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What Did Flynn Know About Russian Ties to Trump and When Did He Know It?
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=449"><span class="small">Juan Cole, Informed Comment</span></a>   
Saturday, 22 December 2018 09:23

Cole writes: "Disgraced former National Security Adviser to Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, had his sentencing postponed until March on Tuesday after Judge Emmett Sullivan raked him over the coals for lying to the FBI in the White House and for intimating that he was not really guilty and had been entrapped by the FBI."

Michael Flynn walks down the West Wing Colonnade. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Michael Flynn walks down the West Wing Colonnade. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


What Did Flynn Know About Russian Ties to Trump and When Did He Know It?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

22 December 18

 

isgraced former National Security Adviser to Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, had his sentencing postponed until March on Tuesday after Judge Emmett Sullivan raked him over the coals for lying to the FBI in the White House and for intimating that he was not really guilty and had been entrapped by the FBI.

Flynn had had several conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before and after Trump was elected. He is alleged to have tried to convince Moscow not to retaliate for sanctions slapped on Russia by outgoing president Barack Obama. He also is alleged to have pledged to Russia that US sanctions on Russian officials would be lifted. It is not clear what the quid pro quo was for these assurances.

When questioned about his contacts with Kislyak at the White House by the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017, Flynn lied about the content of his conversations with the Russian ambassador on Dec. 22 and 29.

The Logan Act forbids private citizens to conduct foreign policy on behalf of the United States, and Flynn was likely in violation of it by having policy conversations with Kislyak before Trump was sworn in. The Logan Act is not known for actually resulting in charges, however, and if Flynn thought he was in jeopardy from it, he likely was over-reacting.

Sullivan at one point accused Flynn of continuing to function as a foreign agent via money paid to his Intel Group firm by the Turkish government while he was NSC adviser. The judge later withdrew this charge, but actually the facts of the matter aren’t clear. Flynn told the Trump transition team that he might need to register as an agent of a foreign power. It isn’t clear that he had stopped working for Turkey before he entered the White House.

Flynn’s Intel Group had taken some $600,000 from the Turkish government to lobby for the extradition to Turkey of Fethullah Gulen, leader of a New Religious Movement, Hizmet (service). The Turkish government of President Tayyip Erdogan alleges that Gulen was behind a 2016 coup attempt, but US intelligence agencies and the State Department say they cannot find convincing evidence of this charge. At some points, Flynn is alleged to have set in motion a plan to kidnap Gulen and send him back to Turkey for arrest. All this was going on as he was closely involved in Trump’s campaign in fall of 2018.

Flynn contacted a congressman and wrote an op-ed on election day, 2018, comparing Gulen to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and urging his extradition to Turkey. It is not clear that the Turkish government was getting its money’s worth. But Flynn and his associates repeatedly attempted to hide from the US government that he was paid by the Turkish government, maintaining that the money came from a Turkish power broker, Ekim Alptekin, who is close to Erdogan. Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, Flynn’s business associate at Intel Group, was also indicted this week, for failing to declare himself a foreign agent.

The picture of Flynn that emerges from the public record is of a man who was wheeling and dealing with Russia and Turkey in fall-winter 2016-17. He was trying to mollify Russia over Obama’s new sanctions and trying to find a way to get Gulen from Pennsylvania to Ankara.

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+14 # DongiC 2018-12-22 11:13
Here is a three star general, the head of the DIA under Obama, an energetic cheer leader in behalf of Donald Trump (who can forget his cry of "lock her up" at Trump rallies?), an adviser to said president with a special relationship to the Russian ambassador, a businessman with money making connections to the Turkish government, a lying bastard who is a disgrace to the uniform he once wore and the country he once served. Yet, Trump still speaks favorably of this fallen knight. Tells one quite a lot where Trump is coming from and it certainly is not greatness.
 
 
+6 # gdsharpe 2018-12-22 11:33
I'm pretty sure President Obama is quietly getting the last laugh here...
One item of his parting advice to Trump was "Don't hire Flynn."
It seems Obama correctly figured Trump would do the opposite of anything he recommended.
 
 
+4 # Porfiry 2018-12-22 11:40
Just more sordidness. Not surprising -- but upsetting.
 
 
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-23 07:58
Cole is free to give his side of this story but it is clear to everyone other than Cole that nothing described here, except for the lying to the FBI, is a crime. The Logan act citation is just a silly joke thought up by fired Obama DOJ official, Sally Yates.

Probably Flynn did not lie to the FBI. Why has the FBI and DOJ refused to tell us the name of the second person in the interview in January 2017? One was Strzok who we all know what out to get Trump by any means necessary. The other is not named. And why did Mueller refuse the judge's order to hand over the original 302 reports written by Strzok and mystery G-man (or woman)? Reportedly, they say that Flynn did not lie.

The Flynn case is interesting because Flynn was the strongest opponent of the War in Syria. He was public about his knowledge that ISIS was a US/Saudi proxy army and he opposed that. This is why he was so hated by the Obama people. It probably also accounts for why the Obama holdovers in the FBI and DOJ were so anxious to get Flynn out.

Framing people for crimes they did not commit is the standard FBI "insurance policy" that Strzok referred to in his text message on tactics for destroying Trump and his advisors. We've seen the FBI do this 1000s of times before.
 
 
+1 # RMF 2018-12-26 15:41
RR -- what you fail to mention is that Flynn also knew about other campaign actions to collude re theft/publicati on of Dem Party info. That, and fact that Flynn is singing like a canary (evident from Mueller plea for leniency) will eventually bring trump down.

And when trump WH finally collapses, it will be at least in part because Flynn served as a needed info source for Mueller team, and Flynn's singing may also bring down Pence as well.
 
 
+1 # RMF 2018-12-26 15:44
PS -- you unfairly dis Cole when you criticize his mention of Logan Act, as Cole quickly adds Flynn "was over-reacting" if he feared prosecution under Logan Act.