no more room for cognitive dissonance. Instead, it is urgent that they recommit to patriotic prudence. They should demand that Attorney General Jeff Sessions appoint an independent special counsel to investigate Russia’s assault on American democracy and Mr. Trump’s possible collusion with the Kremlin.

At a minimum, they must establish a bipartisan special select committee with subpoena power in the House or the Senate for the same purpose. This job is too big and significant to be entrusted to the standing intelligence committees, which have critical tasks and limited staff. The nation must have accountability — including public hearings where possible — on these matters.

After their grand bargain to back Mr. Trump’s Moscow-assisted victory, congressional Republicans are now responsible for protecting the nation from its dangers.



https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/opin ... egion&_r=0

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Re: Flynn resigns from NSC, admits he misled Pence

Post by lennygoran » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:03 pm

My hopes remain alive that things like this article I read tonight will bear fruit. Regards, Len



Why the Flynn-Russia Affair Is So Troubling for Donald Trump
By Kurt Eichenwald On 2/21/17 at 9:21 AM

Call it what you will: Flynnghazi. Russiagate. The Crackpot Dome scandal. No matter the sobriquet attached to the inappropriate discussions between the Russian ambassador and Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor, the growing cancer from this case is not going away.

Perhaps the Russia scandal seemed like it had disappeared amid the antics of the past week, from Trump’s rambling, 77-minute press conference, his Saturday rally—where he surprised Sweden with news of some imaginary immigrant disaster the previous night—or his declaration that the news media was the enemy of the American people.
Related: Eichenwald: Can Trump tell the difference between truth and his lies?

But even if Trump tries to sweep the Flynn affair aside with his now-cliché proclamation that everything he dislikes is “fake news,” enough evidence already exists to demonstrate that this scandal could consume the administration for months to come. Little doubt, Trump’s words at his press conference about Flynn’s Russia contacts—“I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it’’—will likely join the ranks of ill-advised presidential scandal comments along the lines of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman Lewinsky,’’ and “I am not a crook.”


There are multiple issues at play in this matter, but the basic story is this: The United States imposed sanctions on Russia following its 2014 military incursion into Ukraine. Additional limited sanctions were put in place last year in reaction to Russia’s use of hacking and propaganda campaigns to influence the American election. In a December 30 conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Flynn discussed the sanctions, raising questions of whether he had said anything to undermine the policies of then-still-in-office President Barack Obama. On January 12, The Washington Post reported that the discussions between Flynn and Kislyak had taken place. That day, Flynn denied to White House spokesman Sean Spicer that he had mentioned sanctions. Flynn also deceived Vice President Michael Pence, assuring him that they had only discussed logistics for phone calls with Trump; Pence then repeated that falsehood publicly on January 16.

All very embarrassing. But what has happened since makes clear this is more than just an issue of White House bumbling. The magnitude of the growing scandal, even without specific details of Flynn’s words to the Russian ambassador, require an understanding of the rules involving surveillance by the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Despite the fears of the uninformed, America’s surveillance teams do not read emails and listen in on phone calls haphazardly. There are very specific requirements that already signal that Flynn’s communications with Kislyak, along with any other intercepted information transmitted to representatives of the Kremlin, raise serious issues.

The first rule to understand involves the term of art, “an American person.” Before 9/11, the rules were quite strict: No one could be surveilled in the United States without a warrant issued by a national security court. That meant, if the NSA had detected Osama bin Laden speaking on a cell phone as he crossed a bridge from Canada to Buffalo, they would have to shut down their surveillance the second he reached the American side. A corporation based in the United States was also considered “an American person,” meaning any information about it had to be excised from files and memos. That meant, literally, if the NSA intercepted a conversation overseas where one terrorist told another that he would be flying to the United States on Delta, the information distributed throughout the intelligence community could include the date and the scheduled departure or arrival time, but not the name of the airline.

That system went through a huge overhaul in the aftermath of the Al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. And some of the rules were revised again after Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the NSA, publicly revealed some of the details about the surveillance system. Even still, America is far from being out of the spy business, and for someone like Flynn to get swept up in the surveillance and analysis system requires that the counterintelligence experts in government clear some very high hurdles.

The first rule comes from Executive Order 12333, signed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1981, which gives the FBI and the NSA the authority to use the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as the basis for actively monitoring communications between foreign officials inside the United States, including ambassadors like Kislyak. In fact, the most surprising element of this entire scandal is that, barring absolute incompetence, Flynn must have known—and Kislyak certainly knew—that their conversations would probably be recorded.

This is not a matter of some simple “listen to it and analyze” process. The amount of data coming into the NSA alone on a daily basis is almost beyond human comprehension. The agency is something of a data factory, chopping, slicing and dicing all information coming in following a series of complex procedures. A program called Xkeyscore processes all intercepted signals before they then move on to another area that deals with particular specialized issues.

The rules for handling an intercept of a conversation between an official of the American government and the target of surveillance differ in some substantial ways from those used for average citizens. The recording would be deemed “raw FISA-acquired material,’’ some of the NSA’s most highly classified information. Then that recording or a transcript of it would be read into one of the four surveillance programs codenamed RAGTIME. There are RAGTIME-A, -B, -C, and -P. Most likely, according to one former government official with ties to the intelligence community, the conversation would have been analyzed through RAGTIME-B, which relates to communications from a foreign territory into the United States (the Russian embassy is considered sovereign land of that country). The conversation could not have fallen under RAGTIME-A, because that involves only foreign-to-foreign communications. RAGTIME-C deals with anti-proliferation matters and RAGTIME-P is for counterterrorism. (This is the infamous warrantless wiretapping program, with “P” standing for the post-9/11 law, the Patriot Act.)

