The Washington Post has a story that claims there is evidence that Michael Flynn, trump’s National Intelligence Advisor had several phone calls and text messages with the Russian Ambassador and they “did talk about the sanctions on Russia based on the Russian interference with our elections. I put the emphasis because of what will follow.
As you remember, Flynn denied that when he called the Russian Ambassador in December, he did not talk about the sanctions. Vice President Pence said in January that Flynn did not talk to the Ambassador about the sanctions. Sean Spicer also said, more than once, that Flynn did not talk about the sanctions.
Countries, including ours, have a tendency to monitor calls made to the Ambassador to a country they consider an opponent. That is common. According to the report, they have recordings that Flynn did in fact talk about the sanctions in December.
A brief recap of the report goes something like this. According to Intelligence officials, a total of nine from different agencies, this came about because when the sanctions and order for several Russian Officials to leave the country was announced, there was no push back from Russia. Everyone expected Russia to retaliate against the U.S. by expelling our Officials from Russia. As a matter of fact, Putin announced two days later that he would not retaliate.
That caused red flags to be raised in our intelligence community and the White House. So, intelligence officials began searching the records of the monitored calls and discovered that Flynn made the comments to the Russian Ambassador that basically said “don’t worry about the sanctions, once we take office we will take another look at it”.
It was also discovered that there were several text message and phone calls between Flynn and the Ambassador at the time the announcement was being made about the new sanctions. It was further reported that Flynn had continuous conversations with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign as well. That raises other questions which we will talk about in a little bit.
Democrats are calling for Flynn to be fired. That would be the easy way out. I don’t want him just fired, I want a Special Congressional Investigation into the whole mess. And here is why that is necessary.
If these reports are true, and there is no reason to believe they aren’t, especially since Flynn now says he can’t remember if the sanctions were discussed or not after a full month of denying they were discussed.
Let us begin at the beginning. During the campaign the DNC and Podesta had their systems hacked. Shortly after that, WikiLeaks started leaking emails from the DNC and Podesta that were unflattering to Hillary Clinton.
We also have to remember that trump publicly suggested that Russia hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails as well. That shortly after the intelligence agencies started laying the blame for the hack at the door step of Russia and Putin.
Trump kept denying that Russia was the culprit. He kept saying no one knows who did the hacking. He claimed it could be Russia or China or some 400 lb. guy sitting on a bed in his mother’s basement.
Even when the evidence kept mounting and every intelligence agency said they were certain that Russia was behind the hacks, trump kept deflecting the hack away from Russia.
He kept talking about starting over with Russia and claimed that Putin was a “far stronger leader than President Obama”. When the agencies claimed that Russia was definitely behind the hacks, and that they were trying to influence the election in favor of trump, he went ballistic. He called our intelligence agencies awful clowns and were acting like they would in Nazi Germany.
A war broke out between trump and our intelligence agencies. All because they said Russia was trying to help trump get elected. That was a slap in the face of trump. At no time did anyone say that Russia succeeded or had actually influenced the election, nor did anyone claim that made the election invalid. But trump claimed that was what they were saying. Even Mike Pence joined trump in his admonishment about the hacking being Russia and saying there was no proof.
There were some other very curious coincidences. The trump campaign seemed to have talking points for the campaign that were almost word for word from leaked emails before the emails were leaked. Where did they get that information? One has to ask the question if the campaign was somehow working with or getting information from Russia during the campaign?
All the while, Republicans leadership in the Congress remained silent. Even when some members like McCain suggested we needed an investigation into the hacking, they balked at that idea. A couple of committees have said they plan to hold an investigation, but there has been no timeline announced yet as to when they will start.
As a retired military man, I was appalled when I saw Flynn in Russia to give a speech to RT, the government-owned television station, and sitting next to Putin, shortly after he was fired from the DIA. Yes, he was a private citizen when he was there, but as they say, “come on man”. A retired general who just left the DIA sitting next to Putin at a dinner the general was going to give a speech to in Russia?” In my opinion, that should never have happened. Shortly after that, Flynn joined the trump team to help get him elected. Coincidence?
Now we see this report from the Washington Post hat while in transition, Flynn basically tried to undermine the sitting President by calling the Russian Ambassador telling him to ignore the sanctions because trump will probably change them after he gets in office.
This mess is turning out to be too much like Watergate. What did the President know and when did he know it? Did Flynn lie to Pence, or did Pence lie to the press to cover up Flynn’s actions? Did trump know that Flynn made the calls? It is hard to believe that he didn’t know since he micromanages everything going on around him.
You also have to wonder about a very puzzling response from trump to a question about this. Today, on Air Force One, he was asked for a response to the report about Flynn. He said “what report”? When told again, he said “I haven’t seen it. I will look into it”.
Say What? This story had been out for 24 hours before he was asked about it. This cable news junkie and tweeter about what he considers bad stories in the press “didn’t see it”? I find that extremely hard to believe.
This whole mess needs to be investigated. The Republicans in Congress need to establish a Special Committee complete with a Special Prosecutor to oversee it, to investigate the whole thing. There are way too many questions that need answers. They need to try to figure out if the trump campaign was working with Russia during the election. If they were, did trump actually know and/or order the cooperation?
Once the election was over did trump order or was he informed about Flynn’s continuous contacts with the Russian Ambassador? Did he know or order Flynn to bring up the sanctions and tell Russia not to worry about them?
Who else in the campaign knew about all of this? Did Bannon, Pence, and/or Conway know about any of this? How deep did it go? Here is a big question to ask our officials, and I don’t know the answer, if trump and his campaign did cooperate with Russia to influence the election, what then? These are the questions that need to be asked, and need to be answered.
I do not know and I am not saying these stories are true. But, I do believe that there is enough circumstantial evidence to investigate the situation. This cannot be a partisan issue either. Both sides of the aisle and every citizen of this country deserves nothing less.
If these reports are true, we can only hope that Flynn was a rogue agent acting on his own. If not and others in the campaign were involved, it would create a constitutional crisis we haven’t seen since Watergate. I don’t even know how many laws they broke. If the report is false or inaccurate, we need to know that too.
This is something that can no longer be swept under the rug. This MUST be investigated and we need to find out if the reports are true or not. If they are true, then we need to know who was involved. Our country and our democracy depends on the outcome of that investigation.
In my opinion, we have seen too many instances of this administration ignoring ethics, truth, and the law. If these reports are true, then heads must roll regardless of who they belong to.
This is one time that we need to call our Representatives and Senators and demand they investigate this matter. If they ignore us, they will be telling us they don’t care about the law or the constitution either. Call or email your Representative and Senators and demand an impartial investigation now!
And, the shirts keep marching along!