Saturday, February 11, 2017
Just how much trouble is Michael Flynn in? AND WHAT DID THE PRESIDENT KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?
On Wednesday, national security adviser Michael Flynn told The Washington Post that he and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had never discussed the sanctions put in place by the Obama administration in a series of communications in December 2016.
On Thursday, Flynn told The Post — through a spokesman! — that, well, who could say what he and Kislyak talked about. Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up,” the spokesman said.
That's, um, bad. It strains credulity that on Wednesday, Flynn could issue a flat denial about conversations he had with Kislyak, but on Thursday, suddenly his memory of those conversations changed.
It also runs counter to the version of events that Flynn as well as then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence and several other senior Trump officials put out in the wake of the revelations that Flynn and Kisylak had been in contact, even as an investigation by the Obama administration was concluding that Russian hackers had interfered with the U.S. election process for the express purpose of hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Trump.
The two men “did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence insisted in an interview on “Face the Nation” in January, adding that to accuse Flynn of discussing sanctions “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”
That runs directly counter to the information The Post gathered from nine (!) intelligence officials who were granted anonymity to speak candidly. This passage is particularly damning:
All of those officials said Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.
“Kislyak was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time,” said a former official.
The FBI investigation into Flynn's contacts with Kisylak is ongoing. And the Post story is already creating turmoil within the administration.
IF THIS IS EVER UNRAVELED THE QUESTION WILL BECOME: WHAT DID THE PRESIDENT (PRESIDENT ELECT) KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT.