More Flynn: Mueller Veers Toward Kushner and Pence

A number of further developments as news about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's plea has developed throughout the day...


[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk, Josh Margolin, Adam Kelsey, and Veronica Stracqualursi at ABC News: Flynn Has Promised Special Counsel 'Full Cooperation' in Russia Probe. "Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised 'full cooperation' in the special counsel's Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria."

That's a fairly stunning announcement. One has to imagine it blew back Donald Trump's hair, especially considering the reports that he found out about all of this at the same time we did this morning — from news reports, just like the rest of us.

Clearly Flynn is cooperating, given the details of the plea deal, which suggest he has a lot to offer and has freely offered it. There's also this excellent point about his deplorable son, wisely observed by Nick Merrill:

Flynn has been around long enough to see that Trump's loyalty is a one-day deal. He's got no reason at all to protect Trump, and every reason that any parent would have to protect his stupid kid.


Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: 'Very Senior' Trump Official Authorized Flynn's Russia Outreach.
Everything [Donald] Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn discussed last December with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. — everything that led to his dramatic guilty plea and cooperation agreement Friday with special counsel Robert Mueller — he did with the involvement of the presidential transition team.

That's the story told in the most important document Mueller released on a Friday that could have intensified the president's own legal liability: Flynn's stipulation of the facts underlying his December 2016 conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At least one of those two conversations Flynn undertook at the direction of a "very senior" transition official, the stipulation says.

The documents do not say who directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak — a conversation Flynn later reportedly lied about to Vice President Mike Pence, a lie that was the stated reason that Trump fired Flynn in February. But Flynn's statement, following his Friday guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with Mueller's probe, shows that the transition team, at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, was informed at every stage of his discussions with Kislyak.

And that itself raises new questions about what Pence, who ran the presidential transition and publicly affirmed that Flynn never talked to Kislyak about Russia sanctions, actually knew.

Pence's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
I'll bet he didn't! I'm sure he's busily cooking up yet another transparently mendacious statement about how he doesn't know anything about anything except what he learns from the news.

Again let us recall the extraordinary number of things we have to believe to accept Pence's account that Flynn lied to him about his conversation with Kislyak.

I have been saying these two words over and over again as if they're an incantation for frustratingly elusive accountability, and I will now say them once more: Pence knew.

And if he wasn't himself the "very senior" transition official who directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak, he knows who it was. And, aside from Trump himself, the most likely candidate other than Pence is Jared Kushner, who has now been confirmed as the person who directed Flynn to discuss a United Nations Security Council vote.


Aram Roston and John Hudson at BuzzFeed: It Was Kushner Who Told Flynn to Make Calls About Israel UN Vote, Source Says.
Jared Kushner, [Donald] Trump's son-in-law, called Michael Flynn in December 2016 and told him to call members of the UN Security Council in an effort to stop a vote on a resolution critical of Israeli settlement policy, according to a person who was present in the room when Flynn took the call.

Flynn then called Russia's then-ambassador to the United States to seek his assistance, and later lied to the FBI about having done so, according to documents filed in federal court Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller that explained Flynn's guilty plea on two counts of lying to federal agents.

The documents do not say on whose behalf Flynn contacted Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, identifying the person only as "a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team."

But a Trump transition official who was in the room where Flynn took a call regarding the upcoming UN Security Council vote said Flynn identified the caller as Kushner.

"Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote," the person said.

If confirmed, that call would bring prosecutors one step closer to Kushner, who also serves as a senior adviser to Trump.
See also Eli Lake at Bloomberg: Kushner Is Said to Have Ordered Flynn to Contact Russia.

* * *

Here are a couple of other useful pieces:

Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post: Michael Flynn's Guilty Plea: A Comprehensive Timeline.

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Former Prosecutors Break Down What Mike Flynn's Plea Deal Really Means.

And finally:

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus