7/12/2016, "President Barack Obama twice appointed former Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn to key national security jobs in his administration, including as deputy director of national intelligence and later as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, yet he never once met with Flynn face to face."
12/1/17, "The Scalp-Taking of Gen. Flynn," Robert Parry, Consortium News
"Exclusive: The Russia-gate prosecutors have taken
the scalp of ex- National Security Adviser (and retired Lt. Gen.) Flynn
for lying to the FBI. ut this case shows how dangerously far afield
this “scandal” has gone, reports Robert Parry."
"Russia-gate enthusiasts are thrilled over the guilty plea of
President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for
lying to the FBI about pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian
ambassador, but the case should alarm true civil libertarians.
What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that
then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by
Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted
an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI
interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn’s
recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts
of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.
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....
Though Flynn clearly can be faulted for his judgment, he was, in a
sense, a marked man the moment he accepted the job of national security
adviser. In summer 2016, Democrats seethed over Flynn’s participation in
chants at the Republican National Convention to “lock her [Hillary
Then, just four days into the Trump presidency, an Obama holdover,
then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, primed the Flynn perjury trap
by coming up with a novel legal theory that Flynn – although the
national security adviser-designate at the time of his late December
phone calls with Kislyak – was violating the 1799 Logan Act, which
prohibits private citizens from interfering with U.S. foreign policy.
But that law – passed during President John Adams’s administration in
the era of the Alien and Sedition Acts – was never intended to apply to
incoming officials in the transition period between elected
presidential administrations and – in the past 218 years – the law has
resulted in no successful prosecution at all and thus its dubious
constitutionality has never been adjudicated.
But Yates extrapolated from her unusual Logan Act theory to speculate
that since Flynn’s publicly known explanation of the conversation with
Kislyak deviated somewhat from the transcript of the intercepts, Flynn
might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Yet, that bizarre speculation would require that the Russians first
would have detected the discrepancies; secondly, they would have naively
assumed that the U.S. intelligence agencies had not intercepted the
conversations, which would have negated any blackmail potential; and
thirdly, the Russians would have to do something so ridiculously
heavy-handed – trying to blackmail Flynn – that it would poison
relations with the new Trump administration.
Yates’s legal theorizing was so elastic and speculative that it could
be used to justify subjecting almost anyone to FBI interrogation with
the knowledge that their imperfect memories would guarantee the grounds
for prosecution based on NSA intercepts of their communications.
Basically, the Obama holdovers concocted a preposterous legal theory
to do whatever they could to sabotage the Trump administration, which
they held in fulsome disdain.
At the time of Flynn’s interrogation, the Justice Department was
under the control of Yates and the FBI was still under President Obama’s
FBI Director James Comey, another official hostile to the Trump
administration who later was fired by Trump.
The Yates-FBI perjury trap also was sprung on Flynn in the first days
of the Trump presidency amid reverberations of the massive anti-Trump
protests that had arisen across the country in support of demands for a
“#Resistance” to Trump’s rule.
Flynn also had infuriated Democrats when he joined in chants at the
Republican National Convention of “lock her up” over Democratic
presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and
other alleged offenses. So, in targeting Flynn, there was a mix of
personal payback and sabotage against the Trump administration.
The Legal Construct
The two-page complaint
against Flynn, made public on Friday, references false statements to
the FBI regarding two conversations with Kisylak, one on Dec. 22, 2016,
and the other on Dec. 29, 2016.
The first item in the complaint alleges that Flynn did not disclose
that he had asked the Russian ambassador to help delay or defeat a
United Nations Security Council vote censuring Israel for building
settlements on Palestinian territory.
The New York Times reported
on Friday that Russia-gate investigators “learned through witnesses and
documents that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the
Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel, according
to two people briefed on the inquiry.
“Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law
and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, took the lead in those efforts. Mr.
Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to
kill the vote, the people briefed on the matter said,” according to the
Breaking with past U.S. precedents, President Obama had decided not
to veto the resolution criticizing Israel, choosing instead to abstain.
However, the censure resolution carried with Russian support, meaning
that whatever lobbying Flynn and Kushner undertook was unsuccessful.
But the inclusion of this Israeli element shows how far afield the
criminal Russia-gate investigation, headed by former FBI Director Robert
Mueller, has gone. Though the original point of the inquiry was whether
the Trump team colluded with Russians to use “hacked” emails to defeat
Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the criminal charge against Flynn has
nothing to do with election “collusion” but rather President-elect
Trump’s aides weighing in on foreign policy controversies during the
And, the first initiative was undertaken at the request of
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, not Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The second item, cited by Mueller’s prosecutors, referenced a Dec. 29
Flynn-Kislyak conversation, which received public attention at the time
of Flynn’s Feb. 13 resignation after only 24 days on the job. That
phone call touched on Russia’s response to President Obama’s decision to
issue new sanctions against the Kremlin for the alleged election
The complaint alleges that Flynn didn’t mention to the FBI that he
had urged Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation” and that
Kislyak had subsequently told him that “Russia had chosen to moderate
its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
The Dec. 29 phone call occurred while Flynn was vacationing
in the Dominican Republic and thus he would have been without the usual
support staff for memorializing or transcribing official conversations.
So, the FBI agents, with the NSA’s transcripts, would have had a
clearer account of what was said than Flynn likely had from memory. The
content of Flynn’s request to Kislyak also appears rather
uncontroversial, asking the Russians not to overreact to a punitive
policy from the outgoing Obama administration.
In other words, both of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations appear rather
unsurprising, if not inconsequential. One was taken at the behest of
Israel (which proved ineffective) and the other urged the Kremlin to
show restraint in its response to a last-minute slap from President
Obama (which simply delayed Russian retaliation by several months).
While Flynn’s humiliation has brought some palpable joy to the
anti-Trump “Resistance” – one more Trump aide being taken down amid
renewed hope that this investigation will somehow lead to Trump’s
resignation or impeachment – many of the same people would be howling
about trampled civil liberties if a Republican bureaucracy were playing
this game on a Democratic president and his staff....
What I have heard from many Hillary Clinton supporters in recent
months is that they don’t care about the unfairness of the Russia-gate
process or the dangerous precedents that such politicized prosecutions
might set. They simply view Trump as such a danger that he must be
destroyed at whatever the cost.
Yet, besides the collateral damage inflicted on mid-level government
officials such as retired Lt. Gen. Flynn facing personal destruction at
the hands of federal prosecutors with unlimited budgets, there is this
deepening pattern of using criminal law to settle political differences,
a process more common in authoritarian states.
As much as the Russia-gate enthusiasts talk about how they are
upholding “the rule of law,” there is the troubling appearance that the
law is simply being used to collect the scalps of political enemies."
News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Obama Justice holdovers, former Flynn colleagues from his days as Obama Dir. of Military Intel, arranged Flynn interrogations and had NSA transcripts of Flynn calls. Flynn relied on his unaided recollection knowing his opponents had his exact words. One Flynn late Dec. phone call was to multiple countries about a UN Israel vote-Robert Parry
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