If anyone is looking to get into politics, the election of 2016 should really teach you one thing. Be careful of what you say because if you are not careful, it just might come back to bite you in the ass.
This week has been a doozy. The last 24 hours have really turned up the heat on trump and his administration. First, it came out that the people that Rep. Nunes used to get his “information” to prove that trump was at least partially right about his “wires tapped” tweet, was none other than administration officials.
The other day, Sean Spicer made a comment from the podium during one of his press briefings. He said:
If Nunes got his information at the White House and then came back the next day to brief the president, it wouldn’t pass the smell test.
For once Spicer actually told the truth. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t smell too good right now in the West Wing. Turns out from a New York Times report, and not denied by the White House, the people who helped Nunes get his “information” are White House officials.
One is Ezra Cohen-Watnick. He is the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council. The other is Michael Ellis, who is a lawyer working at the White House Counsel’s Office on national security issues and who worked as general counsel on Nunes’ House Intelligence Committee.
You may remember Ezra Cohen-Watnick. He was brought into the National Security Council by Flynn. McMasters who is now the National Security Advisor tried to reassign him away from the council. Cohen-Watnick cried to Kushner and Bannon. They went to trump who promptly overruled McMasters and kept him in the position.
From what we can glean right now, it kind of went like this. On Monday, Comey said there was an open counter intelligence investigation into the trump campaign for possible cooperation with Russia in hacking our elections. Then on Wednesday Nunes disappeared from one cab without telling anyone where he was going. This came immediately after he received a message on his phone.
On Thursday Nunes held an impromptu presser to announced he had new information about the investigation about trump tower being wire tapped. He then hopped in a car and drove down to the White House to “brief” the president. He held another presser at the White House to confirm that he had this information and felt the President should know about it. He did say that the information was not “involved in the Russia investigation” and it was all legal behavior.
It turns out, that these two White House employees has scoured classified information looking for “back up” info about trump’s tweet. When they found whatever they found, they immediately informed Nunes and they were the ones who let him in the White House and signed him into the SCIF to see the information.
Then yesterday, Spicer said that the administration had previously sent a letter to the committees in Congress telling them of this “information” and asked them to “come down to the White House” to view it. The ranking Democrat on the House committee said that he did not receive the letter until just before the press briefing. The letter wasn’t even written until the New York Times story broke.
No one other than Nunes has seen this “information”. I give the Senate Committee credit. They told the White House to send the information to them at Capital Hill. They don’t believe it is proper to go to the White House to investigate the White House. Too bad Nunes doesn’t have the same integrity. As Spicer said, this “doesn’t pass the smell test”.
To show his support for Nunes, rep Yoho, yes that is his name, said it was proper for Nunes to do what he did because he “works for the president’. May Rep. Yoho should change his name to Yoyo. Since when does a member of Congress “work for the president”?
Then late yesterday, it was reported that Mike Flynn “has a story to tell and he wants to tell it”. But, he will only “tell his story” if he gets immunity from possible criminal prosecution. Which us back to his quote in the banner.
That quote was a snippet from a quote he gave to Meet the Press back in September. He was complaining that “five people who worked for Clinton received immunity for their cooperation.” He then followed it up with the quote about “you probably committed a crime”.
His lawyer admitted that they are seeking immunity. They are trying to make it sound different from the Clinton investigations though. They claim he needs immunity to “escape possible wrongful prosecution in the politically charged witch hunt environment”. Like the Clinton investigations had no smell of being a politically charged witch hunt.
From what we can tell, Flynn is seeking immunity from both committees in Congress, and from the FBI. If you look at Flynn all by himself, he probably needs immunity. It turns out that while he was working on the trump campaign and while he was sitting in with trump for his daily intelligence briefings, he was being paid by the Turkish government as an agent to help them in the U.S. He did not disclose that information until just this month.
So, in essence we had what can only be called a “secret agent” for a foreign country sitting in on highly classified intelligence briefings. Many people could easily call that behavior treason.
Then we have his security clearance while National Security Advisor. If he had put his lobbying (agent) activities for Turkey on his form, he probably would never have been granted his clearance to fill the position as National Security Advisor. Which tells me he lied on his form. That is a felony.
Then what few people talk about is his possible problems with the Pentagon. Few people understand that once you retire from the military, you are not necessarily free from military justice. Nor do must people understand that there are time frames when you must still seek approval if you plan to visit a country that is considered an adversary, which Russia is. The time period depends on your rank and security clearances when you retire.
Flynn went to Russia shortly after he retired. And, from what we know, he did not receive clearance from the Pentagon before his trip. We also know that several officials in the Pentagon are not happy with Flynn’s trip. It is also reported that he is facing an investigation there for his actions on his Russia trip.
If the Pentagon wants, they could still Court Martial him over failing to get clearance before going to Russia. If that happens, he could have his separation changed to “dishonorable” and he could lose his pension and benefits. So, as you can see it is very possible that Flynn does need immunity.
The real question is how man other of trump’s former cronies are going to seek the same thing. Immunity for testimony. The administration has worked feverishly over the past few weeks to distance themselves from people like Roger Stone, Page, and especially Manafort. How long before we see people like these decide enough is enough. They worked for the man and now he is throwing them under the bus to save his own skin.
You have heard the old saying of “honor among thieves”. My experience dealing with thieves is that the saying is a myth. Even Mafia insiders will turn on their families to save their own skin Is Flynn the first to turn against trump to save himself? Or, is this another ruse being put forth by trump and his crooks to cover up their activities and connections to Russia. Are they placing Flynn out there to get “immunity” and then not really have a “story to tell” except how trump is the victim without any proof again?
Yes, that is a very dark theory to have, but this administration has proven to us that they will do anything to look good. They will do anything to make sure that all fault for anything falls somewhere else. In short, they cannot be trusted in anything.
Yes, this week has been a real doozy. And it is only Friday. Who knows what today will bring. As we watch all of this play out, my cynical and ghoulish instincts makes me wonder one thing.
Is all of this being orchestrated by trump to help set up his authoritarian government? Look at what happened in Venezuela yesterday. Their top court decided that their legislature was too much against the dictator and said that the legislature no longer existed and they, the court, would decide which laws should be passed.
If trump gets to stack the Supreme Court, are we looking at the same type of ruling? I told you I was cynical and ghoulish. But, this horrible play trump has unloaded on us has all the earmarks of what happened there.
And, the shirts keep marching along.