By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (5/8/17)
Dear Fellow Readers,
FBI Director James Comey testified last Thursday [5/4] before the House Intelligence Committee and as expected, there were no fireworks. Comey is not going to offer breaking news in such a forum, we’ll only ever know what the FBI has learned should they bring charges. The hearing on Thursday was more for enthusiasts, much of the discussion revolved around whether Comey’s 2016 announcements of Clinton and Trump investigations were handled fairly and without political advantage – deliberate or not.
Today’s A Big Day
Today former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies before the Senate Judiciary committee. There is no disagreement about Yates having notified the Trump administration that then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s behavior and contacts with Russians represented a serious security risk. Though defended early, Flynn is isolated as even his staunch supporters have stepped away from him.
Just to get our own wheels in motion, what might we learn that’s new? Could we learn that Vice President Mike Pence knew about Flynn’s actions far earlier than acknowledged – meaning he lied? As with Watergate we are left with the big question If Flynn Was Warned By Trump Campaign, What Did Pence Know & When Did He Know It?.
Could we learn specifics about the who/what/when/why of Flynn’s contacts with Russians including Russian Ambassador Kysliak; maybe even what assurances Flynn offered about relaxing US sanctions against Russia? We already know they met, we already know Flynn did discuss sanctions.
We’ve been told by Trump that Flynn did nothing wrong but then again we’ve been told many other things about Flynn – drip, drip, drip. But not only did Yates alert the White House, but the Trump transition team had also specifically asked for a classified profile of Kislyak because it was feared that Flynn didn’t properly understand the risk.
Or this version which is even more damning, because Trump Transition’s Handling Of Sensitive Details Reportedly Alarmed Obama Officials
What does a cover-up look like?
We’re told nothing is wrong and slowly, step by step, denial after denial, deflection after deflection, we learn there is far more to the story. Hardly a day goes by without a new headline linking Trump to the Russians. It must be a tough job for the Trump crew to go forward each day knowing that your denials from a prior day have been proven wrong by the next morning. But that’s exactly what they do ignoring that it’s the cover-up that’ll get you.
It’s More Than Flynn. It’s More Than Carter Page
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked a number of high profile Trump associates to provide records of communications with Russians.
The New York Time reported:
“Among those who said they had received the requests were Roger J. Stone Jr., an informal adviser to President Trump, and Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, and Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, were also sent letters, the officials with knowledge of the investigation said. Representatives for those two men declined to comment.”
I personally appreciate Carter Page’s tone and resilience – I’m not sure how being argumentative may prove out as a line of defense but I hope he stays the course. It’s possible that his choice to go to the media to defend himself has already proven damaging. But as this news article suggests, if there is to be an indictment it is going to be someone more important, higher up, than Carter Page because an ex-CIA officer declares Page “Chump change” because “feds are focusing on White House higher-ups”.
Did Eric Trump Already Acknowledge Trump Russian Financial Ties?
Over the years, Trump and sons have regaled us over the years with boastful assertions of their business dealings and links with Russians – but now that such relationships could raise red flags – yep, denial.
A golf writer, James Dodson co-author of Arnold Palmer’s autobiography, related a story on WBUR-FM NPR radio on Friday about a visit he made to the Trump National Golf Club Charlotte in North Carolina. Here’s what Donald and Eric Trump shared with him in 2014:
“Trump was strutting up and down, talking to his new members about how they were part of the greatest club in North Carolina,” Dodson said. “And when I first met him, I asked him … you know, this is the journalist in me … I said, ‘What are you using to pay for these courses?’ And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100m.”
Dodson continued: “So when I got in the cart with Eric, as we were setting off [to play], I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks – because of the recession, the great recession – have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.
“And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’
“Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.”
Best For Last – Grand Jury?
In Friday installment of GQ’s The Resistance Keith Olbermann offered:
(There is) “strong reason to believe there is a grand jury sitting in the Eastern district of Virginia right now hearing evidence about the connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russians.”
Olbermann said this was all-but “confirmed when FBI Director James Comey” testified before the Senate Judiciary committee,” revealing that the FBI is “coordinating” with “two sets of prosecutors,” including the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
“I asked the smartest man I know, John Dean—Nixon’s White House Counsel, and the survivor of presidential scandals past—to translate what coordinating could mean,” Olbermann said.
“Coordinating with the office of the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia? John Dean says Comey’s testimony makes it difficult to believe that there is not a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia,” the GQ host added.
Happy Monday “Sally Yates Testifies” Day!
Drip, Drip, Drip…