“General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he has been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it is really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”
President Donald Trump — News conference on February 15 2017. (Two days after Mr. Flynn’s resignation)
General Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s ex-national security adviser, has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in January 2017.
As part of his plea bargain, Michael Flynn has signed a “statement of the offence” that includes a timeline of the last week of December 2016. In the TIMELINE at the end of this post, I have added this ‘official timeline’ (with the dates of these statements written in bold).
As far as I can tell, these statements are entirely consistent with all the facts which were known so far. I have found no inconsistencies. I can only conclude that Flynn is almost certainly telling the truth about these events.
We also learned, for the first time, that Jared Kushner — at the request of the Israel Prime Minister — wanted to interfere with an upcoming UN vote. Kushner is thus, almost certainly, guilty of violation of the LOGAN ACT, whatever the current status of this law.
The White House is now branding Flynn “a lying liar who lies” but there is at least one good reason to believe that Flynn was indeed acting under the order of a senior member of Trump transition team.
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RELATED POST: Robert Mueller — Enough Evidence to Charge Michael Flynn
On February 14 2017, while President Trump was asking FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of General Flynn, INTEL TODAY suggested that Flynn could be indicted and Trump impeached. Well, tiny steps for tiny feet…
RELATED POST: Flynngate — The Day Donald Fired Trump [TIMELINE]
Today (December 1 2017), Flynn admitted to one count of knowingly making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements“.
General Mike Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“It has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’. ”
“But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.”
“My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.”
According to the charges, Michael Flynn is accused of:
Falsely telling FBI agents that on or about 29 December 2016 he did not ask Russia’s then ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day”
Failing to recall that Mr Kislyak had later told him Russia was moderating its response to the sanctions as a result of his request.
Falsely saying that on or about 22 December 2016 he did not ask Mr Kislyak to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution”.
Other False Statements Regarding FLYNN’s Contacts with Foreign Governments
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334
I you are a regular visitor on this blog, you are certainly familiar with the first two (Russian ambassador Kislyak) and the fourth charge (Turkey – Gulen – FIG). But what about this UN vote?
Explanation — The United Nations Security Council was about to vote on whether to condemn Israel’s building of settlements.
At the time, the Obama administration was preparing to allow a Security Council vote on the matter.
The vote was NOT delayed and the Resolution to denounce the settlements passed 14-0 on December 23 2016, with the United States abstaining.
Mr. Mueller’s investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel 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.” [NYT]
During his childhood, Jared Kushner used to spend much time at the Netanyahu’s house.
It appears that there is no SERIOUS charge against Mike Flynn — and thus against his son — about his 2016 work for individuals connected to the Turkish government, for which he had to register after-the-fact as a foreign lobbying agent.
US media have reported that Flynn and his son had been offered US$15m (£11.5m) by Turkey to help forcibly remove Gulen — a Muslim cleric — from the US and deliver him to Turkey.
The plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn has provided critical information to prosecutors, which is clearly useful to advance the inquiry.
The obvious question is thus: Who is next? Short answer: a senior member of Trump transition team who was at Mar-a-Lago on December 29.
Besides Trump himself, Vice President Mike Pence, head of the transition team, Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, and Adviser Kellyanne Conway were there. Jared Kushner and his wife were however in Hawaii. This needs to be investigated a bit deeper…
Warning — At the time of this writing, US media report as fact that Kushner is “the very senior member of Trump transition team.” But this is — as far as I can tell — probably true but not the full story.
Clearly, Kushner was leading the UN vote about Israel. But, if it can be confirmed that he was not at Mar-a-Lago on December 29, he is NOT the PTT member contacted about the far bigger issue of lifting the US sanctions against Russia. Something does not add up here…
Trump: Obstruction of Justice?
It has always been rather unlikely that Flynn was acting independently when he had these conversations with Sergei Kislyak. I for one NEVER believed such nonsense.
On February 14 2017, the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, Trump told the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” according to a memo Comey wrote describing that meeting.
Anne Milgram, who has worked closely in the past with Mueller and his team as a former attorney general for the state of New Jersey and former federal prosecutor, said that prosecutors’ decision to charge Flynn with a relatively minor offense indicated that a deal for Flynn to cooperate with prosecutors had been struck.
“And that was very quick,” Milgram said in an email. (Guardian)
This, and the fact that Flynn’s son is not charged, makes it a rather safe bet!
