Flynn will testify that Trump directed him to contact Russians

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When I suggested several months ago that a document produced by a source that I knew independently to be good strongly suggested that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to alter the outcome of an American election, Scienceblogs shut me down, unposted the post, and made it impossible for me to access my account. I complained and they backed off, and I think the individual who did it was literally on drugs at the time, but still, it was the only time anything like that ever happened at Scienceblogs. And it was about Trump being guilty of collusion with Russia. I have not mentioned that before because I believed the individual who carried out this act was vindictive and I didn’t know if there was a link to the Republicans or some other entity, so I kept my mouth shut about it until the very last day that there could be any retribution. Scienceblogs stopped the redirect from the old site to my new blog yesterday.

And, almost to the day, the suggestion that Trump colluded with the Russians is again supported indirectly by things we suddenly know.

Michael Flynn has apparently cut a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to an FBI agent. Each count is worth up to five years in Prison, and judges who pass sentences do not like it when you do that. We don’t know what the deal is, but according to ABC News, “… Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.”

It is not clear that Flynn will link Trump and Russia with respect to the election meddling, but this is a beginning towards that likely end. Also, Flynn’s testimony gives lie to many claims made by Trump and others. One might wonder why there would be an effort to hide an innocent communication between leaders or prospective leaders about a significant terrorist threat.

The details of this unfolding story are still murky and there is only one source, a confidant of Flynn’s. Flynn is still saying he was totally innocent of all things (other, of course, than that for which he has formally claimed guilt.)

Here is an ABC report:

Here is Congressman Shiff’s response to the plea:

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36 thoughts on “Flynn will testify that Trump directed him to contact Russians

  1. Stocks dropped on the news that Flynn was testifying Trump directed him to meet Russians, then recovered when they realized that it was just about the Kislyak meeting.

    1. Analysts are saying the rebound is due to Senate Republicans getting enough votes to pass their tax bill which outweighed concerns about Flynn’s guilty plea.

      No reason to believe your consistently lying ass.

  2. Trump has said many times that there was no contact between his campaign and Russia.

    Now that Flynn is prepared to testify that there was, and that Trump was in the loop on that communication, then Trump’s prior statements were false.

    At a minimum, that constitutes obstruction of justice on Trump’s part. Lying, even on twitter, to impede an investigation is obstruction of justice.

    Getting rid of Flynn now, likely won’t work. Presumably Mueller has signed statements from Flynn, that would constitute legal testimony, should Flynn be killed by Trump or Putin.

    Only charging Flynn for one thing, means that what other stuff Mueller has on Flynn is not disclosed to Trump, so Trump can’t issue a pardon to Flynn for other things.

    1. Whitlock, stop trying to invent legal analysis to fit your preferred outcome. Trump could pardon Flynn of all crimes. Lying on Twitter as obstruction of justice is equally loony.

    2. ” Lying on Twitter as obstruction of justice is equally loony.” Neither the venue nor the effectiveness of the attempt matters, so, yes, lying on twitter could indeed be obstruction of justice.

    3. Could, yes. David Whitlock’s brilliant legal analysis doesn’t include every possible communication, but rather that Trump said on Twitter there was no collusion with Russia. So apparently declaring yourself innocent is obstruction of justice. I’m sure every dishonest prosecutor in the country would love that.

    4. Trump could pardon Flynn of all crimes.

      You seem to be missing rather a lot of points.

      1) Flynn has been charged with a minimum number of crimes, with a whole swathe of others kept in the offing.

      2) Flynn was charged with the most minor of his apparent crimes.

      3) The protection offered to Flynn covers only the crimes with which he’s charged, and not the others about which the FBI is already aware.

      4) There has been no protection offered to Flynn’s son.

      5) Mueller has been working closely with state Attorneys, and charges may be made at a state level rather than a federal level. Trump has no power to pardon crimes prosecuted by individual states.

      6) Trump and his team have completely refused to offer Flynn financial support for his defense, whilst simultaneously collecting busketsful for their own defences, and Flynn will have this in mind.

      Flynn has already made his bed, and will sing not like a canary but a nightingale. And as was observed on Maddow’s program yesterday, these sorts of defendants know more than they think they know…

      It’s too late for Trump to do anything about Flynn, and the best thing to do now is to invest in popcorn stocks.

