Mueller Charges Against Flynn Exonerate Trump of Russian Collusion by Publius Tacitus


The news of Mike Flynn's plea agreement with special prosecutor Robert Mueller was trumpeted on the media as if Flynn had admitted to killing Kennedy or had unprotected sex with Vladimir Putin. But once I took time to read the actual agreement I realized, not surprisingly, the the media lynch mob was blinded by hatred and unwilling to think objectively or fairly about the matter. The evidence exonerates Donald Trump of  having colluded with the Russians but does expose Michael Flynn as a man of terrible judgment when it comes to talking to the FBI. There was nothing that Flynn did with the Russians that was wrong or improper. 

Here are the key details for you to judge for yourself:


Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, the United States of America and the defendant, MICHAEL T. FLYNN, stipulate and agree that the following facts are true and accurate. These facts do not constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offense; they are being submitted to demonstrate that sufficient facts exist that the defendant committed the offense to which he is pleading guilty.

1.    The defendant, MICHAEL T. FLYNN, who served as a surrogate and national security advisor for the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump ("Campaign"), as a senior member of President-Elect Trump's Transition Team ("Presidential Transition Team"), and as the National Security Advisor to President Trump, made materially false statements and omissions during an interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") on January 24, 2017, in Washington, D.C. At the time of the interview, the FBI had an open investigation into the Government of Russia's ("Russia") efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Campaign and Russia, and whether there was any coordination between the Campaign and Russia's efforts.

2.    FLYNN's false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact on the FBI's ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

False Statements Regarding FLYNN's Request to the Russian Ambassador that Russia Refrain from Escalating the Situation in Response to U.S. Sanctions against Russia


3.    On or about January 24, 2017, FLYNN agreed to be interviewed by agents from the FBI ("January 24 voluntary interview"). During the interview, FLYNN falsely stated that he did not ask Russia's  Ambassador to the United States ("Russian Ambassador") to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia. FLYNN also falsely  stated that he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which the Russian Ambassador stated that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of FLYNN's  request. In truth and in fact, however, FLYNN then and there knew that the following had occurred:

a.    On or about December 28, 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day. The executive order announced sanctions against Russia in response to that government's actions intended to interfere with the 2016 presidential election ("U.S. Sanctions").

b.    On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN,

c.    On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PTT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.

d.    Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.

e.    Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.

f.   On or about December 30, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time.

g.    On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN  and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FLYNN's request.

h.    After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FLYNN's conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia's decision not to escalate the situation.

False Statements Regarding FLYNN's Request that Foreign Officials Vote Against or Delay a United Nations Security Council Resolution

4.    During the January 24 voluntary interview, FLYNN made additional false statements about calls he made to Russia and several other countries regarding a resolution submitted by Egypt to the United Nations Security Council on December 21, 2016. Specifically FLYNN falsely stated that he only asked the countries' positions on the vote, and that he did not request that any of the countries take any particular action on the resolution. FLYNN also falsely stated that the Russian Ambassador never described to him Russia's response to FLYNN's request regarding the resolution. In truth and in fact, however, FLYNN then and there knew that the following had occurred:

a.    On or about December 21, 2016, Egypt submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council on the issue of Israeli settlements ("resolution"). The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to vote on the resolution the following day.

b.    On or about December 22, 2016, a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed FLYNN to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.

c.    On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN contacted the Russian Ambassador about the pending vote. FLYNN informed the Russian Ambassador about the incoming administration's opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution

d.    On or about December 23, 2016, FLYNN again spoke with the Russian Ambassador, who informed FLYNN that if it came to a vote Russia would not vote against the resolution.

Other False Statements Regarding FLYNN's Contacts with Foreign Governments

5.    On March 7, 2017, FLYNN filed multiple documents with the Department of  Justice pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act ("FARA") pertaining to a project performed by him and his company, the Flynn Intel Group, Inc. ("FIG"), for the principal benefit of the Republic of Turkey ("Turkey project"). In the FARA filings, FLYNN made materially false statements and omissions, including by falsely staling that (a) FIG did not know whether or the extent to which the Republic of Turkey was involved in the Turkey project, (b) the Turkey project was focused on improving U.S. business organizations' confidence regarding doing business in Turkey, and (c) an op-ed by FLYNN published in The Hill on November 8, 2016, was written at his own initiative; and by omitting that officials from the Republic of Turkey provided supervision and direction over the Turkey project.

Robert S. Mueller III
Special Counsel

Now, let's sort out what actually happened with respect to Russia (you can only figure this out after reading the entire charge). Let's re-write the Mueller "charge" chronologically and look at how the meaning changes:

December 21, 2016–Egypt submitted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council on the issue of Israeli settlements ("resolution").

December 22, 2016–a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team (reportedly Jared Kushner) directed FLYNN to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.

December 23, 2016–FLYNN again spoke with the Russian Ambassador, who informed FLYNN that if it came to a vote Russia would not vote against the resolution.

On this same day, President-elect Trump spoke with Egyptian leader Sisi, who agreed to withdraw the resolution (link).

[I would note that there is nothing illegal or wrong about any of this. Quite an appropriate action, in fact, for an incoming President. Moreover, if Trump and the Russians had been conspiring before the November election, why would Trump and team even need to persuade the Russian Ambassador to do the biding of Trump on this issue?]

December 28, 2016–President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day, imposing sanctions on Russia. Russian Ambassador Kislyak called General Flynn (who was vacationing in the Caribbean).

December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PTT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.

  • FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.
  • Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.

December 31, 2016–the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN  and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FLYNN's request.

After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FLYNN's conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia's decision not to escalate the situation.

The real crime of Michael Flynn was his lies about his work with Turkey under the auspices of the Flynn Intel Group. That was flat out wrong. Yet, that is ignored by the media. They want the Russia silver bullet.

Guess what? There ain't one.

Not one of the things outlined in the Mueller complaint was illegal nor immoral with respect to contacts with Russia. In fact, the sequence of events and Flynn's role provides direct evidence that the senior Trump team had no established contacts with Russia. If they did, why the hell did they rely on Flynn to persuade the Russian government to do or not do things if Trump and his family were already on the Kremlin hook? Makes no sense whatsoever.

I do not know why Flynn lied to the FBI. Shame on him for that. He has dishonored himself and the uniform he once wore. 

We will find out in the coming days if Jared Kushner is as big a fool as Flynn. If JK told the FBI the truth about the events that unfolded between 21 and 31 December then he is off the hook. If he lied, he could be facing charges. One big difference, though. He can afford big time lawyers and beat the Mueller team to shit in the courtroom.


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115 Responses to Mueller Charges Against Flynn Exonerate Trump of Russian Collusion by Publius Tacitus

  1. LondonBob says:

    This was always a fishing trip for a process crime. They should have known better, as should the Russian amabassador with his mobile phone. Daft.
    The Israeli angle seems interesting.

  2. Grazhdanochka says:

    Flynns Lies seem to be about as deep as this Well necessarily goes…
    Of course a Man spooked could feel pressure to say anything he feels is wanted of him, but I cannot judge his Character on this as yet.
    Why he did it? Could be any Number of things – From basis of Political Climate, a moments Poor Decision, overall Dishonesty or something else (Carrying Water?)
    What is notable though is the obviousness that any ‘Collusion’ with Russia were it some deep seated Plot would not require these Communiques back and forth that only draw Attention. It would be understood in advance what largely each Actors intents and Plans are)
    This is the Equivalent of Doenitz requiring U-Boats to make regular Reports back to Base with obvious Consequences that came…. and believe me this Lesson is understood by those who need to )

  3. Fredw says:

    These charges are of course the end result of a plea bargain. They are not anything like a maximum of what could be proved. Their content in no way indicates a lack of evidence about other matters.
    Yes he lied about things that he didn’t need to lie about. But to think that exonerates him requires that we take the charges at face value – that we believe that is all there is to it. That is actually possible, but I certainly would not risk any money on it.
    This seem so obvious as to not need saying, but apparently it does need to be said.

  4. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Seems to me that communicating with foreign ambassadors before taking office is not a minor issue, although it might not be illegal. Obama was still the president and his State Department was handling foreign policy.
    “Pre-inaugural meetings between representatives of the incoming administration and foreign diplomats or leaders should be sharply limited. They should be confined to a few persons, clearly authorized by letter from the president-elect or the secretary of state-designate, to speak for the incoming administration. These discussions may be for the educational purpose of allowing new officials to inform themselves about the problems they will face. There should be substantive talks that will allow the new administration to act immediately upon taking office. In either case, the incumbent administration should be kept informed to the extent possible. Nothing should give the impression that the president-elect has any authority to act before the inauguration or interfere with ongoing actions by the incumbent administration.

  5. Well Fred, you probably need to watch more of the Judicial/Cop shows that you are drawing on to profess expertise in these matters. Your ignorance is laughable. For starters, in a plea agreement like this the prosecutor does not, i repeat, NOT exclude other, more damning evidence. Why? Because the agreement hinges on the defendant admitting to certain key facts. If those facts are not in the agreement then the defendant is not admitting. Which means the prosecutor has no leverage over the defendant.
    Really, if you cannot be smart about this stuff just stay silent.

  6. jdledell says:

    PT – With all due respect, I think your conclusion that Trump and other high ranking officials are in the clear is way too premature. This relatively minor indictment of Flynn is not conclusive of the total amount of information he has relayed to Mueller’s team. The liberals are rightfully castigated for jumping to conclusions on Trump’s potential liability, we should not jump to conclusions in the other direction.

  7. This is nonsense. That’s why we have elections. In any event, Trump and his team did nothing to undermine Obama. To the contrary. It was Obama who unleashed the intel community to interfere in the US election. That’s the story.

    Deal with facts rather than your opinion. If Trump and his senior advisors had actually been “colluding” with the Russians then they would have had lines of communication and points of contact. They would not have to rely on Mike Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak playing telephone tag.
    ZERO evidence of the other RUSSIAN ties. ZERO!!!

  9. Alves says:

    That is kind of a convoluted reasoning.
    It is a BARGAIN. Both sides do a risk assessment. The prosecution can make a deal for any number of reasons, among them the possibility that it could not even get a guilty verdict in the first place.

  10. jdledell says:

    PT – I think your reply to Fredw is way out of line. Many of us come here to learn, and being told to shut up is not conducive to discussions and learning.

  11. Then Fredw should avoid asserting “facts” that are completely wrong. He is neither a lawyer nor prosecutor and has zero experience in these matters. If he did, he would not have written something so patently foolish and ill-informed. I reiterate the advice of Mark Twain, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool then open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

  12. Fredw says:

    This document is a charge sheet and a guilty plea. It does not address other matters and does not rule out other charges. If there is an agreement document, this is not it. And of course the prosecutor does not publish all the things he knows about other people who may also be subject to charges. That would be ridiculous. As Flynn noted in his signed statement: “The preceding is a summary, made for the purpose of providing the Court with a factual basis for my guilty plea to the charge against me. It does not include all of the facts known to me regarding this offense.”

