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On Friday, December 1, 2017, Lt General Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Powerline has a simple explanation of the story, excerpted below (emphases mine):

News media are breathlessly reporting that Gen. Michael Flynn has agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI. You can read the Statement of the Offense here. The false statements alleged by the government seem rather pathetic: 1) Flynn falsely told an FBI agent that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions” the U.S. had just imposed, and 2) that he didn’t recall the ambassador subsequently telling him that the Russians had moderated their response per his request; 3) Flynn falsely said that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to delay or defeat a pending U.N. Security Council resolution, and 4) that the ambassador never subsequently described his country’s response to that request. (Flynn tried, unsuccessfully, to convince several members of the Security Council, including Russia, not to proceed with an anti-Israel resolution. This is to his, and President Trump’s, credit.)

That’s it, after a year of huffing and puffing. Nothing about the election, nothing about the long-awaited “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia. I have no idea why Flynn apparently lied to an FBI agent, assuming that he did. But the communications described in the information are exactly the sorts of contacts that a national security advisor to an incoming president should be having with foreign powers.

In short, the allegations against Flynn suggest that Robert Mueller has nothing significant against President Trump or other members of his administration.

The following statement is from President Donald Trump’s lawyer:

This happened after the election, when the president-elect’s transition team initially contacts foreign governments. Obama also did this in speaking with then-Mexican president Felipe Calderon on January 12, 2009, just days before his first inauguration.

In fact, it is alleged that Obama’s campaign team met with Hamas and Iranian contacts in 2008, during his campaign. In March 2008 — also during the primary campaign — it emerged they were in touch with Colombia’s FARC.

ABC’s Brian Ross reported on the Flynn guilty plea, saying that the general was in touch with the Russians when Trump was a ‘candidate’. As Ross’s faulty story broke, the markets fell slightly for an hour on Friday. Ross did not issue a retraction until hours later:

This is what Rush Limbaugh had to say about Brian Ross, who has twisted the truth before:

Later on Friday, The Hill reported that CNN’s Jim Acosta — another questionable reporter — said White House sources told him the Obama administration approved Flynn’s communications before they took place. Also note that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is also mentioned:

The White House said on Friday that it was the Obama administration that authorized former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during President Trump’s transition, according to CNN.

Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak in the month before Trump took office, the first current or former Trump White House official brought down by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

Court records indicate that his communications with Kislyak were directed by a Trump transition official, with multiple news outlets reporting that official was Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

“They are saying here at the White House that Flynn’s conversations with Sergey Kisylak were quote ‘authorized’ by the Obama administration,” CNN correspondent Jim Acosta said.

“We should point out, that is something that we have not heard before in terms of a defense from this White House,” he said.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Of course, James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence — and no friend of the Trump administration — said the White House claim was ‘absurd’.

Regardless, Flynn’s conversations happened after the election — not before, as some of the Obama campaign’s did.

Acosta also filed a CNN story wherein a ‘senior White House official’ told him:

“There is no anxiety with Flynn and about what he might say.”

The President “feels sorry for Flynn… I think he likes Flynn,” this official said, adding the Trump is “thinking about Flynn and his family.”

As I write on Saturday (GMT), it seems likely that this story will run and run all weekend long. Trump detractors worldwide will enjoy this, such as ex-FBI director James Comey:

He was quickly rebuked by former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino:

More reports emerged from ABC, NBC (and other news outlets). From ZeroHedge (emphases in the original):

ABC news takes it a step further, reporting from an anonymous source that “Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.” – though NBC News reports it was Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.

I have already gone into the major points of the story thus far, but two of ZeroHedge‘s ‘observations and takeaways’ are worth noting:

  • If Flynn’s contact with Russia was related to “collusion” in regards to election meddling, he would be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy, not the “process crime” of lying to the FBI..
  • If Flynn were to now drop some new bombshell about greater Russian collusion, he would have lied to the FBI twice.

The article asks why Flynn would have lied and offers these possibilities:

Why would Flynn lie about his contact with the Russians in late January, five days after the Inauguration? Was it because the nation had been whipped into an anti-Russia frenzy? Or, as some have suggested, does the rabbit hole go much deeper and there are aspects of the Trump-Russia story that haven’t been made public yet? Again, if that were known, Flynn would be pleading guilty to a much more serious crime.

Ultimately:

That said, Flynn is facing a whopping six months in prison and a fine of up to $9,500 for lying to the Special Counsel.

The article concludes:

So – unless there’s more than meets the eye, it appears that the coverup is far greater than the crime in regards to Flynn’s decision to lie to the FBI. And whatever the outcome, the hard bounce in the S&P 500 would seem to suggest this is perhaps another nothingburger and not quite the end of Drumpf.

What follows is part of Imperator_Rex’s analysis (two name corrections are at the bottom of his thread, but I have just used ‘Obama/Said officials’). Emphases mine below:

5. The plea offenses are known as ‘process crimes’, in other words non-compliance with the technicalities of being in an incoming administration.

6. In return for the plea, Flynn will FULLY CO-OPERATE with Mueller’s SC. That’s what this is all about. And it’s not heading in the direction of the Clinton/DNC Trump-Russia lie, that much is certain.

7. To recap : in January 1017, General Flynn didn’t tell the truth to Jim Comey & Andrew McCabe’s clownshow of an FBI, about meeting the Russian ambassador.

Thank God he didn’t.