    5. Your comment is wrong, childish and typical of your “group” Here is the real story. OF COURSE Trump’s people contacted Russia and other nations AFTER THE ELECTION! That is their job. They are responsible for foreign policy – get it? Surely even a trump-hater can understand that. As far as pardoning Flynn – of course Trump can do that for ALL CHARGES. Mueller cannot seal the charges – Flynn is not an adolescent. And of course there is the actual fact that even if there is “collusion” it is NOT ILLEGAL. If Flynn had done something other than lie he would have been charged with that. His offense was the same exact one he was fired for by Trump and Pence. If they fired him for that how the hell can you believe Trump conspired with Flynn to obstruct justice. Good luck in court wit that one. Bottom line, your venom is pointless, the economy will boom, Korea will be resolved, military built up, immigration laws enforced, wages enhanced, people’s live made infinitely better than under Barack, and America will flourish. Then all you libs will have to suffer through an electoral romp by Trump over whatever socialist runs against him. Be prepare for a major depression episode in the future. I can’t wait to see the childish sore losers once again hugging their teddy bears. No more beautiful sight on earth.

    6. You are right about state crimes, though Flynn doesn’t appear to have committed any. A kidnap plot if it exists would apply to state court I imagine. Beyond that, Trump could issue a blanket federal pardon for Flynn and his son.

    7. Robert DePaolo, you say that my comment is wrong. Please point explicilty to the bits that are “wrong.”

      As for your “real story”, it is a real story – just not the sort that you think it is.

      Let’s come back to this thread in 5-10 years time and reflect on who was the more accurate in presenting facts: me in pointing out that Flynn currently remains in serious jeopardy, or you for insisting that under Trump “people’s live [sic] [will be] made infinitely better than under Barack, and America will flourish”.

    1. Didn’t realize how significant this was. ABC has suspended Ross for a month over this. Greg Laden has posted FAKE NEWS!

  3. Looking at it practically, even if the current president were to be impeached, the current VP would become the new president. Is that such a good thing? And even if the Russian involvement were to be proven and somehow lead to both of them being displaced from office, the Speaker of the House would be next in line. Is that any better? Frankly, I don’t see a win here.

    1. Looking at it practically, even if the current president were to be impeached, the current VP would become the new president. Is that such a good thing?

      It’s grim, isn’t it? Get rid of Trump and the Kochs get their man in the White House.

    2. Having Pence doesn’t attack liberals worldview. He is the square guy and they are the cool ones. Having the real-life Bulworth be a Republican is maddening to them.

    3. A problem, but a more routine one, just as if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or John Kasich or Rick Perry were President. Ted Cruz is also a problem for the bipartisan Lobbyists inc, but is also comfortable to liberals as the opposition. The only other thing that would be a problem for liberals is if it were Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson or Bobby Jindal.

    4. A problem, but a more routine one

      In the sense that Trump is a loose cannon, yes, I agree. But in the context of what the Kochs and their coterie of conservative billionaire mates have systematically engineered over several decades, the idea of Pence as President is uniquely disquieting.

    5. Ted Cruz is also a problem for the bipartisan Lobbyists inc, but is also comfortable to liberals as the opposition.

      I don’t understand that comment: I don’t know anyone (and several of our faculty are far more conservative than I am) who likes, or trusts, Cruz. The common view is he’s one of the more blatantly amoral people around.

  4. The Republican party, and their American and Russian billionaire supporters, have successfully impaled Uncle Sam with a multi-barbed harpoon. The golden hued behavioral disorder currently heading our executive branch successfully sliced through the boundaries of civility and normalcy, and defeated an army of clueless Republican presidential candidates. Cheered on by Russian bots and Russian conniving, Trump successfully used the archaic and poorly designed electoral college system to defeat democracy. His vice president was  apparently selected over Chris Christie by the ever so squeaky clean Paul Manafort! No Russian connection there, eh? And our current Speaker of the House has chosen as his guiding spiritual and intellectual light none other than the works of Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, a bitter Russian emigre who spent her declining years living on the Social Security that she decried! The same social safety net that kept Paul Ryan fed during his poorer years. The Russification of Murkan gubmint is well under way! Oh the irony! Oh the horror!

    Well, I suppose that there is a chance that the electorate which has created this mess might clean the Rabid Reich Wing Media Dog Poo off their sun glasses in time to make the House majority Democratic, depose Rattus Ryanus, and oust both Trump and Pence.

    There is that hope.

    Work hard. Wear gloves.

    1. >selected over Chris Christie by the ever so squeaky clean Paul Manafort!

      You mean Jared Kushner, whose dad was put in jail by Chris Christie.

  5. Re MikeN: “Having Pence doesn’t attack liberals worldview. He is the square guy …”

    I don’t know how you define “liberal” but, for one thing, anyone who is concerned about the known hazards of smoking and the effects it’s had on so many people will not be very unhappy to have a paid shill (I could use a less polite word) of the tobacco lobby as First Executive. It’s one thing to be a tobacco addict, it’s another to facilitate the addiction of other people — for money.