  13. Alexander Mercouris does his usual excellent analysis at what really lies behind the Flynn charges…
    The case against Michael Flynn: Lying to the FBI about asking Russia’s help to protect Israel (full analysis of indictment and Flynn’s guilty plea)
    Botched attempt by Kushner and Flynn to block UN SC Resolution 2334 on status of Jerusalem lies behind case against Flynn
    My guess is that over the next couple of weeks the focus of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation will increasingly become Kushner. Doubtless it will be about his dealings with Kushner that Mueller will be asking Flynn questions, with Mueller wanting to know how and why Kushner came up with his cack-brained idea of asking the Russians to block Resolution 2334.
    However there is no evidence of any illegal collusion by Kushner with the Russians either before the election or after it, and it bears repeating that everything that has been discussed in this article and which has arisen from Flynn’s guilty plea and indictment happened after the election. It cannot therefore have any bearing on the Russiagate collusion case against the Trump campaign, or the claims that the Russians meddled in the election to help Donald Trump. On the contrary, the fact that the Russians turned down Kushner’s and Flynn’s suggestion that they act to block Resolution 2334 if anything argues the opposite.
    End Quote

  14. Eric Newhill says:

    Have you forgotten that on Nov. 18. 2008, President elect Obama starting calling and meeting with foreign leaders; even the head of the Palestinian Authority. Do you imagine that they were just talking about the weather?
    I don’t know what is normal and customary, but I do know that Obama was setting up foreign state connections right after being elected.
    In that light, what Flynn/Trump admin did seems like a smart thing to do given the new direction that Trump wanted to take and that Obama was trying to scuttle.
    All else is anti-Trump crusading. Mueller’s got diddly.

  15. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Bob Parry at Consortium News has a piece up that focuses on the civil rights abuse aspect of the investigation and indictment, and how we should all be worried about the precedents being set by it.

    In other words, the Justice Department wasn’t seeking information about what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – the intelligence agencies already had that information. Instead, Flynn was being quizzed on his precise recollection of the conversations and nailed for lying when his recollections deviated from the transcripts.

  16. jpb says:

    Jared Kushner apparently ordered General Flynn to initiate contact with Russia. It is likely Jared Kushner told the FBI he ordered General Flynn to contact Russia and General Flynn lied about the contact. This gave Mueller the ‘head shot’ to indict General Flynn. I agree with Publius Tacitus that this goes no where. It is unfortunate that General Flynn made a mistake talking to the FBI. No one should talk to the FBI without consulting a criminal attorney to avoid the ‘process law’ used to trap otherwise honest and honorable men.

  17. Fredw says:

    I should just let this go, but I don’t see myself as asserting “facts”. I am asserting the absence of facts. I have now read the documents several more times. They are very narrowly tailored to a small set of incidents of no great importance, though many may find them annoying. If that were all they had, there would be no point to a guilty plea that burns his bridges to pwoerful people who have supported him so far. Conviction would take a while and would produce a short prison term and a probable pardon.
    And come on! We are talking about lying. The height of the man’s career was spent in intelligence. Not an environment that promotes a rigid culture of truth telling or rule following. This was pretty much business as usual. A conviction for lying would have precisely zero effect on anyone’s opinion of him.
    So I am pretty sure there are “facts” out there that we don’t have. The whole thing doesn’t make sense with just the facts we do have. I don’t know what those “facts” are and I don’t claim to. I actually agree with you that the whole “collusion” thing has been blown out of proportion. But it seems clear some powerful people are scared to death of whatever is out there. Which is another way of knowing that there is something important to find out.

  18. Jonathan House MD says:

    It does seem that what Fredw and jdledell are saying is also being said by former federal prosecutors. Of course that doesn’t mean they are correct, but it is not clear why you think the notion is foolish that the plea to a minor felony could be part of a bargain that entails informing about other offenses by other people. More important offenses and/or more important people.
    Here’s an excerpt from a left-wing site, Talking Points Memo: those quoted are said to have expertise and/or experience in these matters:

    “Former federal prosecutors told TPM that Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a calculated move to keep Flynn’s charge limited, and that,… they wouldn’t have done so unless the former intelligence official had divulged some very juicy secrets.
    “What’s interesting to me is what he’s not charged with,” said Steven Miller, a former anti-corruption federal prosecutor. “This is a very narrowly drawn structural plea bargain. By virtue of a single count he can’t get more than a five-year sentence. You don’t get that unless you’re giving something serious to the government. And the number of players left are relatively small: it’s [Jared] Kushner, it’s [Donald] Trump Jr., it’s the Trump campaign, and it’s the President. So I think this is something that would cause all of them to be extraordinarily worried.”

    Jens Ohlin, an expert in criminal law at Cornell Law School, concurred, saying what essentially amounts to a “sweetheart deal” would not be offered unless Flynn could incriminate a bigger fish. “The government would not agree to this deal if Flynn was merely providing information on someone who is in a peripheral place in the criminality,” Ohlin said. “So if he’s providing information in exchange for this deal it’s because it’s [the information is about] someone who is even more centrally located than Flynn.”

    Former prosecutors say that Flynn must have entered into a proffer … agreement with Mueller’s team in which he divulged every detail he knew relevant to their investigation. The government found the information sufficiently valuable that they agreed to strike a deal, despite Flynn’s undisclosed lobbying on behalf of Turkey and reported discussions about spiriting an exiled Muslim cleric loathed by Turkey’s government out of the U.S.
    The decision not to include a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his Turkey lobbying or other possible charges in Flynn’s plea agreement is not as unusual as it may seem. “They have discretion to do whatever they want,” Seetha Ramachandran, a former Justice Department official and assistant U.S. attorney said of federal prosecutors. “The practice really varies between different federal districts. Some U.S. attorneys’ offices and parts of [Main] Justice want a cooperator to plead guilty to everything they’ve ever done. Some use a more bare-bones type of guilty plea. So I think it really varies. He’s chosen this strategy.”

    “I think this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Steve Vladeck, a national security expert at the University of Texas School of Law. “The question is whether we’re going to start hearing stuff from Flynn’s camp about what he’s sharing with investigators, whether we’re going to see more movement, more indictments coming down in the next couple of weeks from Mueller. The real story of today is that there’s a guarantee that there’s big news coming down the pike.”
    This way of thinking may be wrong but the reasoning does not seem tendentious to me.

  19. Larry Kart says:

    You think Mueller is stupid? Flynn is cooperating — i.e. he has already given or is going to give Mueller what Mueller thinks he needs to proceed, otherwise this deal would never been agreed to. Further, it’s almost certainly not about collusion anymore but about obstruction of justice. Deal with facts, yes, but why do you think that what’s visible to us right now are all the facts that eventually will be revealed?

  20. blue peacock says:

    It seems from the Flynn plea deal that the Trump team was colluding with Israel and NOT the Russians.
    Will Mueller investigate this collusion or is he just gonna focus on a few easy scalps?
    Manafort has been indicted for money laundering from our Ukrainian “friends” and Flynn has accepted lying to the FBI under oath. Nothing yet that sheds any light on the original accusations and media hysteria of how Putin stole the election from Saint Hillary.

  21. SR Wood says:

    I think you are an apologist for the Trumpster and I think we have to wait for Mueller’s investigation to play out before spouting conclusions. After all, he’s only been at it for a couple of months. How long did it take to get the full story on Nixon?

  22. notlurking says:

    Does anybody remember Manafort…who?…

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No, as long as ths said Ambassador is not that of the Russian Federation.

  24. jpb says:

    No,it was Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak who requested Flynn call the Trump team to find out their views on the Obama sanctions…

  25. blue peacock says:

    It is quite possible that Flynn did the plea deal because he may not have had the money for the long legal battle in a trial.
    The fact that in this deal the DoJ has only confirmed that he was not entirely accurate in his recollection of his conversations shows that this could be just a witch hunt. There are no accusations of substantial violations of the law.
    What if the FBI interviewed Mueller himself on his investigation of UraniumOne, would he face the same charges if his recollection was not entirely perfect? This whole Mueller investigation seems to be to get some indictments of those in Trump’s orbit while forgetting about the original reason why he was appointed in the first place as special counsel.

  26. kooshy says:

    “not about collusion anymore but about obstruction of justice” obstruction of justice? really, why? what justice you think was obstructed here? firing of Comey? if there was a collision with russian and Mueller knew it wouldn’t Mueller leak it after now to imbalance more people in and around administration, to have them come in for more plea bargain. IMO, this case is dead en d except for the anti Trump circles and media

  27. What I don’t understand in all of this……..
    Why Trump hasn’t simply issued a blanket pardon to Flynn and each and all of his transition team against any and all crimes and misdemeanors past, present, and future.
    Stared down the FBI / CIA and via executive order disbanded both……
    Don’t tell me this is “illegal” as president Trump via his Justice Secretary
    can declare laws “unconstitutional” at will……….
    Face them down……… claiming interference with separation of powers……
    Of course……. why Trump didn’t simply cashier each and every Obama holdover on day one……. is for the history books…..

  28. optimax says:

    There’s no hint of collusion before the election except for Flynn taking orders from Israel to interfere with Obama’s policy for once not running interference on the UN vote for the members of the Judeo-Christian Party. Russia didn’t comply, therefor it changed nothing. Of course collusion with Israel isn’t s problem . We think of them as our friend while they use us as their golem.
    Mueller’s investigation hasn’t amounted to much but the problem is it is open-ended. It has come out Trump did say the p-word some years ago. Mueller can nail him for that and sing along with this song.

  29. blowback says:

    TPM is not left wing, it’s Clintonist (Clinton personality cultists) as are many similar liberal blogs which refuse to even discuss the possibility that Hillary Clinton was in anyway responsible for her own defeat and still dream that that either the 2016 election result can be reversed in some way or that Clinton will win in 2020.

  30. Yeah, Right says:

    I’m a little confused here regarding what the crime actually was.
    As far as I can tell it is that Flynn did a whole lotta’ stuff that wasn’t illegal, but when the FBI asked “did you say xxx to Country A on behalf of Country B?” then Flynn either flat-out-lied or lied-by-omission.
    That’s it, isn’t it?
    If so, then I’d like to ask a hypothetical: would Flynn have been safe if he had answered with “Well, why don’t you tell me what your bugs recorded and I’ll agree that the transcript is accurate”
    If he had said that – any nothing more – then what would the criminal charges be? Being a smart-arse? Annoying the FBI? Not playing the game?
    Because that would be my criteria for deciding how big a beat-up this is i.e. could he have been charged if he had said, quite truthfully, that “I said whatever it is that your bugs recorded me saying”.
    If he had said that was any crime ever committed?
    Any. Crime. At. All?

