By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (6/22/17)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Flynn Flips, Flippin’ Flynn, Flynn The Flipper, Flynn Flips On Trump, Flynn Tries Not to Lock Himself Up, Flynn Belly Flop, Flippin’ Lyin’ Flynn Cuts Deal – Gets To Keep Gonads (purportedly)
I believe this to be the biggest story of the last few days.
I appreciate Charles Pierce and his column for Esquire. Pierce references this report from CNN saying Senators Warner (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI) and Blumenthal (D-CT) ‘signal’ that Flynn is cooperating with investigations.
“Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut— of saying what a great number of people have suspected for a while: Namely, that Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser and probably the worst executive branch hire since Albert Fall, has begun to sing sweet, sweet melodies to various investigators. If these two guys are right, then that would explain why everybody in the White House, except (possibly) the gardeners, are scrambling for lawyers.
“If true maybe this explains why even the lawyers are getting their own lawyers.”
Sure Enough: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Hires His Own Lawyer
Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III hired his own lawyer who helped him prepare for his open Senate Intelligence appearance. Thus we heard “I don’t recall” twenty-nine times but I predict he said enough that he’s a solid bet for ongoing legal issues as this plays out.
I often hear “there is no evidence” but THIS is how it works – one person gets flipped, Flynn in this case, he brings someone along with him and it continues forward this way. The only way Flynn would get full immunity is if he brought Trump along with him.
Special Prosecutor Mueller has built a great team, even to the extent he hired a veteran federal prosecutor who is known for his skill at witness-flipping.
Mueller Adds Witness Flipping Expert; Mueller Adds Russian-speaking Attorney
In addition to Weissman, Mueller adds a lawyer who once clerked in the Supreme Court and, get this, speaks Russian – more signals.
So who has lawyers at this point: Trump; Flynn; Sessions; Kushner; Cohen…
Senate Intelligence Committee: This Is What Russia Does – Senator Angus King (I-ME)
In advance of the hearings (Wednesday) we have this 6-minute interview by NPR with Senator Angus King. King doesn’t mince words as he declares: “Russia does this”; “as Comey said, they will be back”. Feel free to listen, highlights of the actual testimony follows. In the last 30 seconds or so King offers a few ideas of what can be done to protect our voting system going forward.
Putin Ordered Disruption of 2016 Election: Ex-DHS Secretary
Donald Trump has never shown a drop of curiosity about the Russian hacking of the US election. Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III has never displayed a crumb of curiosity about the Russian hacking of the election. Here’s how White House spokesman and Saturday Night Live inspiration Sean Spicer would explain it all away…
“Spicer was asked a yes-or-no question near the end of a press briefing: Does Trump believe the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election?
““I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing,” Spicer said, resorting to the fallback answer he frequently gives in response to difficult or controversial questions — that he has not had a chance to ask the president his views.”
Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson stated that not only did the Russians hack the election but, “the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyber attacks on our nation for the purpose of influence our election,” he said. “That is a fact, plain and simple.”
Russian Hackers Targeted Election Systems In 21 States
Department of Homeland Security cyber–security official Jeanette Manfra told the Senate Intelligence committee, “as of right now,” the department has “evidence of election-related systems in 21 states that were targeted” by the Russians.
Donald Trump As “Unwitting Agent” For Russian Hack: FBI Priestap Would Not Say
Mother Jones magazine reports FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap also testified before the Senate Intelligence committee and was asked about Russian hacking of the election.
Moscow “employed a multifaceted approach intended to undermine confidence in our democratic process,” including efforts to “discredit” Hillary Clinton and help elect Trump.
Citing Priestap’s description of Russian efforts to “sow discord” in the United States, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) asked Priestap about the term “unwitting agent,” meaning an official duped into doing the bidding of a foreign power.
“Did Donald Trump become an unwitting agent of the Russians?” Heinrich asked.
Priestap paused for several seconds, with the hearing room silent.
“I can’t really comment on that,” he said.
“I don’t blame you for not answering that question,” Heinrich replied, to laughter.
“Unwitting” is a reference to an August 2016 comment offered by former CIA Director Michael Morell endorsing Clinton:
“Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests—endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States,” Morrell wrote. “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
Comey: “They Will Be Back”. It Could Be Real Easy To Flip An American Election
In the same Senate Intelligence committee hearing there was a lot of dialog about the safety of US election systems. One theory put forward is there is safety in diversity (of technology and such), but Senator Angus King (I-Me) offered a different point of view:
“A sophisticated actor could hack an election simply by focusing on certain counties,” said Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with the Democrats. “I don’t think it works just to say it’s a big system and diversity will protect us.”