8. To clarify, an incumbent administration communicating with foreign states, while a lame duck POTUS runs out his or her term, is commonplace & happens all the time. As you’d expect it to be.

9. However, the FBI under Comey & McCabe was a corrupted organization, which Flynn knew well. IMO he did the RIGHT thing not telling them about the communications with the Russian ambassador. It would have been leaked, with the intent of bringing down Trump.

11. [Obama officials] used unmasked intel under a FISA warrant (probably based on the Fusion GPS dossier) to ID Flynn and then leaked it to WaPo, a crime.

[Said officials] also tried to ambush Trump by saying they warned him about Flynn.

It didn’t work. Trump was inaugurated.

12. Trump likely became fully aware of what they did in February, but definitely by at least May 8, 2017 …

13. After his ‘resignation’, Flynn offered to tell his ‘story’ in a public Congressional hearing, in exchange for immunity. This was denied. The last thing those snakes wanted was for Flynn to reveal all on live television.

14. General Flynn knows everything about Obama & Clinton. That’s because he was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, serving from July 2012 to his retirement from the military in August 2014.

18. This plea deal allows Flynn to provide testimony under oath, as well as 24/7 ‘assistance’, to Mueller about EVERYTHING he knows. But it won’t be about the Drumpf-Russia lie. It will be about other things

20. Ignore the crowing of the hysterical MSM today. They have been consistently wrong about everything, because they are basing it all on the Trump-Russia lie.

They are 100% wrong on this, too.

22. Remember these words from General Flynn’s lawyers in March, 2017:

‘General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit’.

The circumstances now permit.

The end.

Some evidence that Imperator_Rex could be right comes from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta’s answers to questions from an audience at Duke University on Wednesday, November 29:

The Duke Chronicle reported his answer to a student who asked about Pizzagate and his ties to Russia:

“This is how the alt-right does fake news,” Podesta said. “It’s personally painful because a lot of this is really total bullsh*t. My family and I have been put through this Pizzagate bullsh*t now for a year—which has totally been debunked, by the way.”

“My relationship with the company that you talked about, that was based in Boston, an American innovative company—I totally disclosed [my relationship with it]. Fox [News] has had to correct that twice,” he added in response to Kiprilov’s question. “I could go down the rest of your list. I have no relationship to the Podesta Group and haven’t for 15 years. You can stick with it. The one thing I will tell you is you have a lot of company on Twitter and on the internet, so have at it.”

The student told the Duke Chronicle (emphases mine):

“Pizzagate was a conspiracy theory, but the other allegations, I don’t know,” Kiprilov said. “If he had been a bit calmer and more mature in answering the questions, I would have been satisfied. I was disappointed that he got so angered and triggered by my question.”

A self-identified Republican who says she is not part of the alt-right, Kiprilov said she felt that Podesta misunderstood the nature of her question.

“I did not imply that I believed any of this,” she said. “I think he immediately assumed I did, so he lumped me with the alt-right crowd, which was very unfortunate that he jumped to that conclusion.”

iBankCoin reported (emphases in the original):

In response to the next question from an audience member about how John feels about his brother Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group being under FBI investigation, John Podesta made sure to distance himself from Tony as he stammered through his response:

“Look I think my brother, uh, uh, A) I’m not my brother. Does it worry me? You know, I, I, It’s, it’s painful. I mean his firm, uh, uh, after many years in business, uh, uh, un-unraveled as a result of, I think of the fact that it was under investigation,” adding that he thinks Tony’s involvement with [Paul] Manafort’s partner Rick Gates and Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) was ill advised.

Just to be clear, Paul Manafort’s indictment has nothing to do with the Trump campaign, but for Ukraine-related work during his time with the now-defunct Podesta Group.

Podesta then answered a question about Hillary’s defeat in 2016. This is an amazing answer:

Before the night was over, Podesta answered questions about Russia’s effect of the election, stating that while he didn’t think Russia’s efforts to interfere with voting on election day succeeded, bots and Facebook ads spreading fake news did.

Wow.

iBankCoin rightly concludes:

Or, maybe Russian internet bots, Pokémon Go and Facebook ads promoting liberal activism are perhaps the lamest possible excuses for why Hillary Clinton lost the election.

If Mueller finds nothing after his investigation, it will then be up to Attorney General Jeff ‘Sleepy’ Sessions to act like an Attorney General — tough. That is unlikely to happen, however. The Gateway Pundit has a scathing article on Sleepy, saying that he is actually bringing down the Trump administration through his recusal from campaign investigations — which enabled Robert Mueller’s appointment as Special Counsel — and ineffectiveness with regard to the Swamp.

Technically, Sessions probably did have to recuse. If so, he never should have accepted the post. Trump, apparently, did not know until after the fact.

More articles like that and Trump’s base will clamour for Sessions to resign. He never should have taken the job if he planned on recusing almost immediately, then getting a Democrat to be his deputy.

Trump will have to think quickly and carefully about resolving that situation soon.

UPDATE — On December 2, Fox News reported that ABC’s Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay for his story on Flynn:

ABC News announced Saturday that Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross would be suspended for four weeks without pay over a botched “exclusive” about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

During a live “special report” Friday morning, Ross reported that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while he was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump’s impeachment and sent the stock market plummeting.

Later in the day, ABC issued a “clarification” to Ross’s report, saying that Trump’s alleged directive came after he’d been elected president. Ross himself appeared on “World News Tonight,” several hours after the initial report, to clarify his error.

To be continued tomorrow.

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