  31. Kutte says:

    You write: “Here are the key details for you to judge for yourself:”
    Therefore, I am judging myself, that Trump kept a cool head all the time and did all the right things and never panicked, unlike Nixon who could have slept out Watergate as a minor nuisance. I am also judging, that you were dead wrong when you kept saying that Trump is a fool and a buffon and will be massacred by Herr Müller. Eventually, Obama and a few others will have to answer unpleasant questions. As Churchill (not my favorite) once said: The wicked aren’t always clever. Only the arcmchair strategists enjoy the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

  32. Bobo says:

    So Mueller has two guys pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and two guys who were living on the edge up on charges. Whoopie!!!
    After seeing poor Martha tucked away for a few years for lying to the FBI you would of thunk everyone in this country would of known don’t talk to the FBI without a lawyer and then say as little of the truth as you can as them boys live for the lie.
    Mike Flynn was and is in well over his head and should get to the confessional quickly and say a few Hail Mary’s.
    I agree you can read a lot into those charges but then for $25 that Gypsie down the street can look into her crystal ball too.

  33. elev8 says:

    Publius, aren’t you ignoring that this is likely a play to get Flynn to implicate someone close to Trump – one of his kids, Kushner – in withholding information – i.e., an attempt to build an obstruction charge to supplant the collusion charge?
    Wouldn’t that keep the media game going? It might still exhaust itself, but it would also take longer.

  34. TV says:

    Flynn could have been indicted for felony stupid.
    How did this guy get to O-2 much less 3 stars?

  35. LeaNder says:

    I agree, LB, that’s the more the interesting part. But also confirms my bias, to be honest.
    On the other hand it is firmly within US longtime votes or politics. Was the Obama admin’s abstention under Powers more then symbolical? I am sure they knew their abstention wouldn’t matter. One would need to take a look at the specific argument or critique.
    Again, I don’t consider Trump’s position on matters surprising.
    Wikipedia suggests that the draft was initially presented with a lot of help from Britain behind the scene. Based on Barak Ravid, Haaretz, in this context. It also registers a direct phone call between Trump and el-Sis that supposedly was effective, this time relying on the BBC:

  36. rkka says:

    What Flynn fell into was a ‘perjury trap’ set by Obama holdovers, similar to that which was set for Bill Clinton by his personal Jauvert, Ken Starr. Starr indicted Clinton associates with wild abandon, seeking one who had the goods on Bill.
    Sorta like Mueller is doing to Trump now. So all this boils down to is domestic political shenanigans that have been going since Tricky Dick was taken down.
    Oh, and never talk to law enforcement personnel without your lawyer present. Never.

  37. aleksandar says:

    Phase 1 : Trump lawyers team and Flynn’s lawyers team came to an agreement. Flynn will obtain a presidential pardon. They apparently and publicly broke contacts.
    Phase 2 : Flynn offers a plea agreement to Mueller. Muller investigations about Trump and Russiangate are already going nowhere. Others inform Mueller discreetly that Flynn will have a presidential pardon whatever convictions he can obtain.
    Phase 3 : Mueller accept because it is the only way to continue his investigations and succeed to charge DJT .
    Phase 4 : Facts in Flynn’s plea agreement prove beyond doubts that Russiangate is bs.
    And point directly to JK. BUT JK is Netanyahu and AIPAC mouthpiece.
    So Mueller investigations are now targeting a Borg member.
    Catch 22.
    Sorry but I’am laughing out loud.
    Maybe DJT is not as stupid as everybody says.

  38. Fredw says:

    A night’s thought convinces me that you do have a point about the nature of plea agreements. The lawyer for the accused will try to include everything possible in order to protect his client from follow-on charges. I don’t know why some other things are not there. And neither do you. Your interpretation assumes that the standard pattern applies. It seldom does with these people. Really good lawyers make fortunes getting standard patterns to not apply. Which is not to say that the Turkey-related issues are strong, only that they are not in this document. Could possible state charges be involved that would not be covered by this document in any case? And also would not be open to a presidential pardon? In the short term it looks as though there may be an element of trust involved, much as the lawyers hate that.
    I do resent your assumptions about my background and knowledge. When you have arguments, make the arguments. It is offensive to attribute motives and habits to people to people you don’t know and have never met.

  39. LeaNder says:

    It does not include all of the facts known to me regarding this offense.”
    Could be a standard phrase or legal device. I interpret it within my minor means and/or no knowledge of the relevant US law as standard phrase suggesting Flynn guided by his lawyer stood closely within the limits of matters the prosecutors confronted him with.

  40. Outrage Beyond says:

    Re: TPM is not left wing, it’s Clintonist
    Indeed, it’s not only Clintonist. The proprietor is a hardcore and extremely arrogant Zionist who was among the enthusiasts of the Iraq War for Israel. He also named his son after a Zionist terrorist.

  41. turcopolier says:

    Flynn IS NOT a former general. He is a retired general. He is still a member of the US Army. As such he has potential liabilities from the Army because of his guilty plea to a felony. The Army’s possible reaction to that is unconnected to whatever happens to Flynn in the federal courts. Theoretically, the Army could administratively expel Flynn from the Army if his civilian crime is judged by the Army to have damaged national security. This would deprive him of all benefits connected to his present status as a retired service member. that would include his retired pay, medical benefits, etc. If the lawyers think I have that wrong, let me know. pl

  42. LeaNder says:

    CWZ, not many “October surprises” seem to have been successful. Relying on the narrow lens provided by Wikipedia. Russiagate at this moment seems nothing more then simply another October Surprise charge. Although strictly, it may not quite fit into the category either. But we do need categories:

  43. Fred says:

    “…communicating with foreign ambassadors…”
    Is not a crime in the United States.
    “Pre-inaugural meetings between representatives of the incoming administration …”
    You mean there were no discussions between the Trump campaign and the Russians until after he had won the election. So we are down to complaing because Trump showed a lack of decorum.

  44. Fred says:

    SR Wood,
    “How long did it take to get the full story on Nixon Clinton?” There, fixed it for you. Rather than point to a specific point of Publius’ posting you throw out a slur: “apologist”? How about the fact that the original FISA warrants were based on the Fusion GPS dossier that was in part paid for by the Clinton campaign and thus the findings of probable cause for an investigation are based on fabrications created by an agent of a foreign government? Better not bring that one up. We’ll know in 7 years when Trump leaves office. But at least you’ll have the satisfaction of using the investigation to say how illegitimate he was.

  45. Annem says:

    Well, this is how the USG handles such matters… for Turkey, having learned that Reza Zarrab, the Iran sanctions buster and BFF of the Erdogan’s, has been flipped by NY prosecutors in the case of Halkbank senior managers, they have indicted Zarrab as a “spy” and seized all the man’s extensive holdings and money in Turkey, as well as that of all members of his family. That is a huge haul! Meanwhile, the Sultan has declared that he and his folks have done nothing illegal since they did not agree to the sanctions. IF you recall, this money-laundering scheme was an important part of the major corruption case against Zarrab and others including members of Erdo’s family. That started the draconian moves against judges, prosecutors and police officials in 2013 followed by the rapid evaporation of all aspects of democracy in that country.

  46. jdledell says:

    PT – “He can afford big time lawyers and beat the Mueller team to shit in the courtroom.” This is the kind of comment you assert as a Fact yet when other commentators make similar remarks – you insist those are opinions. Life is full of people who insist their analysis and opinion are always 100% correct and factual and others are always wrong and stupid.
    You have strung together pieces of information to build a hypothetical case that Trump and his companions are not guilty of collusion. That may or may not be correct, but it is far too early to come to a definitive conclusion.
    It is my hope that this site returns to its roots with military commentary about hot spots around the globe. The recent analysis of the situation in Syria was first class and unavailable from any other source.

  47. blowback says:

    December 31, 2016–the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FLYNN’s request.

    Have you any evidence for this?
    The Washington Post/Associated Press is currently reporting:

    —Dec. 31, 2016: Kislyak tells Flynn that Russia has decided not to retaliate over the sanctions. Flynn conveys this back to senior members of Trump’s transition team.

    If there was more, I think the Washington Post/Associated Press would report it.
    Given that a new president with radically different views on relations with Russia was about to take office, it would be simple commonsense for Russia/The Kremlin/Putin to hold off for a period to see how the new president dealt with the issue.

  48. DC says:

    My right-of-center buddies are parroting this, National Review’s, argument that the plea deal somehow exonerates Trump of anything. Well, MAYBE it points in that direction, but as many others are pointing out here, what we don’t know is likely more damning than what we do know. It’s a plea deal: what ISN’T Flynn being charged with? (hint: google “Flynn” and “Turkey”)

  49. steve says:

    When asked about it, did Obama or his people lie? If Flynn was simply doing what everyone else had been doing, then why lie?

  50. DC says:

    Well, yes, obstruction. Trump had the authority to fire Comey but not for an illegal (attempt to obstruct) reason. What we know so far is (a) he fired him; (b) Trump told others he was glad Comey was gone because it took heat off his back; (b) we learned this week that Trump told Congress to stop investigating his relationship with Russia. Trump is even dumber than Flynn, imo. And that’s looking to be pretty dumb.

  51. J says:

    The UCMJ reaches nearly all members of the military. Articles 77 through 134 of the Uniform Military Code of Justice (UCMJ) are known as the “punitive articles.” These articles cover specific offenses which, if violated, can result in punishment by court-martial.
    Article 2 of the UCMJ: Persons Subject to This Chapter
    Article 2 of the UMCJ states that just about everyone is subject to the provisions of the code.
    The code specifically states who is and who is not subject to the code, which includes outlining when a member of the armed forces becomes subject to the code’s provisions as well as how exterior factors like time of war influence who is subject. Article 2 reads: (** Note** unrelated verbiage to the Flynn matter has been excluded for brevity’s sake. **)
    Subsection (a). The following persons are subject to this chapter:
    In essence, the Army can always reach out and TOUCH RETIRED General Flynn when they so chose. General Flynn may think the party is over after Mueller gets finished with him, needs to understand that his dance is over when the Army says his dance is over, and not until then.
    It’s like the term once a GI, always a GI. And RETIRED means GI with a capital R.

  52. Apart from Flynn’s fibs to the fibbies, it is abundantly clear that incoming administrations have always communicated with, compared notes with, reassured and sometimes even concluded agreements or understandings with the representatives of foreign governments. That would seem to be a generally useful practice. Must it now and forever be forbidden?
    It is also stating the obvious to point out that the most egregious tampering with American elections has been done by Israel.