Assuming the Flynn recording involved RAGTIME-B, because of his position as a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and being the incoming president’s national security advisor, the intercepted material would be immediately analyzed. If Flynn—as the White House first stated when the news of his contacts with Kislyak became public—had been engaged in pleasantries or planning meeting times for the Russians with Trump, the records of Flynn’s side of the conversation would no longer exist. Flynn would have been deemed an American person, and the intercepted recordings and transcripts would be “minimized”—the word used in the surveillance world for when portions or all of an intercepted communication is destroyed. In other words, if the conversation was no more than “How are you Ambassador Kislyak,” or “Let’s set up a meeting for you and a Russian delegation with the president-elect,” Flynn’s words would no longer exist in any American file.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, something in the recording led the first-level analysts from RAGTIME to follow the next leg of the procedure and take the intercept to the head of the FBI’s National Security Division for another review. Again, if a conclusion was reached that there was nothing in the call to raise concerns, the reviews would have stopped there and the data would have been minimized. But the division head instead decided that the intercepted conversation merited bringing the raw transcript to James Comey, the director of the FBI, and his deputy. (At the time, this would have been Mark F. Giuliano, a veteran of the bureau. Giuliano has since retired and, as of this month, was replaced by Andrew G. McCabe, a former lawyer in private practice who joined the federal law enforcement agency in 1996.) The director and his deputy were then the final arbiters of whether the intercepted communications merited further investigation. And they decided it did.

There were three communications intercepted, the first on December 18. One of them was a text message, the other two were phone calls. That raw FISA-acquired material was reviewed by analysts read into RAGTIME, who found it concerning. They took it to the head of the National Security Division, who found it concerning. That led to the transcript being delivered to the director and deputy director of the FBI. And they found it concerning—in fact, concerning enough that they opened an investigation and have already interviewed Flynn.

The conversation of greatest importance took place on December 30. That was the day after the Obama administration took action against Russia for interfering with the American election with cyberattacks, expelling 35 suspected spies and imposing sanctions on two of that country’s intelligence agencies involved in hacking. It was in Flynn’s conversation the following day that he discussed the issue of American sanctions on Russia, which he later denied having done to Vice President Pence.

Two more events at that time raise the greatest numbers of questions. Espionage has always been a tit-for-tat game. America expels Russian spies, Russia retaliates by expelling American spies and vice-versa. Both sides already know the identities of plenty of spies working alongside the diplomats, so it is hardly difficult to throw them out as needed. But this time, Russia did…nothing. President Vladimir Putin announced the same day as the Flynn call that his country would take no action in retaliation to the expulsion. Then, almost immediately afterward, Trump sent out an almost unprecedented message, tweeting at 1:41 p.m. what amounted to a congratulations to the leader of a foreign aggressor nation for essentially blowing off the American president. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted.


The failure by Putin to act stunned the counterintelligence experts in the government. Trump’s rah-rah cheers for this almost unprecedented move were, at best, unseemly and, at worst, a sign that the president-elect was sending messages to Putin that undermined ongoing American policy. The search for information about how this bizarre situation unfolded led to the Flynn recording being discovered, analyzed and brought up the chain of command in the FBI. And on January 12, when Spicer repeated Flynn’s statements, followed by Pence’s assurances on January 16—four days before the inauguration—the FBI knew that someone with the incoming administration was lying. FBI Director Comey decided to wait before contacting the Trump team until after the swearing-in. Finally, a few days after the inauguration, FBI agents interviewed Flynn. Shortly afterward, the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, informed the new White House counsel, Don McGahn, that they had recordings that showed Flynn’s accounts of what he had discussed were not true. Eleven days passed before anyone told the vice president that he had been deceived into making false public statements.

Trump’s tweet praising the Russian president in the middle of all of this subterfuge is troubling enough, but there is one fact that has gone relatively unmentioned: Trump either knows exactly what Flynn said, or he is incompetent. He has the full authority to ask for the raw FISA-acquired material. He could read the transcripts, listen to the recording himself, or have an intelligence analyst sit down with him and go over the conversation in detail. But Trump has never indicated he knows what Flynn said. Worse, in the 77-minute press conference, no reporter asked him that simple yes-or-no question, “Have you read the Flynn transcript or listened to the recording?” So at this point, Trump either knows the same information that has alarmed so many levels of the national counterintelligence experts in government and is unconcerned, or he has failed to ask for details while proclaiming he would have told Flynn to do exactly as the former national security advisor had done. Or the worst option—Trump knew ahead of time what Flynn was planning to do, and the “attaboy!” tweet to Putin was part of it.

So, what did the president know and when did he know it? As previously reported in Newsweek, some of America’s allies, including one foreign intelligence service that also intercepted at least one of Flynn’s communications with the Russians, are trying to figure that out. Meanwhile, the FBI is hard at work investigating the mess of Russia, hacking, Flynn and whoever else gets dragged into this mess.

The investigation apparently has already dug up a lot of information. After lots of foot-dragging by Republicans in Congress who were not eager to investigate Russia’s influence and dalliances with the Trump team, Comey sat down with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to brief them on what he knew. The meeting lasted for close to three hours. When the senators emerged, there was no more shrugging of shoulders about the Russia scandals. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted out, “I am now very confident Senate Intel Comm I serve on will conduct thorough bipartisan investigation of interference and influence.” Letters from members of Congress were sent to the White House demanding that no documents related to contacts with Russia be destroyed. No one is screaming “Fake news!” anymore when it comes to the Russia story. Except, of course, President Trump.


http://www.newsweek.com/why-flynn-russi ... ump-559132

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