Tuesday, October 31, 2017

When Will it be Michael Flynn's Turn in the Barrel?

Here's an oldie but a goodie:

A current U.S. intelligence official tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the transcripts of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, although the official noted that doesn't rule out the possibility of illegal actions.

The official also says that there are recordings as well as transcripts of the calls, and that the transcripts don't suggest Flynn was acting under orders in his conversations.

Flynn resigned late Monday, after allegations that he discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Kislyak and then misled Vice President Pence about the nature of those conversations. Flynn initially denied discussing sanctions at all, but in his resignation Flynn said he "inadvertently" gave Pence "incomplete information" about the conversations.

NPR's Phil Ewing previously reported that it is not in dispute that Flynn spoke with Kislyak in late December. "The issue is what he said," Phil wrote.

Depending on the content of the conversations, Flynn could have violated a law called the Logan Act, which bars a private individual from conducting foreign policy without the permission of the U.S. government. For instance, if Flynn told the ambassador the Trump administration would drop the sanctions, that would have been illegal.

The intelligence official who has personally seen the transcripts told Mary Louise they contained "no evidence" of criminal wrongdoing, although the official said it can't be definitively ruled out.

The official also said there was "absolutely nothing" in the transcripts that suggests Flynn was acting under instructions "or that the trail leads higher."

"I don't think [Flynn] knew he was doing anything wrong," the official said. "Flynn talked about sanctions, but no specific promises were made. Flynn was speaking more in general 'maybe we'll take a look at this going forward' terms."

This story is from February, 2017 and I would really, really like to know who this "intelligence official" is because I believe we are getting closer and closer to the moment where we will learn Flynn's fate in the Robert Mueller investigation.

I bring all of this up because, well, why not?

Former CIA Director James Woolsey has been in contact with FBI agents working under special counsel Robert Mueller regarding his knowledge of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a spokesman for Woolsey said Friday.

"Ambassador Woolsey and his wife have been in communication with the FBI regarding the Sept. 19, 2016 meeting Ambassador Woolsey was invited to attend by one of Gen. Flynn's business partners," Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for Woolsey, said in a statement. "Ambassador Woolsey and his wife have responded to every request, whether from the FBI, or, more recently, the Office of the Special Counsel."

According to NBC News, Franks said that Woolsey had been in touch with the FBI both before and after Mueller took over the law enforcement probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Flynn has become a focal point of Mueller's investigation.

Of reported interest to Mueller is a meeting in September 2016 in which Woolsey said he heard a discussion about sending a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, Fethullah G├╝len, back to Turkey.

They're going to go after Flynn and his son, and that's all well and good, but I want to revisit the old NPR story. Who was actively lying on Flynn's behalf and trying to downplay his part in colluding with the Russians?

More importantly, was there a larger coverup inside the Trump White House when Flynn was fired? An obstruction of justice, perhaps? This is a question that Mueller's team started asking months ago, it would appear to me.

The quid was the easing of sanctions on Russia, and that's what Flynn talked to Kislyak about. The quo was the delivery of dirt on Hillary Clinton via her e-mails. It would appear to me that Michael "Lock Her Up" Flynn was in the middle of all of that from the get-go.

Ought to be one hell of a ride in the barrel, general.

Oh, and then there's this thought--

--what if Flynn has already been charged and has already plead guilty?

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

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