If Flynn was acting on order and Trump knew, then the firing of FBI Director James Comey is almost certainly an “obstruction of justice”. But we are not there yet…
The Knives Are Out
In a deal with prosecutors, Flynn is rumoured to have offered testimony about conversations inside the Trump transition team regarding the contacts with Russian operatives — which is the focus of a major investigation by Mueller. [REUTERS]
According to a confidant, Flynn is prepared to testify that — before taking office — President Donald Trump had directed him to make contact with Russians. [ABC News]
The information from ABC NEWS is false. Nevertheless, what I wrote just above is absolutely correct!
Brian Ross, the chief investigative correspondent for ABC News, has been suspended for four weeks without pay after incorrectly reporting that Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, would testify that President Trump had directed him to make contact with Russian officials while Mr. Trump was still a candidate, the network announced on Saturday. (December 2 2017)
Mr. Trump directed Mr. Flynn to make contact after the election, as president-elect, the network said.
See: ABC Suspends Reporter Brian Ross Over Erroneous Report About Trump (NYT Dec 2 2017)
END OF UPDATE
At this point, the White House response seems to be that Mike Flynn is a lying liar who lies.
“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” White House lawyer Ty Cobb wrote in a press statement.
“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr Flynn.”
At the very least, I believe that the phone records clearly demonstrate that Flynn called a senior member of the President Transition Team (located at Mar-a-Lago), BEFORE and AFTER, his conversationS with Russian ambassador Kislyak on December 29 2017.
Obviously, if a person in the President’s inner circle knew about these discussions told the investigators that he was not aware of Mr Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, that person would be open to charges of lying to the FBI, at least if — as I believe — Flynn’s allegations can be proven.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … As Trump often says: Stay tuned!
As part of his plea bargain, Michael Flynn has signed a “statement of the offence” that includes a timeline of the last week of December 2016. The dates of these statements are written in bold.
2013 — As DIA chief, Flynn visited the GRU headquarters in Moscow. He was the first US officer ever allowed inside its headquarters. A second GRU visit was planned but denied. During this trip, he meets Russian diplomat Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak for the first time.
February 2014 — Flynn meets Svetlana Lokhova at Cambridge (CIS)
April 2014 — Flynn ‘quits’ the Defense Intelligence Agency
October 8 2014 — a letter to Flynn from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Office of General Counsel explicitly warns Flynn, as he entered retirement, that he was prohibited by the Constitution from receiving payments from foreign sources without advance permission.
Summer 2015 –Flynn meets Trump for the first time after being invited to do so by his team
May 2016 — Flynn joins NSO Group as an “adviser”
July 15 2016 — Attempted coup in Turkey. Ankara claims Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999, masterminded the failed putsch. Extradition requested. Turkey Coup: “CIA Plotters’ Meeting” in Büyükada
August 9 2016 — Flynn Intel Group entered into a contract with Inovo, a consulting firm based in the Netherlands. The work focused on Mr. Fethullah Gulen and charter schools in the United States that are associated with Gulen.
August 15 2016 — The Flynn – Inovo contract goes into effect.
August 15 2016 — Presidential Candidate donald Trump tweets: “I’ve got fresh evidence 13 CIA senior officers helped in Turkey Failed Coup. I will divulge the names in the coming days.” Trump and the Attempted Coup in Turkey : “13 CIA senior officers helped in Failed Coup”
August 24 2016 — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey. Biden made it clear that an extradition request is a legal matter, not one for the POTUS to decide.
September 9 2016 — Inovo BV Payments to Flynn Intel Group $200k
September 19 2016 — Flynn met with senior representatives of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government at the Essex House hotel in New York City. Extradition of Gulen discussed. The Turkish officials are Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who is the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
October [x] 2016 — Flynn Intel officials presented some of their ‘anti-Gulen’ research to the House Homeland Security Committee.
October 10 2016 — Inovo BV Payments to Flynn Intel Group $185k
November 8 2016 — Suspicions about Flynn’s ties to the Turkish government were sparked by an op-ed he wrote in the Hill. Flynn calls Gulen ‘shady’ and endorses his extradition.
November 10 2016 — Mike Flynn calling for the extradition of Gulen
November 10, 2016 — Obama warned Trump about Flynn during their Oval Office meeting
November 15 2016 — Inovo BV Payments to Flynn Intel Group $145k
November 17 2016 — President-elect Trump intends to pick Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to be his National Security Advisor
November 18 2016 — Flynn becomes Trump’s NSA
Mid-December — Meeting between Mr Flynn and Turkish officials in New York. Flynn discussed having Mr Gulen transported on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali.
December 17 2016 — Three experts — including former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove — unexpectedly resigned from their positions at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS), amid concerns that the Kremlin is behind a newly-established intelligence journal, which provides funding for CIS.
