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Excerpt: "Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team, sources told CNN."

Michael Flynn. (photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Michael Flynn. (photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)


Russian Officials Bragged They Could Use Flynn to Influence Trump

By Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen and Eric Lichtblau, CNN

21 May 17

 

ussian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team, sources told CNN.

The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump's national security adviser, current and former governments officials said.

"This was a five-alarm fire from early on," one former Obama administration official said, "the way the Russians were talking about him." Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.

The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials indicated the Russians regarded Flynn as an ally, sources said. That relationship developed throughout 2016, months before Flynn was caught on an intercepted call in December speaking with Russia's ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak. That call, and Flynn's changing story about it, ultimately led to his firing as Trump's first national security adviser.

Officials cautioned, however, that the Russians might have exaggerated their sway with Trump's team during those conversations.

Flynn's lawyer declined to comment.

"We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russia," a White House official said in a statement. "... This matter is not going to distract the President or this administration from its work to bring back jobs and keep America safe."

Flynn has emerged as a central figure -- and Trump's biggest liability -- in the intensifying investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. His financial ties to Turkish government interests, which paid him $530,000 in a lobbying deal that he failed to disclose during the campaign, are also under scrutiny by federal investigators.

One major concern for Obama administration officials was the subject of conversations between Flynn and Kislyak that took place shortly after President Barack Obama slapped new sanctions on Russia for meddling in the election. Sources tell CNN that Flynn told Kislyak that the Trump administration would look favorably on a decision by Russia to hold off on retaliating with its own sanctions. The next day, Putin said he wouldn't retaliate.

Sources say Flynn also told Kislyak that the incoming Trump administration would revisit US sanctions on Russia once in office. The US has applied sanctions on Russia since 2014 for its actions in Ukraine.

Flynn's calls with Kislyak in December have received the most attention, but his relationship with the Russian ambassador goes back four years.

He first met Kislyak in June 2013 during an official trip to Russia, according to The Washington Post. He led the Defense Intelligence Agency at the time and met his counterparts at the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU.

In December 2015, Flynn attended a gala honoring the Kremlin-run TV network RT. Documents released last month revealed that Flynn was paid $45,000 to attend the event, where he sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Officials noticed an uptick in communication between Flynn and Kislyak shortly after Flynn's trip to Moscow in December 2015.

Trump angrily denied any collusion with Russia this week and denounced the newest investigation -- now in the hands of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III -- as "a witch hunt."

And he has remained steadfast in his loyalty to Flynn, even as the scrutiny surrounding his fired aide continues to weigh down his presidency. Trump urged then-FBI Director James Comey in February to drop the bureau's investigation into Flynn and "let this go," according to a memo Comey wrote at the time. The conversation, first reported by The New York Times earlier this week, has opened the President up to charges from critics of obstruction of justice.

Trump's obvious bond with Flynn, like his relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top advisers, appears rooted in the fact that they supported his then-longshot presidential campaign last year at a time when most Republicans were ostracizing him.


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+9 # Caliban 2017-05-21 12:21
The main problem in this situation -- as in so many others -- is not Michael Flynn but Donald Trump.

So, let's keep those articles of impeachment handy. They will come handy sooner rather than later -- if for no other purpose than to encourage DT to head back to Trump towers for good.
 
 
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-05-21 12:28
I wonder if it ever occurs to these CNN authors that the deeply concerned anonymous US officials could be lying to them.

Lying by intelligence officials in order to create or manage public opinion is a central part of the work these US government officals do. It is called "perception management" and it has been a major project of the US government since the end of WW II.

There is a really important book on this by Christopher Simpson. It is "The Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960."

I don't imagine any of these CNN reporters have ever read this book or know anything about the US government's pyschological warfare programs directed at US media in the years following WW II. These reporters are just "useful idiots" to use a phrase that Michael Hayden seems to have just discovered recently.
 
 
-14 # CDMR 2017-05-21 14:35
"Officials noticed an uptick in communication between Flynn and Kislyak shortly after Flynn's trip to Moscow in December 2015."

This sentence shows that either the CIA or NSA is the source of this story and that they were "tappoing" Flynn's communications way back in 2015. Probably earlier than that.

It is not surprising that the Russian ambassador would try to contact Flynn often after his high profile visit to Russia. That's what Ambassadors do.

Flynn's activities seem pretty normal, though he did get paid a lot for a speech -- $45K. He's not in the league of Clinton or Obama but he's out of my league.

But the actions of the NSA or CIA are deeply troubling. They are spying on someone and leaking selected bits of information to the media in order to destroy the guy. That's how criminal governments work. This article says a lot more about the "sources" and the "intelligence officials" than it does about Flynn. The real criminals here are the "intelligence officials." There is actual evidence of a crime on their part. There's no sense of a crime on Flynn's part.
 
 
+1 # MDSolomon 2017-05-21 18:23
The corporate controlled media, including RSN, keeps pounding away at fake news. In this piece of limited hangout, we find the following phrasing:

"The conversations picked up by US intelligence officials ..."; Hearsay. Show us the tapes.

"Officials cautioned, however, that the Russians might have exaggerated ..." Plausible deniability, backing off of a statement that has no citations.

"... shortly after President Barack Obama slapped new sanctions on Russia for meddling in the election." No proof has ever been produced regarding Russian interference. The only evidence is that Seth Rich sent the DNC/Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and then he was murdered.

"Sources tell CNN that Flynn told Kislyak ... The next day, Putin said he wouldn't retaliate." Sources? You mean the same intelligence agencies that have been lying since the beginning?

"Sources say ... the incoming Trump administration would revisit US sanctions on Russia once in office." Heavens! So what? Unless, of course, one profits from armaments and fear. Perhaps we should revisit George HW Bush and Bill Casey promising the Iranians guns in exchange for holding onto the hostages when they were part of Reagan's election campaign. Now that was treason.

http://coloradopublicbanking.blogspot.com/2017/01/us-intelligence-reports-fail.html
 
 
-1 # LandLady 2017-05-21 18:47
I absolutely agree with CDMR. To me it appears that "intelligence officials" - past and/or present, with the help of the msm, are trying to pull off a coup to get rid of the lawfully elected President of the U.S. Even though Trump during the campaign and still at times now acts "un-presidentia l," more harm will be done to our country if this conspiracy succeeds than if Trump serves out his term. Unless he does something truly impeachable, which so far he has not, as far as I know.
 
 
-2 # munley 2017-05-22 08:41
I agree, LandLady. Trump will do much damage in domestic policy, but internationally , he can't be worse than the Clinton-Obama wing of the Democratic Party which is desperately invoking "Russian interference" to cover up their own miserable failures.
 
 
+1 # mtnthai 2017-05-22 14:57
Quoting LandLady:
Unless he does something truly impeachable, which so far he has not, as far as I know.


really? not that you know of?

as many people have already stated, whether there is a Russian problem or not, he can be impeached for obstruction of justice for trying to derail the investigation, and anyone else involved can also face charges. that in and of itself is an impeachable offence. if you do not believe me, ask RIchard Nixon and the 47 other people who went down with him.

history, funny thing about it is, you really can't rewrite it no matter how hard someone might try.
 

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