  53. J says:

    IMO: While General Flynn is not out of the woods yet by any means, NEITHER is Mueller. Mueller’s damage to U.S. National Security by his direct involvement in the transfer of the Uranium issue I believe still puts Mr. Mueller in criminal peril.
    POTUS Trump has in his pocket and can pull out of when he so chooses and he thinks the time is right, is the cream of the cream of the cream OF legal eagles he has at his disposal, those top notch legal eagles KNOW HOW TO dance circles around both DoD legal eagles AND any legal eagles that Mueller may employ for his defense in avoiding criminal punishment.
    I would love to see POTUS go after Mueller for his damage to our Nation’s security.

  54. J says:

    I would love to see Mr. Mueller pursued under the Logan Act in addition to his criminal prosecutions regarding the Uranium issue, parties like Mr. Mueller who negotiate with foreign governments outside official channels (which also applies to all parties who attend the Bilderberger and Davos meetings) think they can do as they please with their undermining our Nation’s National Security.
    It’s not nice to negotiate with foreign governments outside official channels and compromise our National Security.

  55. turcopolier says:

    Well, you will have to accept my willingness to let the guest authors write their own material whether you like the material or not. pl

  56. “I think we have to wait for Mueller’s investigation to play out before spouting conclusions.”
    Does this little rule of yours apply to the Never-Trumpers as well? Or only to us? Why is that the Never-Trump media are entitled to indulge in the wildest of speculation regarding Trump, while when we simply try to defend him–or even point out their lack evidence–we are accused straight away of ‘jumping gun’ and told ‘be patient and let the investigation run its course’? One thing that really bothers about the Never-Trumpers is their penchant for double-standards.

  57. As far as I’m aware, both the FBI and the CIA were created by act of Congress, so Trump can’t simply order them disbanded by EO.

  58. All,
    As you may have seen, ABC News yesterday evening had to correct a report by Brian Ross claiming that Donald Trump, as candidate for president, had asked Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians.
    From the CNN report:
    ‘During “World News Tonight,” ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross said the source who had provided the initial information for his story later told him that it was as president-elect, not as a candidate, that Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians.
    ‘The initial report, based on one anonymous source, prompted a dramatic reaction in the financial markets, and the Dow fell more than 350 points.
    ‘Stocks largely recovered later in the day.’
    (See .)
    It is worth bearing in mind that Ross has ‘form’ as a conduit for ‘Borgist’ disinformation, which links him to other leading players in ‘Russiagate.’
    The original of the report he co-authored on 26 January 2007 entitled ‘Murder in a Teapot’ appears to have disappeared from the ABC site, quite recently I think, but the key paragraphs are still there on ‘Free Republic’:
    ‘British officials say police have cracked the murder-by-poison case of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, including the discovery of a “hot” teapot at London’s Millennium Hotel with an off-the-charts reading for Polonium-210, the radioactive material used in the killing.
    ‘A senior official tells ABC News the “hot” teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks after Litvinenko’s death before being tested in the second week of December. The official said investigators were embarrassed at the oversight.’
    (See .)
    According to the ‘evidence’ presented to Sir Robert Owen’s Inquiry, Litvinenko suspected the teapot on the day he drank from it, 1 November 2006. It was not until 18 November however, that e was first interviewed by Scotland Yard, by Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt of Counter Terrorism Command – and as for Steele and MI6, they did not know anything was up with their agent until 20 November.
    Apparently, although test results showed the toxin he had ingested was polonium by the time Litvinenko died on 23 November, Hyatt, Steele et al did not organise the testing of the teapots for more than another fortnight – with the result that specimen sufficiently ‘red hot’ to have an ‘off-the-charts’ reading after repeated cleanings in the dishwasher was putting other visitors to the Pine Bar at risk during this time.
    Moreover, somehow this decisive piece of evidence was not mentioned in public for another six-odd weeks even after the dramatic test results were obtained. It was Ross who first mentioned it. In the BBC ‘Panorama’ programme ‘How to poison a spy’, which went out on 22 January, four days before his piece, there is no mention of any teapot.
    (See .)
    How anyone can uncritically recycle what is patent disinformation, and claim to be an ‘investigative journalist’ as Ross does, believes me. The actual truth is that Christopher Steele, who we now know as in charge of the ‘investigation’, was engaged in an industrial-scale forging of evidence. Sorting out the crucial item – the teapot – took time, and it seems to have been judged prudent to try it out first with an American ‘stenographer’, before launching it on this side..
    The description ‘stenographer’ seems apt. Back in 2001, Ross, together with the BBC journalist Tom Mangold, played crucial roles in disseminating the disinformation which was supposed to link the notorious letters containing anthrax spores to Saddam Hussein, and played a significant role in making possible the disastrous invasion of Iraq.
    On both men’s role, see and .
    On the dismal performance of Robert Mueller and James Comey in bungling the anthrax investigation, see .
    Another important stage in the clumsy attempts by Steele et al to cover up the truth about how Litvinenko died was a BBC Radio 4 programme presented by Mangold under the title ‘The Litvinenko Mystery’ on 16 December 2006.
    This told a pathetic tale of how Litvinenko, forced into ‘due diligence’ worked by penury, in collaboration with a former KGB major called Yuri Shvets and a former FBI officer called Robert Levinson, unearthed terrible truths about the links between a figure close to Putin and organised crime, and was murdered in retaliation.
    (See .)
    In the event, Levinson would disappear in March 2007 on the Iranian island of Kish, while on a covert CIA mission. His work at the FBI had been prominently concerned with investigating the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich. For a transcript of a 1999 BBC ‘Panorama’ programme on that figure, presented by Mangold, with Levinson, see .
    A mixture of accurate and inaccurate information from the notorious ‘Kuchma tapes’ had been used by Litvinenko, then a MI6 agent, to implicate the FSB and Putin personally in supposed attempts to supply a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ to Al Qaeda. I dealt with much of this in a preliminary response to Owen’s report here on SST, and the subsequent exchanges of comments, back in January 2016. A great deal more evidence was drawn by me to the attention to Owen’s team, and not used by them.
    (See .)
    More recently, claims about Mogilevich have surfaced in the ‘information operations’ against Trump. See, for example, .
    A familiar technique, practised by Litvinenko and his associates against Kuchma, Putin, Prodi and others, is to take some accurate information and mix it up with pure fabrication. In relation to the memoranda published by BuzzFeed, the ratio of fabrication does seem inordinately high. It does however seem that it fulfilled what was its likely original purpose, to provide grounds for surveillance operations.
    Frankly, in this affair we are not dealing with ‘round up the usual suspects’, to quote the immortal phrase of Captain Renault from ‘Casablanca.’ The same familiar bunch of people – a mixture of dirty disinformation peddlars, outside and inside the intelligence services, journalists prepared to act as ‘stenographers’ for them, and law enforcement people who don’t really seem all that keen on enforcing the law in anything resembling an impartial manner, seem to push themselves to the front, time and again.

  59. DC says:

    What if the Commander-in-Chief instructed the retired General to lie to the FBI? Wouldn’t that be a conflict of a binding Order with what would otherwise be a binding rule to tell the truth to the Feds? Would UCMJ consider this “conflict of rules” to be a mitigating factor when assessing a penalty against the retired General?

  60. turcopolier says:

    That would be an illegal order and Flynn could not obey it. If he did then expect Trump to pardon him. pl

  61. VietnamVet says:

    The House and Senate have passed a tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. You can be assured Donald Trump will stay President long enough to sign the reconciled final legislation as a Christmas present to the connected. The Middle Class gets a piece of coal.
    I think General Michael Flynn got so high he forgot he could be burned. Never talk to the FBI. He was used by the establishment to get Donald Trump under control. The Uranium issue will be ignored. The Clinton family is out of power though still connected to their cultists. Donald Trump will stay in office until he tires of playing the Apprentice or a World War starts with Iran and/or North Korea.

  62. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
    Usually misattributed to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain, the phrase is correctly attributed to author Maurice Switzer in his 1906 book “Mrs. Goose”:
    Before dismissing others’ dearth of “facts,” one might endeavor to be sure of his own.

  63. Fredw says:

    Perhaps because a pardon eliminates their fifth amendment rights to refuse testimony in matters that might incriminate them.

  64. Kooshy says:

    Sorry, there it is almost impossible to prove he fired Comey to obstruct justice, as long as there is no evidence he collaborated with Russians what lease could have he benefit for obstructing the Justice? IMO trump knows the game to well, is not easy to corner him I think it would be easier to get read of him under the 25th then treason and collaboration with a foreign power. There is no evidence he collaborated with Russians unless CNN can make one and make it to stick. In Trump’ case Mueller can’t make him admit and plea bargain he needs
    real hard evidence that a court of millions will approve and fall for.

  65. Kooshy says:

    BTW my guess is if Trump know they can prove a collision between his campaign and the Russians, he wouldn’t fire Comey. A tough businessman who done business and survive in NY city, knows what obstruction of justice is and how not to be trapped in it.

  66. Middle Class gets a “piece of coal?” Where do you get your talking points? How much did you pay last year in taxes, Federal?

  67. You’re too soft. It is a fact that Jarod, unlike Flynn, has access to millions of dollars and can afford a first rate team of lawyers. He is one of the few people that can actually marshall more resources than Mueller has available. Again, your ignorance of these matters, reminds all that you consider such a factual assertion an”opinion.” It is not. It is a fact. Will it come to that? I don’t know That is my opinion. Understand the difference?
    Stop whining.

  68. Flynn was stupid. If you meet with the FBI and agree to talk tell the truth. If you’re in the middle of a possible investigation get a lawyer and have the lawyer present. Flynn’s behavior, with his experience, is inexplicable.

  69. Hey Kreskin (I judge from your comment that you have special insight) what other “facts” do you anticipate will be revealed that will be a game changer?

  70. You have a muddled mind. First you insist (or, to use your hapless phrase, “PRETTY SURE”) that there are “facts” we don’t have. But then you insist you don’t know what those “FACTS” are. Okay. What “facts” could emerge that in your opinion would change the situation and create legal jeopardy for Trump?

  71. Jack says:

    This is getting curiouser.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top FBI investigator into ‘Russian meddling’ and Clinton emails has been removed from the probe reportedly due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (whom he happened to be having an extra-marital affair with).
    There should be a special counsel investigating the role of FBI,CIA, NSA in the propaganda efforts directed at the American people. Did Clapper and Brennan break the law? They too should be interviewed under oath. Clapper got away when he lied to Congress under oath but Flynn gets nailed. What kind of justice system do we have?

  72. Jack says:


    “…a mixture of dirty disinformation peddlars, outside and inside the intelligence services, journalists prepared to act as ‘stenographers’ for them, and law enforcement people who don’t really seem all that keen on enforcing the law in anything resembling an impartial manner, seem to push themselves to the front, time and again.”

    What do you believe are the motivations of the disinformation peddlers?

