HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Thursday, December 07, 2017

 

Flynn facts

by digby





"Flynn facts" is what people at the Defense Intelligence Agency used to call Flynn's wild conspiracy mongering before President Obama fired him.  I wrote about the latest revelation of his lunacy for Salon this morning:


Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., dropped a big bombshell on Wednesday in the Russia investigation when he revealed that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee had been sitting on some stunning information for months at the behest of special counsel Robert Mueller. Free to tell the story now that Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI, Cummings said the committee Democrats had been approached last summer by a confidential whistle-blower. He or she reported having been at an inauguration party with a former business associate of Flynn's when that person received a text from Flynn during Donald Trump's inaugural address telling him that a mutual business deal was "good to go."

The business deal in question is the one I wrote about last week, in which Flynn consulted with a company called ACU to build nuclear reactors throughout the Middle East. ACU is run by a man named Alex Copson, who has been promoting various projects to build nuclear facilities with Russian help for more than two decades. According to The Washington Post, "Russian interests would help build the plants, as well as possibly take possession of spent fuel that could be used to build a nuclear weapon."

Cummings sent a letter to Rep.Trey Gowdy, chair of the Oversight Committee asking him to have the committee look into it (which Gowdy has refused to do). The letter says the whistle-blower reported that at the inauguration event Copson said it was "the best day of my life." That was because Flynn had assured Copson that the sanctions against Russia put in place by the Obama administration, which reportedly threatened the nuclear project, would be "ripped up" under President Trump.

According to the whistle-blower, Copson said, "This is the start of something I have been working on for years. Mike has been putting everything in place for us." Copson allegedly turned his phone around when he received the text, displaying the message from Flynn that the project was "good to go." This would mean that Flynn's first action for the new president was to let his former business partners know that their plan to build nuclear reactors with Russian partners was on.

Think about this for a moment. By this time, Flynn and everyone else in the country was aware that Russia had interfered in the election and that there was serious suspicion surrounding the Trump campaign's and transition team's dealings with Russian actors. They knew about the "Steele dossier" because it had been written up in Mother Jones before the election, and Trump himself had been briefed on it by FBI Director James Comey. If what this whistle-blower says is true, Flynn was even more reckless than we knew.

This news is especially damning since we already know that Flynn failed to disclose trips to the Middle East on behalf of ACU when he filed his security clearance renewal application in 2016. It means that his memory was sharp enough to call his friend even before Trump had finished his speech, but not good enough to remember to put his dubious business activities on his disclosure forms. And Robert Mueller knew all about it.

Flynn has made the case in public that it's important to engage in business deals with Russian interests because the United States needs the Russian government to help fight ISIS. It's even possible that's what he thought he was doing -- along with lining up a fat payday. According to The Washington Post, Flynn pushed this plan relentlessly during his brief tenure in the White House as national security adviser and his staff kept pushing it even after he left, without really understanding why they were doing it, just knowing that Flynn insisted it was a high priority.

But even putting the most generous spin on these events, in which Flynn's rationale was simply to keep America safe from terrorists, does not get him off the hook -- nor does it excuse anyone else in the Trump administration. The Russian government interfered in the presidential election, and the incoming administration had an obligation to acknowledge that and pledge to prevent it in the future, regardless of their supposed desire for a U.S.-Russian alliance against ISIS.

In any case, the idea that the Trump team were so intensely focused on Russia because they all shared the belief that Vladimir Putin's government was the key to American foreign policy across the globe is hard to believe, even from this inept crew. Trump was sucking up to Putin long before Flynn joined his entourage, and Flynn seems to have developed his odd preoccupation with Russia on his own as well. It's possible that they each, for different reasons we have not yet fathomed, came together around this common purpose.

What has become clear in recent days is that both the Trump campaign and the Russian government were obsessed with the sanctions. The now-legendary Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 was about rolling back the Magnitsky Act, which created sanctions against Russian oligarchs. Trump ally Erik Prince admitted to meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles Islands on behalf of the Trump transition on the topic of -- you guessed it -- sanctions. When the Obama administration imposed sanctions on the Russians over the election interference, senior members of the Trump campaign told Flynn to get on the horn to assure Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak that those sanctions would be withdrawn them after Trump took office. Now we have someone testifying that Flynn was texting his buddy on inauguration day that they were "good to go" -- on lifting those same sanctions.

Recall that last spring we learned that Team Trump immediately took action to do exactly that. Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reported:
Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve tensions with Moscow.
Members of the State Department and former Obama administration officials were so alarmed that they went to Congress to ask for action. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced legislation to bar the administration from granting sanctions relief without congressional review. That bill died when Flynn was fired shortly thereafter, but another one soon replaced it and became the only major bipartisan piece of legislation passed overwhelmingly by this Congress to date. Trump grudgingly signed it but only because there were more than enough votes to override a veto. The administration has apparently been very slow to comply with the law.

We still don't know why Trump associates met with all those Russians during the campaign and the presidential transition. And we don't know whether the Russian government was holding something over Trump's head, or what that might have been. But it's clear what the Russians wanted in return for their help: They wanted those sanctions lifted. Although we don't know exactly why, it's also clear that the Trump team did everything in its power to get that done. Maybe it's all one big coincidence. But every day more evidence emerges that makes that harder to believe.