December 22 2016 — A “very senior” Trump transition team official tells Michael Flynn to contact foreign governments including Russia to discuss a pending UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements.
December 22 & 23 — Mr Flynn urges Sergei Kislyak to vote against or delay the resolution; the next day Mr Kislyak says Russia would not vote against such a resolution
December 23 2016 — 14 Delegations in favour of UN Resolution 2334 as United States abstains.
December 28 2016 — Flynn sends text message to Russia Amb. Kislyak to wish him a Merry Christmas.
December 28 2016 — Russia Amb. Kislyak replies asking if they can talk on the phone?
December 28 2016 — Mr Kislyak contacts Mr Flynn – on the day President Obama announces sanctions against Russia for interfering in the presidential election.
December 29 2016 — US expels Russian diplomats over cyber attack allegations. The Obama administration said the GRU is responsible for the DNC hack.
December 29 2016 — Flynn and Russia Amb. Kislyak exchange (5?) phone calls. US sanctions are discussed.
December 29 2016 — Mr Flynn contacts “a senior official” in the Trump transition team at Mar-a-Lago in Florida to discuss a response. He “immediately” calls the ambassador back, urging Russia not to escalate the situation, then gets back in touch with the Trump transition official
December 30 2016 — Putin announced that he would not retaliate. Trump praised Putin for the decision, writing in a Twitter post, “Great move on delay (by V.Putin). I always knew he was very smart!”
December 30 2016 — Russian President Vladimir Putin announces no immediate retaliation will take place
December 31 2016 — Mr Kislyak calls Mr Flynn to inform him of Russia’s position, and Mr Flynn contacts the Trump transition team.
January 5 2017 — “Effective immediately, Ambassador Woolsey is no longer a Senior Advisor to President-Elect Trump or the Transition.”Woolsey said on CNN that he did not want to “fly under false colors” any longer.
January 15 2017 — Vice President-elect Mike Pence appears on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” and defends Flynn’s conversations, saying Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak during phone calls in December.
January 24 2017 — Mike Flynn interviewed by the FBI (At the White House; No lawyer)
January 24 2017 —Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, again raised the issue with FBI Comey, who now backed away from his opposition to informing the White House.
January 26 2017 — Yates and a senior career national security official spoke to McGahn, the White House counsel. Yates tells the White House counsel that Flynn is vulnerable to blackmail by Russian intelligence. Yates considered Flynn’s comments in the intercepted call with Russia Amb. Kislyak to be “highly significant” and “potentially illegal”
January 27 2017 — Yates and McGahn second meeting. McGahn wants to know 4 Things. Why the DOJ cares? Is there a criminal case? Could the White House decision be interpreted as interference? What and where is the evidence against Flynn?
January 27 2017 — Trump invites Comey for dinner. Trump requests “pledge of loyalty”.
January 30 2017 — Sally Yates dismissed by President Trump
February 13 2017 — (Monday night) National Security Adviser Mike Flynn resigns
February 14 2017 — Trump asks Comey to drop the investigation on Flynn
March 8 2017 — Flynn Intel Group Inc filed retroactive documents with the Department of Justice to register as a foreign agent.
March 24 2017 — WSJ breaks the news of the September 19 meeting (Woolsey). The meeting was however mentioned in the documents filed on March 8 2017.
March 25 2017 — Julliette Kayyem (CNN) suggests Flynn made a deal with the FBI
May 9 2017 — CNN reported that a grand jury had begun issuing subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn
May 9 2017 — Comey is dismissed by President Trump
May 10 2017 —The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to Mike Flynn
May 16 2017 — Memos reveal Trump asked FBI Comey to drop Flynn investigation
May 17 2017 — Robert Mueller appointed special Prosecutor
October 30 2017 — Special counsel Robert Mueller announced the indictments of former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates
October 30 2017 — Mueller’s office released a “statement of offense” outlining one major instance of when the Trump campaign tried to collude with Russia. George Papadopoulos — a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign — pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents investigating the Trump-Russia scandal.
November 8 2017 — The Bureau of Prisons inmate locator shows that Zarrab was released Nov. 8, three days after NBC News reported that the special counsel had enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn.
December 1 2017 — Flynn pleads guilty to making a false statement to the FBI in January 2017.
Michael Flynn charged with making false statements to the FBI
Robert Mueller has enough evidence to charge Michael Flynn and son – Guardian
Trump-Russia: Michael Flynn charged over false statements to FBI — BBC (Dec 1 2017)
Russiagate — Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn Charged Over False Statements to FBI