  73. VietnamVet says:

    I expect no change in my income taxes. David Stockman wrote: “fully 97% of the $1.412 trillion revenue loss in the Senate Committee bill over the next decade is attributable to the $1.369 trillion cost of cutting the corporate rate from 35% to 20% (and repeal of the related Alternate Minimum Tax). All the rest of the massive bill is just a monumental zero-sum pot stirring operation.”
    The top 1% get a 1.4% tax cut after 10 years. The bottom 20% a 0.1% tax increase.
    I do expect state and local taxes and health insurance to increase and fees to proliferate. What I am afraid of is the economic collapse of the American Empire or a World War. If the fall of the Soviet Union is a guide and DC isn’t nuked, I expect to lose my government pension that keeps me alive at 74.

  74. If you would simply read the material I posted in the article you would have the answer to your own question.

  75. turcopolier says:

    Patrick Armstrong
    It appears that you left the italics on. pl

  76. jpb says:

    I have a very low opinion of Mueller. He is a legal thug, politicizing and weaponizing criminal justice in America.
    Without fair and blind administration of justice, our country’s
    days are numbered.
    Robert Mueller Is An Amoral Legal Assassin: He Will Do His Job If You Let Him-by Barbara Boyd

  77. J says:

    “Clapper got away when he lied to Congress under oath but Flynn gets nailed.”
    RETIRED General Clapper is another one who needs to watch his peas and q’s, these high and mighty Generals and Admirals tend to forget they are still (and will always be subject to) the UCMJ and the Component Service they retired from. The Air Force could always reach out and TOUCH RETIRED General Clapper if and when they choose for his criminal misconduct.
    General Hayden and General Petraeus are two others who are also and will always be subject to the UCMJ. Both if I recall also lied to Congress and Federal Authorities on more than one occasion and were involved in cases comrpomising U.S. National Security.
    It’s sad that criminal prosecutions like the these tend to more than not be pursued or not because they are politically feasible, not because of justice.
    Case in point now I’m rambling, but the Baltimore PD fiasco of where they offed one of their own who was set to testify against their corruption, won’t let the Federal Authorities (spelled FBI) in the door. The thing they don’t understand is that the FBI can always make a ding-a-ling to NSA and get all the background info they need to breakdown and crush the Baltimore PD’s barricade.

  78. John_Frank says:

    A couple of observations:
    1. I agree that the statement of the offense to which Lt. Gen. Flynn plead guilty supports the analysis there is no evidence of collusion. Meanwhile, it has become patently obvious that the Special Counsel investigation led by Mr. Mueller is about politics and not about counter-intelligence or enforcing the criminal law.
    Mueller Investigation: Politics, Not Law Enforcement or Counterintelligence:
    2. Andrew C. McCarthy who wrote that opinion piece was a Federal prosecutor. Yesterday, in a series of tweets, he observed:
    1/3 Common misconception: Prosecutors entice cooperation with minor charge and threaten to drop hammer w/ big charges later if cooperation not adequate. No: That would front load benefit of deal before cooperator has provided info/testimony.
    2/3 Competent prosecutors make cooperator plead guilty to big charge. Coop’r thus over barrel: if he doesn’t cooperate, will be sentenced without leniency on big charge he has already pled to. This incents coop’r to earn leniency.
    3/3 If Mueller had collusion case, he’d make Flynn plead guilty to big charge and earn sentencing leniency by cooperating. Instead, Flynn pled to small charge – process crime, likely no jail time – on promise of future cooperation. So there is no collusion case.
    3. The media reporting, starting with ABC News, has been absolutely dreadful. Last night World News had to issue a major correction to the report by Brian Ross, who has a history of being wrong. Today, he was suspended for four weeks. Wow, he gets time off without pay over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
    4. On January 13, 2017, during a State Department briefing:
    Obama State Dept. spokesperson on 1/13/2017: We have “no problem” with Trump transition making contact with foreign officials from any country
    “QUESTION: So there’s nothing – this building doesn’t see anything necessarily inappropriate about contact between members of the incoming administration and foreign officials —
    MR TONER: No.
    QUESTION: — no matter what country they’re from?
    MR TONER: No.
    QUESTION: Right?
    MR TONER: No. And again, this has been ongoing. I mean, we stand ready if they want to work through the State Department to contact some of these individuals, but we have no comment or no problem with them doing such on their own.”
    5. Let’s not forget, the Flynn affair started when someone illegally leaked intercepted communications to the Washington Post.
    So, Flynn ends up pleading guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI, while the person or persons who illegally leaked those communications remains at large.

  79. Oddlots says:

    Gotta ask, does the above sound like something resembling a justice system? Reads more like a dry description of state sponsored black-mail.

  80. Publius Tacitus,
    I read your article several time as well as the full statement of offenses and I cannot follow your logic in concluding this exonerates Trump of possibly violating election laws by soliciting or receiving anything of value from foreign nationals leading up to the 2016 national election. Of course there’s nothing there that can be construed as supporting such a violation either. The charges against Flynn have absolutely nothing to do with the election. Trump says this will all be over in 28 days. That statement is as much bullshit as all the claims of exoneration and guilt. I don’t expect this to approach conclusion until next Summer. And I don’t know how it will turn out.
    I see Mueller approaching this as an intelligence operation. He has all the SIGINT available. We don’t so we don’t know what conclusion that SIGINT points towards. Mueller doesn’t want to draw his conclusions solely on SIGINT. He wants HUMINT. That requires him to acquire sources. Flynn is now one of those sources. He spotted, assessed, developed and recruited him. That’s all this plea deal was, the acquisition of a source. Maybe this source will pan out. Maybe he won’t. I’m pretty sure he’ll acquire more sources beyond Papadopoulos and Flynn before this is all over.

  81. TonyL says:

    What VV said is not a talking point. You, too, have bought the voodoo economics? If you are not in the top 5% then you are screwed. Read the bill, don’t accept anything you hear from the servants of the orligarchs.
    This is the tax cut that make everybody poorer, except for the top 5%.

  82. There is no SIGINT on this. I’ve spoken with people who know. There is zippo. This is a simple case of the NSA and the CIA, under Rogers and Brennan respectively, that conspired with the DNI to interfere in US politics. You insist this was an “acquisition of a source.” For what? The information he has is laid out in the plea agreement. You have no experience with criminal matters like this and are way out of your depth. You miss the more fundamental point. If Trump was colluding in some fashion with the highest levels of the Russian Government then why does he have to rely on Flynn? There was no collusion. That was the point of this whole investigation.

  83. Larry Kart says:

    Your claim is that all the facts that you now know of are the only facts that there are here and/or the only ones that Mueller now knows of or is likely to uncover. No, I’m not Kreskin, nor of course do I know what facts Muller already knows or is going to uncover as he moves along, but I think that your claim is likely in time to be mistaken. Mine could be too, of course — we shall see.

  84. blue peacock says:

    John Frank says:

    5. Let’s not forget, the Flynn affair started when someone illegally leaked intercepted communications to the Washington Post.
    So, Flynn ends up pleading guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI, while the person or persons who illegally leaked those communications remains at large.

    Publius Tacitus says:

    This is a simple case of the NSA and the CIA, under Rogers and Brennan respectively, that conspired with the DNI to interfere in US politics.

    Will there be an investigation of the leak of the intercepted communications between Flynn and Kislyak? If not, it would imply that there was a conspiracy to discredit a newly elected POTUS at the highest levels of the intelligence agencies. If they get away scot free this time, what would they do next time?

  85. pantaraxia says:

    Caitlin Johnstone points out the critical part of Assistant US Attorney Andrew C McCarthy’s analysis:
    McCarthy argues that if Mueller was accepting a plea from Flynn to implicate anyone in a greater conspiracy, Mueller’s case would necessarily have relied on having Flynn plead guilty to that plot instead of a mere process crime:
    “Nevertheless, as I explained in connection with George Papadopoulos (who also pled guilty in Mueller’s investigation for lying to the FBI), when a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation.
    That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime.”

  86. rjj says:

    italics AVAUNT ?

  87. Fred says:

    Mueller was apparently aware of the deep seated emotional need of one of his subordinate investigators to adulterously belly-slap with his married lover but managed not to turn over to the House the reason he demoted him was partisan communications between the two pro-Hilary lovers. Now these two are not in any way judged to be impartial against the Trump investigation. The Hilary investigation, however? Well they did have a deep seated emotional need for something but a second need? Naw, they didn’t want Hilary elected bad enough to bungle an investigation.
    Mueller felt a need to keep the information from the House Intelligence Committee, at least until after it was published in the WAPO/NYT (months after he demoted Mr. Strozk). The timing is surely just coincidental and not related to partisanship or plain incompetence.

