The Russia Monitor: Bipartisan Congressional Investigation DOA & What’s Up With Mike Flynn And FBI?

“If you believe in coincidence you are not paying attention.” – Folk wisdom

By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (3/27/17)

Dear Fellow Readers,

If you are reading I imagine you fit somewhere between the spectrum of ‘curious’ and ‘ this is serious stuff’. I lean to the serious stuff end of the spectrum. I feel compelled to point out that facts are a bit thin to date – we know enough to be concerned but in no way can we connect all the dots. And if you want to jump to the most damning news, feel free to scroll to the CNN article regarding Mike Flynn as a possible witness for the FBI.

To illustrate the point about facts and connections, we know Jeff Sessions met with Soviet Ambassador Kislyak twice, he’s admitted to this with his recusal. We know he didn’t disclose these meetings during his Senate hearings. Those are facts and I’m not sure how much more is truly known but this was enough for Sessions to rush to recuse himself without even contacting President Trump before his announcement. I offer this example deliberately and will come back to this.

Bipartisan investigation DOA

Bipartisan investigation suffered a huge setback on Wednesday when House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) rushed to the White House to disclose news that the intelligence community had ‘incidentally’ collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition. He not only registered his alarm but suggested the Trump may well have been right to claim his “wires were tapped”.

The information shared with Nunes and then presented at the White House had been shared with no committee members, nor did Nunes make any attempt to contact his co-chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Bipartisan investigation dies early – case made for independent investigation.

I think Nunes undoes himself further. He commented that Trump transition aides had been “unmasked” – meaning identified in reports disseminated across the intelligence community. This was enough for Trump to offer that he feels partially vindicated.

The ability for Trump to declare vindication may very well have been Nunes’ intent but as Bob Baer, a former CIA operative said the details offered by Nunes were “red herring” that would sound convincing only to people who did not understand the way the intelligence community works. “Daily there are thousands of Americans intercepted ‘incidentally’ . . . by accident,” said Mr Baer. “They may be calling an exchange that happens to be used by Hizbollah. Or let’s say a journalist calling the Kremlin asking for a Putin interview.”

(Financial Times March 23, 2017; behind a pay firewall.)



Did Jeff Sessions participate in a THIRD meeting with Russians?

The primary news focus between Thursday and Saturday was the failure for the House to vote on new health care legislation. But today, the Russian connections gained new footing. I’ll offer the link first and then a few thoughts:


The Huffington Post article stays within the guardrails of “was there a third meeting?”. The DailyKos article into the “why” and we’ll watch where this goes. It might help to understand more about Rosneft .

Rosneft is an oil company majority owned by the Russian government. There are many fascinating tangents to Rosneft (read about the history of Yukos and Russian oligarchs), but to stick to the narrow the Russian government in August 2014 announced preparations to sell 19.5% of the company (sale in Decemeber 2016). The most interesting thing to note is that the new ownership structure includes a Cayman Islands company, QHG Cayman Limited, and there is no disclosure of the ownership of the company. In the DailyKos Seth Abramson claims Trump was given 0.5% of Rosneft in exchange for lifting US sanctions. The day after the third Sessions Kislyak meeting Trump spoke out for a Russian détente. By the way, Paul Manafort was heading the campaign as that time (worked for Ukraine and Russian government).


The BIG News: Mike Flynn may have turned on Trump and become FBI witness

I encourage you to read this, it’s a short article and if true we’ll be hearing much, much more.

It’s possible that Mike Flynn was fast and footloose on a number of fronts. Fethullah Gulen is the titular head of the religious group that is accused of responsibility for the attempted coup of government of Turkey and President Recep Erdogan. In the same Raw Story article:

“This week, retired CIA Director James Woolsey said that he sat in on a secret meeting with Flynn and officials from Turkey’s authoritarian Erdogan regime in which Flynn entertained the idea of illegally sidestepping U.S. diplomatic protocols to return a fugitive Muslim cleric to Turkey (currently resides in Pennsylvania). Woolsey describe the proposed operation as a “dead of night” mission to “whisk away” Fethullah Gulen and return him to Erdogan’s far-right government.”


Other News Items Worth Noting