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New Court Filings in Michael Flynn's Case Spell Trouble for Trump
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48409"><span class="small">Joshua Eaton, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Saturday, 18 May 2019 08:24

Eaton writes: "President Donald Trump is still in a lot of trouble, and it has nothing to do with Congress."

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)

ALSO SEE: Mike Flynn Contacted Multiple Times by Trump Allies Trying to
Influence His Cooperation With Russia Investigation

New Court Filings in Michael Flynn's Case Spell Trouble for Trump

By Joshua Eaton, ThinkProgress

18 May 19

It ain't over 'til it's over.

resident Donald Trump is still in a lot of trouble, and it has nothing to do with Congress. Federal courts continue to reveal new information that appears to show the president’s inner circle and closest allies were deeply involved in efforts to stymie investigations into his administration. With over a dozen investigations ongoing, the Justice Department is still casting a long shadow over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the government to release a transcript of a call in which Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, discussed U.S. sanctions with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sullivan also ordered the release of a transcript in which Trump’s former personal lawyer, John Dowd, seemed to discourage Flynn from cooperating with federal prosecutors on November 22, 2017.

Flynn ignored Dowd and pleaded guilty on December 1, 2017, admitting he lied to federal investigators about his conversation with Kislyak. In a sentencing memo filed last year, prosecutors said Flynn provided “substantial assistance” in three investigations, two of which are ongoing.

“The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” a newly unredacted court filing released Thursday said.

Among other things, the transcripts could reveal the identities of “persons connected to the Administration or to Congress,” broadening the circle of people implicated in Trump’s attempts to quash special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference.

The government has until May 31 to make the two transcripts public.

Among the most embarrassing revelations for the administration could be the transcript — or possibly even a recording — of the voicemail by Dowd.

“[I]f … there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security
issue … so, you know, .. we need some kind of heads up,” Dowd said, according to Mueller’s final report.

The public could soon find out what’s behind those ellipses, and what else, if anything, Dowd said in the voicemail. The results may not land Dowd or Trump in new legal jeopardy — Mueller already had the full voicemail, after all — but they’re likely to cause a public relations headache for the White House.

More importantly, the new revelations underscore the extent to which the Justice Department — not Congress — is still investigating Trump, his campaign and his associates.

This week saw a dramatic escalation in the fight between the White House and Congress over access to documents and witnesses related to the Russia probe. The White House has dug in, stonewalling on everything from the unredacted Mueller report to testimony by Attorney General William Barr.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have used their recent ascent to the majority to launch a series of oversight investigations into Trump and his administration across the Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight, Finance, and Ways and Means Committees.

But while Congress and the White House fight, the Justice Department is still quietly at work.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have been looking into whether there were illegal foreign donations to Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, as well as hush-money payments Trump made through his former fixer, Michael Cohen, to two women who claimed they had affairs with him. Cohen went to jail for breaking campaign finance law by making those payments.

Mueller also referred 14 still-unknown cases to other departments within the Justice Department when he closed his investigation last month. Those cases, detailed in a heavily redacted appendix to the special counsel’s final report, could spell ongoing legal trouble for the president and his associates.

That report concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to show that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference efforts, but it did not come to a conclusion on whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation.

It also didn’t give Trump or his campaign a clean bill of health on their Russia contacts or other foreign influence, especially by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — areas that could provide fertile ground for other federal prosecutors in the ongoing investigations.

Then there’s the trial of Roger Stone, a former senior Trump campaign advisor who faces charges that he lied to Congress about his alleged attempts to contact Wikileaks, which published emails Russia stole from the Clinton campaign. Trump has not been directly implicated in any of the court filings in the Stone case, but the public trial could reveal new information that paints the president and his campaign in an unflattering light.

Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee has referred Trump associate Erik Prince to the Justice Department for what appear to be misleading statements he made to Congress. Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s secretary of education. The Senate Intelligence Committee has also asked the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., to clarify his past testimony.

Those two moves raise the specter that more people from Trumpworld could face prosecution for lying to investigators, adding to an already long list of Mueller indictments and guilty pleas over the past two years.

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-11 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-18 09:07
"the president’s inner circle and closest allies were deeply involved in efforts to stymie investigations into his administration."

This is a lot like the media's constant use of the term "collusion." Collusion is not a crime and neither is "stymie." Why use this idiotic term. Obstruction is a crime. Either Trump obstructed justice or he did not.

The reason why the media uses these weasel words is that the real legal terms have definitions in law and case histories of what acts have led to conviction and what have not. Journalists don't want to invoke the legal terms because they know they don't have a good case. So weasel out of it.

As far as the intercepted conversation between Trump's lawyer and Flynn's lawyer, this is a privileged conversation between lawyers. The fact that the NSA was spying on Trump lawyers is probably to get the whole think thrown out of any court case where it might be presented as evidence. Still, this is the kind of advice lawyers always give. They are allowed to give it. They don't want their clients to get into jeopardy.

For almost 3 years, some media have flailed away at criminal charges against Trump. It makes good entertainment. It is juicy and weaselly. We all like it. But as far as political discourse, it is just empty, sort of like verbal masturbation.
+9 # Freddy 2019-05-18 12:35
"Political discourse" is unimportant. What is important is getting to the bottom of Russian attempts to subvert US elections. There are already over 100 documented contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign. Trump was so concerned about those contacts coming to light that he -- among other things --authored a lie-filled statement for Jr. about the "adoption meeting," fired Sessions for recusing himself -- after it was revealed that Sessions had met with Russians during the campaign and "forgot about" those meetings during congressional testimony. Clearly, Trump and his groupies have been doing all they can to hide the truth. To protect democracy, the search for the truth must continue.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-18 18:44
Fred -- do you know of anywhere that the 100 or more contacts between Trump campaign staff and
Russians are listed and briefly explained. I see this "factoid" a lot but I can't think of a single one that is substantive or in the least way suspicious. I may be missing the forest for the trees.
+4 # chapdrum 2019-05-18 12:57
There's been trouble spelling for The Don since day one of his "administration."
Huge corporate tax cut, relentless drive to arbitrarily deprive tens of millions of their health insurance, imprisonment of migrant children, TWO Supreme Ct. "justices." The Don is akin to the mighty cockroach: a perennial survivor.
+5 # DongiC 2019-05-18 13:40
The arch criminal in the White House is getting ensnared in all the lies circulating about his connections with the Russians and his attempts to keep them secret. Trump, quite obviously obstructed justice along with several of his colleagues. They should all be in jail, Trump after he is impeached and convicted.
+1 # revhen 2019-05-19 12:19
1. During the campaign Trump asked Russia to supply emails from and to Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic party leaders. The clip of his asking has been shown numerous times.

2. Russia complied and illegally broke in Clinton's and the Democrats' accounts.

3. Russia supplied said emails which were used by Trump's campaign to attempt to discredit Clinton and the Democrats.

Bottom line: An obvious case of criminal conspiracy.