  88. PT,
    It has become common practice, unfortunately, for disingenous claims about ‘SIGINT’ to be used in ‘perception management’ or ‘StratCom’ operations.’
    Immediately prior to the opening of Sir Robert Owen’s farce of an inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a report appeared in the ‘Telegraph’ which opened:
    ‘American spies secretly intercepted communications between those involved in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko and provided the key evidence that he was killed in a Russian-backed “state execution”, The Telegraph can disclose.
    ‘The National Security Agency (NSA) obtained electronic communications between key individuals in London and Moscow from the time that the former spy was poisoned with radioactive material in central London. The evidence was passed to the British authorities.
    ‘A source familiar with the investigation confirmed the existence of American “intelligence material”. They said it would have been “inadmissible” in court, but that the British authorities were “confident that this was a state execution”.’
    (See .)
    What this report – one of a number which appeared in the British MSM saying essentially the same thing – actually tells us is that the leadership of the NSA must have been complicit in covering up the truth about how Litvinenko lived and died, a fact which becomes of very considerable interest given the crucial role that Christopher Steele is playing in ‘Russiagate.’
    When key elements in the leadership of the American and British ‘intelligence communities’ were colluding in attempting to use the Ghouta ‘false flag’ as a pretext to destroy the Syrian government and hand the country – together with its CW arsenal – over to jihadists, bogus claims about ‘SIGINT’ were once again central.
    I cannot confirm the claim in Ken Timmerman’s piece in the ‘Daily Caller’ on 29 August 2013 that the ‘loops of lies’ began with an actual intercept by the Unit 8200, the Israeli ‘SIGINT’ operation, that exonerated the Syrian government, and had its meaning twisted to suggest that it was ‘slam dunk’ evidence incriminating it.
    (See .)
    However, Timmerman’s claim that ‘The doctored report was picked up on Israel’s Channel 2 TV on Aug. 24, then by Focus magazine in Germany, the Times of Israel, and eventually by The Cable in Washington, DC’ can be partially corroborated by the – publicly available – reports referred to, all of which fit with his account.
    Also interesting is the fact that after the former British Ambassador Craig Murray pointed out on 31 August 2013 that if the material was real, it could have been expected to have been picked up by the RAF/GCHQ station on Troodos, and to have featured in the Joint Intelligence Committee ‘assessment’ claiming Assad’s responsibility was close a ‘slam dunk’, a piece of fiction appeared in the ‘Sunday Express.’
    Headlined ‘Senior Syrian military chiefs tell captain: fire chemicals or be shot’, this ‘penny dreadful’-style nonsense, worthy of Christopher Steele, claimed that the British had had intercepts from Troodos and other sources in our own ‘SIGINT’ operations establishing Syrian government responsibility. It also provided a patently preposterous answer to the obvious question as to why the material had not appeared previously.
    (See ; .)
    In relation to the attempt to cover up the leaks of material from the DNC to ‘WikiLeaks’, once again GCHQ have been wheeled in, and again with a patently preposterous account. This seems to have broken surface in a ‘New York Times’ story on the unclassified report released to the public on 6 January by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, entitled ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.’ Its conclusion is I think worth quoting at length:
    ‘Yet the attacks, the report said, began long before anyone could have known that Mr. Trump, considered a dark horse, would win the Republican nomination. It said the attacks began as early as July 2015, when Russian intelligence operatives first gained access to the Democratic National Committee’s networks. Russia maintained that access for 11 months, until “at least June 2016,” the report concludes, leaving open the possibility that Russian cyberattackers may have had access even after the firm CrowdStrike believed that it had kicked them off the networks.
    ‘Intelligence officials who prepared the classified report on Russian hacking activity have concluded that British intelligence was among the first to raise an alarm that Moscow had hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, and alerted their American counterparts, according to two people familiar with the conclusions.
    ‘Mr. Trump was briefed by senior intelligence officials for nearly two hours on Friday, describing the briefing in a statement as “a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community.”
    ‘It is unclear whether they highlighted the British role, which has been closely held, in the briefing. But it is a critical part of the timeline, because it suggests that some of the first tipoffs, in fall 2015, came from voice intercepts, computer traffic or human sources outside the United States, as emails and other data from the D.N.C. flowed out of the country.
    ‘“The British picked it up, and we may have had it at about the same time,” said one cyberexpert who has been briefed on the findings. British intelligence – especially the signals intelligence unit, GCHQ – has a major role in tracking Russian activity.’
    (See .)
    The version as set out in a convenient diagram has the FSB starting hacking the DNC in June 2015, and the GRU starting in March 2016. If one goes back to the original breaking of the story, in the ‘Washington Post’ on 14 June 2016, it is claimed that DNC leaders ‘were tipped to the hack in late April’ – not by any outsiders, but because their own ‘information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity.’
    Supposedly, ‘within 24 hours’ of the same evening, ‘CrowdStrike’ had installed software on the computers, and identified the FSB-sponsored hackers, who had broken in the previous summer, and the GRU-sponsored ones, who had done so in ‘late April’ – it was, supposedly, this breach that ‘set off the alarm.’
    So, apparently, Admiral Rogers had been given the vital tip-off by the then head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, months earlier. If there was any truth in this story, obviously, the former would have to be among the most incompetent and negligent intelligence chiefs in modern history. (It is rather comparable to the suggestion that Litvinenko thought he was likely to have been the victim of a Russian assassination attempt on 1 November 2006 and Steele et al had to be told by the police almost three weeks later.)
    The evidential value of this ‘NYT’ account is actually that it is clear evidence of the complicity of GCHQ in the conspiracy to subvert the constitutional order in the United States. So it makes more credible, rather than less, the suggestions that the organisation was used to circumvent constitutional restraints on surveillance by its co-conspirators on your side.
    On top of this, we already knew that a if not the crucial figure both in the investigations of the Clinton e-mails and into the supposed Russian interference in your election was Peter Strzok – note the Polish surname. And we now learn that he was taken off the latter job this summer, after it was discovered that he and the FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extra-marital affair had exchanged – to quote the ‘Washington Post’ – ‘politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton’.
    A long, sycophantic, ‘NYT’ piece on Comey back in April produces some – almost certainly mendacious – material on the involvement of Strzok with the dossier produced by Steele.
    (See .)
    But here, one comes back to the fundamental point about Steele. It can easily be demonstrated that he is a ‘perception management’ artist who forges evidence, and corrupts supposedly impartial judicial investigations. On this, I gave chapter and verse in comments in an earlier thread.
    (See .)
    As it happens, much of the dossier again reads like the kind of ‘penny dreadful’ fabrication in which Steele specialises – although that does not mean that he actually wrote all or indeed any of the material, and a couple of pieces do sound as though they may have had a genuine source (which does not mean a reliable one.)
    A question then arises, as to whether Strzok is a gullible dupe, or a co-conspirator with Steele and others. Is this simply another traumatised East European who cannot be trusted impartially to assess evidence relating to the country which oppressed his forbears – or is he deliberately and consciously disseminating falsehoods?
    That is the kind of question to which a genuinely impartial investigation ought to address itself. The likelihood of Mueller doing so would not seem to me very good. However, it is possible that he sees the writing on the wall, in which case, to mix metaphors, the rat may find an ingenious way to ensure that the ship sinks without him on board.

  89. fanto says:

    Since you mentioned the case of Litvinenko, I remembered that Arafat was rumored to have died of Polonium poisoning. That case got ´muddled´ and removed from public interest. But doubts remain.

  90. ” If you are not in the top 5% then you are screwed.” That implies that the top few per cent will be OK.
    Disagree. There are two main scenarios. One is collapse of the financial system. Impossible to say how likely that is. The CB’s have been defying gravity for so long that sometimes it seems our grandchildren will be admiring the trick of it still.
    The other scenario is a reasonably slow continuation of the decline in the quality of life for most accompanied by repressive measures to encourage the malcontents to put up with it.
    In either scenario the top few per cent we have now won’t be the top few per cent we’ll have then. The circle of power will be smaller and those in it will have to be rougher than those now at the top could manage. This is something the present elite haven’t yet grasped. We all go down together either way.
    Since America is the greatest financial and economic power in the West Trump’s reforms represent the only chance for the West of avoiding either of those two main scenarios. Let the top few per cent think of Trump’s reforms as buying the peasants off, or as putting the economy on a sounder footing. It doesn’t really matter how they think of it. The main thing is that his reforms give them a better chance of survival too.
    It seems to me, as an outsider, that the main resistance to Trump, in Europe as well as in his own country, comes from those who dislike the idea of swamp draining. I hope they’ll come to understand that the swamp they are so resolutely defending faces just as insecure a future as is faced by the rest of us.

  91. Bobo says:

    In due respect the FBI did have SIGNIT on Flynn when he lied to them. So Flynn lies most likely because he was stupid and trying to hide his discussions with Foreign Powers as he probably thought they were not ethical. What bothers me is why the FBI that day or shortly thereafter not tell Flynn they had his discussions verbatim as it seems like a gotcha moment and not an honest discussion between both parties.
    Probably the thing most people scratched their head on was Trump’s blind lack of a bad word on Russia during the campaign which has gotten us to today and this Russia Collusion story which I agree is bogus. I look at Flynn and his influence on Trump during the campaign for this position as only Flynn had serious ties to the Russians. The only benefit that has brought us is the decimation of ISIS a good thing. So Flynn will sing like a bird to muck up the waters.
    So you say there is Zippo onSIGNIT but the NSA has every bodies email, texts and phone calls if true then where are the American Patriots (outside of yourself) pointing us further towards Clapper, Brennan and Rogers ( who I thought was a good guy) as they seem buried further under this morass.

  92. LondonBob says:

    Apparently they are looking in to Kushner’s real estate deals from 10 years ago. Trump does appear to have had enough. I get the impression with mid terms coming up, a strong economy and the tax cut passed he might be politically strong enough to do something. The question is what, and what is Sessions doing?

  93. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Ozal was poisoned too.

  94. Fredw says:

    I was an interrogator, OK? I have some experience reading people’s attitudes and actions to see what they imply. There is something there that these people are scared to death of.

  95. Jack says:

    IMO, there can’t be an impartial investigation into all the convoluted interconnections and machinations among US and British intelligence. Who would do it? Clearly not the DoJ or Mueller who are thoroughly compromised. The big problem is that any impartial investigation will blow the lid on the depth of lawlessness among the top echelons of these agencies. Which obviously cannot be permitted. Hence the farce of such investigations as the Owen’s inquiry.
    The fact that Trump and his AG Sessions can’t mount a serious investigation into the nexus of the Clinton campaign, the DNC, Fusion GPS, Steele, MI6, the Steele dossier, GCHQ, Peter Strzok, Comey, Brennan, Rogers, Clapper even when there is evidence of a conspiracy to destroy a legitimately elected POTUS is significant. It is clear as you have pointed out in many of your posts that there are many linkages between all these parties to disseminate disinformation and subvert the rule of law.
    This Zero Hedge post points to more smoke on these connections:

    According to Fox News:
    House investigators told Fox News they have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.
    The “dossier” was a compendium of salacious and largely unverified allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm’s bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. -Fox News