    Or is Mike Pence’s past activities on your deny list too?

  6. Re Robert DePaolo: “…the economy will boom, Korea will be resolved, military built up, immigration laws enforced, wages enhanced, people’s live made infinitely better than under Barack, and America will flourish. ”

    I particularly like the “infinitely better” as a example of typical conservative hyperexaggeration about what can be done if they only can control the country. Do you understand what the word “infinite” means? Really? Aren’t you confusing Trump with a deity (or the wrong deity)?

    Do you have any real evidence that the GOP can produce any substantial improvement. History tells us that GOP in power correlates pretty well with economic depression. Do you have a counterexample in modern times?

    1. If things “look better” it’s due to two things – momentum from Obama’s tenure, and market confidence that Trump will feather the bed for business.

      The executive orders that Trump has delivered will over time harm the US as a nation, whilst filling the pockets of some. And the current tax bill – the only incipient legislative success to date – is intended solely to make the wealthy more wealthy and the poor poorer. Trump supporters are mugs who think that he’s handing them cash, when in fact he’s doing the exact opposite. They’ll happily choose to purchase tickets for the ride to Hell, and to pay for them too, because they think that the Monopoly money being waved in front of them is real.

      I’d be inclined to simply laugh at their folly and the deserved consequence, except that many people who didn’t ask for this will also be brought down. And also because a country with some of the most fortunate blessings of fate will be strip mined and left to rust on the mullock heap of history. Oh, and because the USA’s abdication of its erstwhile credible reputation as an international leader brings forward the spectre of a global order where the Chinese and/or Russia call the shots – perhaps literally…

    2. So will these wealthy liberals who are complaining about Trump and the tax bill be setting aside the extra money they get from the tax cut and giving it to causes to help the poor? Every liberal group should be demanding every last dime go to charity or at least an anti-Trump or anti-Republican group. We need audits to make sure there are no hypocrites.

    3. So your solution is that it’s fine for the rich to pillage ever more from the poor, as long as the subset of progressive rich hand their (relatively small) portion of the extra loot back to some of the poor.

      Do you see the many problems inherent in your way of thinking?

    4. Not my point at all. Only that the people who complain about the tax cut should not be benefiting from it, and this could be a boon for Democrats who are currently trailing in fundraising. Get that money!

  7. Re “Only that the people who complain about the tax cut should not be benefiting from it …”

    Haven’t we been down this path before? Most people pay a few hundred dollars less in federal taxes at most while a tiny minority find their burden eased by much, much more.

    Here’s a complaint about the Senate tax bill for you: the senators aren’t even getting to read and discuss it. That’s a new take on representative government for you. Not even a sham consideration of the merits of the bill except to decide how much money of their onshore money should be rebated to the already-rich. It would not surprise me if the GOP tax bill and amendments thereto were written by and for corporate lobbyists and/or their conservative ramoras, then just passed on to the GOP senators for passage.

    “Get that money” indeed.

    1. Fair enough. Only the rich who are benefiting and complaining should pay up, though really asking the lower income people saving a few hundred shouldn’t be hard.

    1. Even if one accepts that McCarthy’s analysis of the legal issues is correct, it doesn’t get Trump off the hook, as you seem to imply:

      Any powers can be abused. When executive powers are abused, Congress retains the constitutional authority to impeach and remove the president. Obstruction of an FBI investigation may not be realistically prosecutable in court, but there is congressional precedent — in the Nixon and Clinton situations — for obstruction to be a “high crime and misdemeanor” triggering impeachment. Undoubtedly, abuse of the pardon power would also be an impeachable offense, even though it is not reviewable by the courts.

      I continue to believe that this is the real danger for President Trump: A report by the special counsel, either through the grand jury or some other vehicle, concluding (a) that the president had obstructed the FBI’s investigation of Flynn and of Trump-campaign collusion with Russia, and (b) recommending that the matter be referred to Congress for consideration of next steps, potentially including impeachment and removal.

    2. Of course. I’ve said the same here many times, that collusion is not criminal but it is impeachable.

  8. MikeN says, “Economic numbers are looking better over the last year.”

    “over the last year”, …wow. Must be the start of a trend; a new era of prosperity is upon us…and the Trumpster hardly did anything to achieve that result _ a few tweets, a few promises, lots of golf. Imagine how the numbers would look if he had actually done something. Mindboggling.

    What I can’t help noticing is the ability of deniers to delude themselves about trends based on very short periods. Totally meaningless, of course. But when you’re so desperate for good news, or so desperate for your non-existent science to disprove the consensus, e.g., the temperate has dropped for a couple of years _ it’s a pause! AGW is a hoax! it’s global cooling! Conservative idiots and their delusions, eh?

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