We are NOT safe and Trump remains steadfastly dis-curious. Why?
And then this…
Doing Trump’s Bidding House Blocks New Russia Sanctions
Trump is not only dis-curious, he is working against any actions against Russia and even working to undo previous actions taken in the form of sanctions and seizure of the two Russian spy facilities in the United States. Last edition I reported the Senate action to impose new sanctions on Russia by a 97-2 vote. I reported that Putin “warned” the US to not take further action.
How did the White House respond to Putin’s warning? Of course by pushing the House to ‘soften’ actions taken by the Senate:
But certainly the House would not cave to Russian pressure. Certainly the House would not agree to “slow and block”. Certainly given the risk to our democracy the House would follow the Senate actions? No – the House finds a procedural way to block action:
“Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters Tuesday that his staff had been working “hand in glove” with Senate aides to prevent just this sort of issue. But he said the final bill included “language we had not seen” that was ultimately flagged by the House parliamentarian as a constitutional violation.
“At the end of the day, this isn’t a policy issue; this isn’t a partisan issue,” Brady said. “This is a constitutional issue that we’ll address in a positive way.
“But the holdup comes amid a push by the Trump administration to delay or water down the sanctions bill, which was passed in response to Russia’s continued involvement in the wars in Ukraine and Syria and for its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused House Republicans Tuesday of concocting a “procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia.”
REALLY? In The Last Few Days…
Spicer assures us of Trump’s ongoing dis–curious attitude about Russian hacking of our election.
FBI, DHS testify about details of the risks of the hack and assure us that as Comey said, “they will be back”.
DHS says Putin ordered the hack.
The White House sets out to “slow and block” additional sanctions against Russia for hacking our election – and is successful.
So Trump does not show any interest in the Russian hack of our election and even works again investigations or penalties directed at the Russians.
Does it make you wonder? Or is it Fake News?
Or could it be is Trump up to his eyeballs?
Bloomberg Bombshell: Trump With Lengthy Ties To Russian Mobsters And Money Laundering
I am at a loss for how this is a bombshell but if Bloomberg, RawStory, Rachel Maddow, the Financial Times and others want to put his forward with that emphasis who am I to say otherwise? Except that all of this has been known and reported for months.
In a nutshell, Felix Sater is a business associate of Donald Trump, a mob informant, a convicted felon, an associate of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, an associate of Michael Flynn and has boasted about his ties to the Kremlin and Russian Intelligence. Sater was a principal in The Bayrock Group that partnered with Donald and Ivanka for the Trump Soho Hotel project. As you would imagine, there is a LOT to the story and it’s easy to find lengthy articles like…
Special Counsels Find Crimes Committed
If Mueller is now investigating Trump for money laundering and that makes Felix Sater and Trump Soho Hotel ‘Breaking News’ I am all for it. It has long been rumored that Trump’s business dealings were another parallel universe of the scope of investigations. Sometimes you investigate for five years and find a blue dress, sometimes you investigate for a few months and find money laundering. History says: Special Counsels Find Crimes Committed.
‘Have The Russians Compromised Trump?’
This from Newsweek – Russians conduct espionage, Russians recruit collaborators, Russians identify vulnerabilities, Russians compromise the collaborators:
This of systematically exploiting human frailties and weaknesses drives Russian planning in terms of how they strive to achieve their objectives.
In this light of the classical Russian intelligence “ ” mindset (which Vladimir Putin shares), the contents of former British secret agent Christopher Steele’s are eerily consistent with what is now known, in terms of the basic timeline of events, on how the Russians in all likelihood went about targeting individuals associated with the U.S. presidential election.
It is thus reasonable to presume that every target – human and cyber – to whom the Russians had access in the run-up to the election would have been approached in some manner and exploited to the greatest extent possible.
Popular Theory: Only An Unpopular President Can Be Impeached
There is a theory that President Clinton decided to politicize his impeachment by striving to be so popular he could not be removed from office. When Clinton was impeached his favorability was at 70%. When Nixon chose to resign his favorability was closer to 20%.
Here’s a great review of Trump’s polling and he’s closer to Nixon than he is to Clinton but his base is only slowly letting go. But enough so that it makes it increasingly difficult to move forward with his legislative agenda.
If you want a longer review of former DHS Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s testimony and state intrusion, vulnerabilities and responses check out this great article in Mother Jones magazine.
You can link to the Wednesday Senate Intelligence Committee Hearings HERE.