  96. Jack,
    That is a critical issue, which deserves a more considered response than I have time to give it this afternoon. As regards the British end, it is linked to a question which ‘different clue’ put to me about Mrs Thatcher’s attitude to trade unions, which is also quite difficult to answer.
    Part of the answer to both questions has to do with the fact that what became the general response of American, and British, élites to the retreat and collapse of Soviet power was a euphoria about the – actually unexpected – general global acceptance of the fact that the Bolshevik Revolution had led into a ‘dead end.’ This then led to the view that the whole socialist tradition had been irretrievably compromised.
    This view – with much of which I am actually in sympathy – then led, not unnaturally, but disastrously, to the belief that the appropriate strategy was to attempt to maintain a global order based essentially on a unilateral American hegemony (with we Brits as ‘junior partners.’)
    Involved with this was a continuation of the strategy of using anti-Russian elements within the former Soviet Union – both in parts which were now independent, like Georgia and Ukraine, and in parts that were not, like Chechnya – to further weaken Russian power. Also involved was the idea of creating an order in the Middle East that would be friendly to Israel by projects of ‘régime change.’
    Implicit in both agendas was a need for ‘perception management’ and ‘StratCom’ – applied both to the targeted areas, and to overcome resistance at home to projects which often seemed to have little to do with the concerns of most people. Implicit also was the familiar problem – that religious and ethno-nationalist fervour are strong motivations for people to fight, while ‘moderate’ political aspirations are not.
    In my previous comment, I should have brought out that Yuri Shvets was crucial to processing the tapes of conversations involving the former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma supposedly recorded by Major Melnichenko. An interesting discovery from the Inquiry – see para 4.51 of Owen’s report – was that in 2002 and 2005 the transcription work was done in London with Shvets coming over here from Alexandria.
    On the first occasion, key material related to the Kolchuga ‘passive detector’ system – which had been devised in Soviet times to make it possible to identify Western planes without sending out a radar signal targeting the facilities doing so for destruction.
    What Shvets and co did was to take an excerpt in which Kuchma discussed a possible sale to Iraq, and ‘doctor’ it so as to suggest that a sale had been concluded. The – preposterous – claim that the very brief segment was unedited was then validated by the former FBI audiotape expert Bruce Koenig, who ran a private security company called BEK-TEK.
    (For an example of the credulity of even rather good journalists, see .)
    As a ‘StratCom’ move, this was brilliant, as it both generated support for the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine, and for the toppling of Saddam.
    What happened in 2005 was that excerpts which did in fact reflect the fact that the intelligence apparatus created by Mogilevich was used by both Russian and Ukrainian intelligence were edited, so as to validate a preposterous scenario according to which this notorious mobster, while an agent of the FSB and under Putin’s personal ‘krysha’ had been attempting got supply a ‘mini atomic bomb’ to Al Qaeda.
    Again, the whole strategy was to link ignorant preconceptions about what was happening in the former Soviet space to fears relating to the Middle East and jihadism. A crucial further purpose was to distract attention from the – catastrophic – role of elements in both the British and American ‘intelligence communities’ in magicking up the jihadist ‘genie’.
    (See )
    Actually, if you look at the material produced in evidence to the Inquiry closely, one can see a definite ‘edit’ and a likely one without much trouble. Also relevant is the fact that there is that ‘page 5 Text in Italian’, and the name of the translator – Olena Maherovska. A quick Google check will establish that her ‘Police Clearance’ and ‘Counter Terrorist Check’ in relation to her work as an interpreter date from 14 February 2014, and that she is an enthusiastic Ukrainian (‘Galician’) nationalist.
    (See .)
    To cut a long story short, these materials were originally intended to be used by Steele and his associates in support of the attempts to blacken Romano Prodi as a KGB/FSB agent, to install ‘Galician’ nationalists in power in Ukraine, in support of people of the aspirations of people like Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky to reinstate the ‘semibankirshchina’ in Moscow, and to install people like Ibn al-Khattab in power in Chechnya.
    A – not entirely unpredictable – result of all this is that the supposed pliable instruments ran out of control all over the place, and this has had to be covered up.
    Given however that the conspiracies behind this clearly involved leading elements in the CIA and MI6, and also the NSA and GCHQ, and the FBI, MI5, and Counter Terrorism Command, most of them have to rally round and do their utmost to subvert the constitutional order in the United States.
    And, much of the time, they can rely upon traumatised East Europeans to help them destroy all that was best in America.
    Meanwhile, what has also been destroyed in a widespread willingness, among educated Russians, to accept that the Cold War was, in essence, a Russian ‘own goal.’
    In place of this ‘narrative’ – which was very common indeed in the late ‘Eighties, although it was beyond the capacity of American and British intelligence to notice the fact – we now have ‘narratives’ based upon the premise that the Cold War had little to do with communism, but with a fundamental hatred of Russia which had nothing to with ideology.

  97. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    “…we now have ‘narratives’ based upon the premise that the Cold War had little to do with communism, but with a fundamental hatred of Russia which had nothing to with ideology.” Are you in agreement with such narratives? I have said before that the indoctrination of American officers at the Russia school at Garmisch produced people who are clearly imbued with a deep hatred of Russia. LTC (ret.) Ralph Peters is one such. IMO this hatred was transmitted by exiles who were employed as instructors there and at West Point, and perhaps other places. Leavenworth? pl

  98. Bobo,
    You are showing your ignorance. The FBI did not have “SIGINT on Flynn.” Why? Because the FBI does not collect sigint. They do wiretaps and only when they have the permission of a judge to do so. There was no probable cause justifying collection against Flynn. I do not know why Flynn lied. So, i will not speculate on that.
    The Russian Collusion story was started by the Clinton campaign. The first indication that this would be their strategy came in an email two years ago (December 2015) between Brent Budowsky and John Podesta.
    Your last paragraph is so obtuse that I won’t even waste time commenting. I encourage you to try to emulate Habbakuk’s responses. Always thoughtful and intelligent.

  99. achean says:

    Excepting in the fantasies of leftists, progressives and Marxists who desire to delegitimize the Trump administration, the alleged offense of “collusion”, as investigated by the special counsel is not a crime or politically actionable.

  100. achean says:

    If Flynn is convicted and received a Presidential Pardon, would that protect or reinstate his pension & benefits?

  101. turcopolier says:

    I think so, since the offense would be erased. Retired service members do not receive “pensions.” They receive “retired pay.” This is pay at a reduced rate (based on grade and length of service) in acknowledgement of their continued membership in the armed forces “club.” Civilians seem to have a hard time understanding the difference between “former” and “retired” with regard to military people. TTG, J and I are “retired.” We are still serving. We never got a gold watch. Some years ago i lectured at the Navy post-grad school at Monterey, California. My host , a civilian contract professor, told me how hard it would be to get me on the facility based on his experience. In the event, I drove up to the gate, showed the USMC sentry my ID Card. He came to attention, saluted me with “Good morning, Colonel” and waved us through the gate. My host shook his head and said “just like that?” Yes, just like that. pl

  102. fanto says:

    rat poison is so “yesterday”… Po210 is the modern way, and not available to first-best street urchin.

  103. kooshy says:

    yes, as long as there is no collaboration,collusion case, there can’t be an obstruction of justice for firing Comey, Could Comey be in trouble if they can prove he was witch hunting to obstruct US elections and elected president?

  104. LeaNder says:

    Publius, is this the email on your mind? Why fit this flimsy piece of evidence in? Surely easy to imagine how this snippet could be fitted into whatever chain of dot-connection. …
    Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin, but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria. Brent
    That said, it’s obvious the “Assad must go” message is firmly ingrained on the their minds. Had to be? Apparently ‘The real Donald’ threatened to moderate that narrative in early Dec. 2015. Nothing more, nothing less.
    Another snippet:I suspect her negative trust ratings are locked in through election day. If there is a Trump ISIS video the campaign release it. If not, her untrustworthy numbers will remain further locked at high levels. These trust problems are self-induced and keep occurring.
    Context, quite possibly one of her more stupid statements. No doubt:

  105. LeaNder says:

    There is no SIGINT on this. I’ve spoken with people who know.
    Tacitus, I can understand your objections to the more speculative parts of Bobo’s post.
    But if that was the case, wouldn’t that suggest that the whole partisan uproar about unmasking American names in US domestic SIGINT was only political thunder? Don’t forget the real or rumored copy-activities by the outgoing admin around the same time. 😉
    I may be as misguided as Bobo, but it feels, whatever authorities were involved in the Flynn case, it might make sense it was the FBI and they indeed had whatever SIGINT. Triggered the whole unmasking debate, didn’t it?
    Another innocent question: Would SIGINT be termed SIGINT in Cybersecurity, Cyberwarfare, Cyberdefense?
    Needing the same necessary knowledge to interpret/read it?

  106. TonyL says:

    English Outsider,
    No, that’s not what we were talking about. We were talking about the tax cut, not “Trump’s reforms” in general.
    VV’s point: “The Middle Class gets a piece of coal (for Christmas)”, and I agreed. That’s is so obvious and unrefutable.
    The Republicans in House and Senate could not defend this bill in an open debate..

  107. blowback says:

    Apologies for that but Putin responding to a request from Flynn just didn’t seem right to me and it now turns out that the Kremlin is denying that Flynn influenced the decision on retaliation in any way.
    So was Kislyak serving Prime BS to Flynn or has someone doctored the transcript of the call?

  108. blowback says:

    After all, he’s only been at it for a couple of months.

    Something wrong there. Ah, now I remember, he started May 17, 2017.

    After all, he’s only been at it for several months.

    That’s better.

  109. You call it “flimsy.” That’s your opinion. Knowing Budowsky, as I do, this was what in poker is called a “tell.” It shows the mindset.
    Trump’s policy pronouncements during the campaign on issues like Syria and Russia did threaten the Washington status quo. I don’t know specifically who came up with the idea of manufacturing the charge that Trump and Russia were in cahoots, but the thought was there when Budowsky and Podesta were exchanging emails.

  110. Heavens no. The unmasking was real. What I’m telling you is that there is no SIGINT showing Russia going direction to anyone (including its operatives) to say and/or do things on behalf of boosting Trump’s campaign. The unmasking provides further evidence of the corruption of the NSA and the CIA in interfering in the US election.

  111. Amir says:

    A very concise summary of the case by Sidney Blumenthal: Flynn Plea Shows Collusion With… Israel?…-Israel%3F
    Michael Flynn’s guilty plea to lying to the FBI falls short on Russia “collusion” but points to the Trump administration acting on Israel’s behalf, says author and journalist Max Blumenthal

  112. Joe100 says:

    I found this legal blog post interesting as it suggests Manafort may have a good case that his indictment is beyond the legal scope of Mueller’s investigation:
    Presumably Manafort will be able to afford then quality lawyering needed to support such a case?

  113. LeaNder says:

    Heavens no. The unmasking was real.
    PT, I do not in the least doubt that. Quite the opposite it was central to my argument.
    To go back to what drew my attention initially: UN events. Should I assume that the outgoing admin was/could/should-have-been aware of activities by the outgoing admin? And how standard a procedure would that attempt at postponement and interference be?
    It simply feels that in our general context whatever was “unmasked” was SIGINT. And, yes as always, I babble from a nitwit perspective.

  114. Colonel Lang,
    An enormous strength of what was originally the Soviet Army Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, and became the Foreign Army Studies Office, has been the long historical view. So your fellow VMI alumnus Colonel David Glantz was a critical figure in emancipating the historiography of the Eastern Front from overdependence on German sources. Among much else, Bruce Menning and Jacob W. Kipp produced invaluable material on the history of ‘operational art’.
    To my lasting regret, when not long after the organisation was founded in 1986 I began to realise that the consensus that radical change in the Soviet Union was unlikely was questionable, I had not heard of it. But I had not come across the remarkable group which the late John Steinbruner assembled at Brookings – a different place then from now – when he was in charge of their foreign policy programme.
    Among others, Ambassador Raymond Garthoff had pioneered the academic study of Soviet military strategy at RAND in the ‘Fifties, before being recruited into the Office of National Estimates which William Langer and Sherman Kent created at the CIA when Walter Bedell Smith ran the organisation. Meanwhile, Michael MccGwire had been the Royal Navy’s leading expert on its Soviet counterpart.
    A particular bugbear of MccGwire’s was the maxim ‘judge capabilities not intentions.’ The problem was not that it was simply false, but rather that it was what is often that most dangerous of things – a half truth. In his view, there was a propensity in the West to conflate two different kinds of analysis, both necessary, but distinct.
    Confronted by a powerful adversary with clearly offensively-oriented military planning, there really is no need to make specific assumptions about intentions to think that prudent contingency planning for war is appropriate. At this level of analysis, it is commonly perfectly proper to treat intentions as a secondary variable, and focus on capabilities.
    However, there is no way one can duck out of the attempt to get the best estimate one can of intentions, unless one is happy to be ‘blindsided’ by unexpected actions from other powers, and in particular, unexpected responses to one’s own actions.
    In both MccGwire’s case and that of Garthoff their views had evolved over time, partly because they had realised that early estimates of Soviet capabilities had had been inflated, with knock-on implications for assessments of intentions. So, by 1960, Garthoff had established that, of the 175 Soviet divisions, one third were at full strength, one third partial strength, and one third cadre.
    By 1959, meanwhile, MccGwire had realised that the armament and deployment characteristics of the major part of the vast fleet of submarines the Soviets had started building at the start of the decade were suited not to attacking NATO’s transatlantic lines of communication but to countering possible D-Day style operations in the Baltic or Black Sea.
    As a 17-year-old midshipman on the battleship HMS Rodney, fresh out of the Darmouth naval college, MccGwire had, like your uncle, been present at the North African landings in November 1942. So it was not so difficult for him to contemplate the possibility that what might be in the mind of a Soviet planner was the fact it took less than a year from Pearl Harbour for Americans to be engaged in major amphibious operations in Africa, having meanwhile essentially defanged the Japanese naval challenge at Midway.
    So, critical parts of the truth turned out to lie on the surface. In the Marxist-Leninist worldview, the risk of war in the international system came from ‘imperialist’ powers attempting to resist the ineluctable dynamics of history, by resorting to military action.
    A critical case where MccGwire thought that misunderstandings of Soviet intentions had led to unintended and understood consequences was the introduction of ‘flexible response.’ Intended to boost the ‘credibility’ of ‘deterrence’, its actual effect had been – after a delay – to precipitate a change in Soviet planning assumptions, from the belief that escalation to nuclear war was inevitable, to the belief that it might be possible to avoid it.
    Ironically, however, the initial effect was to increase the perceived need for capabilities for a conventional ‘blitzkrieg’ into Western Europe, and for naval forces. On top of this, in the course of the late ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies Soviet planners were concluding that they could not give any operational meaning to the notion of ‘victory’ in a nuclear war.
    So when in 1977 Richard Pipes produced his famous article explaining ‘Why the Soviet Union Thinks It Could Fight & Win a Nuclear War’ he was simply wrong.
    And because the conventional and naval build-ups were, incorrectly, interpreted as a complement to a nuclear war-fighting strategy, rather than a replacement for it, the effect was to consolidate a long-standing mistaken view of Soviet military strategy as in large measure political, aimed at ‘escalation dominance.’
    Moreover, Soviet professions of interest in nuclear arms limitation, and the whole of Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’, were interpreted as attempts at ‘reflexive control.’ By contrast, from the summer of 1987 onwards, both Garthoff and MccGwire were arguing that changes in Soviet negotiating positions on conventional arms control very strongly suggested that a radical revision of the whole Soviet security posture was likely.
    Had I been aware of the Soviet Army Studies Office at the time, I might have had a better understanding of what we were being told when in February 1989 we interviewed General-Mayor Valentin Larionov, then about to retire as a Professor at the General Staff Academy in Moscow for a couple of BBC Radio documentaries.
    He was a scholarly man with steel teeth – a vivid reminder of how poor the country was – and an almost exact contemporary of MccGwire’s, having as I learnt later also gone to war in 1942, and seen action at Kursk, Warsaw, Prague and Berlin. It was clear that his secretary – a very beautiful Russian girl – disapproved of us. He himself was evidently slightly bemused at the unaccustomed experience of being interviewed by the BBC, but, if people wanted to ask him to explain, he would do his best to do so.
    To understand the roots of the ‘new thinking’, he told us, one had to go back to the realisation of Soviet planners back in the ‘Seventies that it was not possible to win a nuclear war. He then talked about a Soviet strategist of the ‘Twenties, Aleksandr Svechin, who he said had been ‘repressed’ under Stalin. And he discussed the 1986 study ‘Game Plan’ by Brzezinski, whom he described as ‘nash drug (our friend) a Pole.’
    What I learnt later after I discovered Kipp’s work was that Larionov had compiled and co-authored the classic Soviet statement of the strategy of winning a nuclear war by pre-emption, the initial 1962 edition of the study of ‘Military Strategy’ published under the name of Marshal Sokolovskiy.
    As to Svechin, I discovered that he had been at heart of arguments that had played a crucial role both in the histories of Germany and Russia. In the former country, the decisive victory against France in 1870-1 had reinforced the tendency of the General Staff to focus on the ‘Napoleonic’ side of Clausewitz.
    The most incisive sceptic was a veteran of that war who had become a great (civilian) pioneer of military history, Hans Delbrück. In his analyses of past wars, he insisted on the importance of grasping both the ‘Napoleonic’ side in Clausewitz and the insistence on the strengths of the defence, distinguishing between wars of ‘destruction’ and ‘attrition’, and emphasising the importance of grasping what was appropriate when and where.
    Quite rightly, Delbrück thought that the General Staff’s determination to go for ‘destruction’ alike in East and West in 1914 and subsequently was a hideous gamble, condemning Germany to a fight to the finish with Russia and Britain at the same time.
    Rather than 1870-71, Svechin had started out reflecting on the lessons of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5, which had brutally exposed his country’s backwardness. It was this which led to the focus on the ‘operational’ level of war, between tactics and strategy. Following and building on Delbrück, Svechin was consistently sceptical of those in Russia who thought that successful ‘Napoleonic’ strategies of ‘destruction’ could avoid the need for a war of ‘attrition.’ However, in the arguments of the ‘Twenties, he lost out to Tukhachevsky.
    As Kipp brought out, this was part of the background to Stalin’s determination to transform a backward peasant society overnight into one capable of producing the weaponry required to fight modern industrial war. In 1941 rival ‘Napoleonic’ conceptions clashed. What resulted were quite unnecessarily catastrophic initial defeats at the ‘operational’ level for the Red Army, but in the end it was Hitler and Germany who came most decisively unstuck as a result of the failure to see that if the capabilities for ‘operational’ success can force victory at the strategic level then confidence in them can be a snare and a delusion.
    One then however comes to several ironies. Actually, it is precisely nuclear weapons which, at the outset of the Cold War, made it natural to see a hot war as likely to involve strategies of ‘destruction.’ Absent such weapons, the best the Soviets could hope for would be that such strategies might achieve ‘operational’ successes which could eliminate the bridgeheads on which the vastly superior American military-industrial potential, once remobilised, could be deployed. This was not a gamble which had worked out well for the Germans and Japanese.
    Another is that, with Soviet leaders after 1945, as with German after 1871, dramatic success lead to ‘hubris.’ In particular, by attempting to realise what were in essence the agendas of radical Pan-Slavs of the pre-1914, and also pushing towards Turkey and Iran, Stalin scored a catastrophic ‘own goal.’ Doing so was inherently likely to do precisely what he had not anticipated – produce a united front of the ‘imperialist’ powers preparing for possible war against him.
    It also – as Larionov’s remark implied – trapped Russia into trying to control populations it could not realistically expect to subordinate in the long term, in a situation were retreat was liable to trigger destabilisation within the Soviet Union itself (as it did.) Last but hardly least, it mean that refugees from these states would, very naturally, attempt to enlist the power of the United States against the Soviet Union.
    It is hardly surprising that those who have been its victims are inclined to see Soviet and Russian power in the worst light. But it not infrequently made for dubious judgements in the Cold War, and at the moment old traumas are intensifying the propensity to interpret the Putin ‘sistema’ as some kind of ‘return of Karla’, which in turn has facilitated the ludicrous attempts of Western élites to escape facing up to their own follies by scapegoating the Russians.

  115. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Not sure if this is the best place for this comment,
    but it is not unreasonable to attach it here.
    Byron York, “sundance”, and Andrew McCarthy
    analyze Flynn’s actions and the (over)reaction to them
    in the following (which includes some excerpts).
    York gives a very detailed review of the Flynn situation,
    while McCarthy emphasizes the role of Peter Strzok played.
    “Comey told Congress
    FBI agents didn’t think Michael Flynn lied”

    by Byron York, Washington Examiner, 2018-02-12

    In March 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed a number of Capitol Hill lawmakers on the Trump-Russia investigation.

    According to two sources familiar with the meetings,
    Comey told lawmakers that
    the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them,
    or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional.
    As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that
    Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.
    Nine months later, with Comey gone and special counsel Robert Mueller in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation,
    Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI in that Jan. 24 questioning.

    “Byron York Ponders The Flynn Puzzle Question…”
    by “sundance”, 2018-02-12
    “The Curious Michael Flynn Guilty Plea”
    New developments in Flynn’s case
    raise questions about the circumstances under which he pled guilty to lying to the FBI.
    by Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 2018-02-13

    Strzok did not decide on his own to interview Flynn.
    We know the matter was being monitored at the highest level of the Justice Department,
    by then–acting attorney general Sally Yates and then–FBI director James Comey.
    Strzok and a colleague were assigned to interview Flynn.
    More importantly, Strzok apparently reported that he believed Flynn had been truthful.
    Shortly after the interview occurred, it was reported that the FBI had decided no action would be taken against Flynn.
    On March 2, Comey testified to a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee that, while Flynn may have had some honest failures of recollection during the interview, the agents who questioned him concluded that he did not lie.

    Far from setting Flynn up, it seems that Strzok would exculpate him.
    Flynn was prosecuted not because Strzok is an anti-Trump zealot,
    but apparently because Strzok’s finding that Flynn was truthful was negated by Mueller’s very aggressive prosecutors.
    Did they decide they knew better than the experienced investigators who were in the room observing Flynn’s demeanor as he answered their questions?

    Of course, the point is moot now because Flynn has admitted his guilt.
    Still, I wonder whether Mueller’s team informed Flynn and his counsel,
    prior to Flynn’s guilty plea to lying to the FBI,
    that the interviewing agents believed he had not lied to the FBI.

    There are a few other oddities about the case.

    After Flynn pled guilty,
    I argued that this showed Mueller did not have a collusion case.
    If he did, he would have forced Flynn to plead guilty to some kind of criminal conspiracy involving the Trump campaign and Russia,
    and had Flynn implicate his Trump World coconspirators in the course of allocuting in court.
    Instead, Flynn pled out to a mere process crime,
    giving Mueller a scalp but not much else.

    The judge who accepted Flynn’s guilty plea was Rudolph Contreras.
    Mysteriously, just days after taking Flynn’s plea, Judge Contreras recused himself from the case.
    The press has been remarkably uncurious about this development.
    No rationale for the recusal has been offered,
    no explanation for why, if Judge Contreras had some sort of conflict,
    the recusal came after the guilty plea, not before.

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