We are at a dangerous moment in America. Republicans have effectively sanctioned violent vigilante justice.
Barack Obama did not give Donald Trump much advice prior after the former was elected president. One person Obama did warn his predecessor about was Michael Flynn. There were increasingly strange rumors about the Army General.
Not surprisingly, Trump ignored the advice and made Flynn his National Security Adviser. But shortly afterwards, Trump fired the former general for lying to the vice president. And after that, Flynn pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI.
Trump stepped in to pardon his former staffer. And since then, Flynn has become increasingly unhinged. A viral video surfaced in July of last year of the former general and his family taking the QAnon oath.
The former general said during a recent podcast appearance, “When you look around the world, why do all these places not have the problems that we keep getting beat over the head and shoulders on in this country when it comes to Covid?”
“Why? Because everything, everything, and this is my truth, what I believe, everything is a distraction to what happened on November 3. Everything we hear about Covid, and how Covid started before November 3, it is all meant to control, it is all meant to gain control of a society to be able to force decisions on society, instead of allowing ‘we the people’ to make decisions.”
Donald Trump has quite a day on Wednesday. After deciding not to attend a meeting of Republicans in Gettysburg, PA, he called the phone of lawyer Rudy Giuliani. As the lawyer held the phone up to a microphone, Trump begged for the 2020 election results to be overturned.
After his widely mocked phone call, Trump decided to issue a pardon for Michael Flynn. The disgraced former National Security Adviser had previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Trump’s pardon was no surprise to anyone. In fact, it was mostly expected. MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace brought in former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi on air to talk about the situation.
“While this doesn’t surprise anybody, here’s the deal,” Figliuzzi began. “Within the Trump orbit, pardons go and will continue to go to the guilty and the silent. And Michael Flynn has been both. Pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and silent about what he knows, particularly about Russia engagement with the campaign and with Trump.”
The former FBI official continued, “It also serves the Trump narrative to keep doing this and to pardon Flynn because Trump has been saying all along that the system is rigged against him, the justice system has it in for him. So, the more he can do to subvert the justice system, show that he thinks there’s fallacies to be — and flaws to be exposed, the more he’ll do it.”
Watch a clip of Figliuzzi’s spot with Wallace below, courtesy of MSNBC:
"This doesn't surprise anybody… Within the Trump orbit, pardons go and will continue to go to the guilty and the silent and Michael Flynn has been both: Pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and silent about what he knows" – @FrankFigliuzzi1 w/ @NicolleDWallace pic.twitter.com/IL1EFavZhc
President-Elect Joe Biden has reportedly expressed concerns about the many possible criminal prosecutions of Trump distracting from his presidential mission. Just as Barack Obama declined to pursue prosecution against the Bush-Cheney regime for its outright lies about Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, leading us into a prolonged and unnecessary war with Iraq, costing thousands of American lives and billions of dollars that could have supported Americans at home, so to has Biden expressed an interest in moving forward and not prosecuting the past.
Donald Trump publicly berated his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn because of a missed call from Vladimir Putin, according to former senior figure in the British government.
Nick Timothy, a senior adviser to former British Prime Minister Theresa May, claimed in an interview that the President had a meltdown in front of May and others because of a missed call with the Russian president.
Donald Trump lashed out at former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Thursday following her testimony before the Senate. The President has already falsely accused of her committing a crime.
Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about the Justice Department’s investigations of election interference in 2016 and then FBI Director James Comey.
The President was not pleased with Yates’ performance.
“Sally Yates is either lying or grossly incompetent,” he tweeted.
Sally Yates is either lying or grossly incompetent. It is not possible she could have known so little about Dirty Cop James Comey (and others) from her high position in the Department of “Justice”. The political Crime of the Century, and she had no idea what they were doing?
President Donald Trump lashed out at former acting Attorney General Sally Yates in a tweet earlier this morning, accusing her of participating in “the greatest political crime of the Century.”
The president accused Yates of “leaking” a conversation with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who would later plead guilty to a felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI, and agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
“Ask her under oath. Republicans should start playing the Democrats game!” the president wrote.
Sally Yates has zero credibility. She was a part of the greatest political crime of the Century, and ObamaBiden knew EVERYTHING! Sally Yates leaked the General Flynn conversation? Ask her under oath. Republicans should start playing the Democrats game!
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who oversees the case against former President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, has appointed former judge John Gleeson to counter the Justice Department’s argument that Flynn’s case should be dismissed.
Sullivan wrote that Gleeson will present arguments as an amicus curiae––or “friend of the court”––”in opposition to the government’s Motion to Dismiss” and on “whether the Court should issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury.”
Flynn resigned from the White House in disgrace after he provided false information about his communications with the Russian government, particularly after the news of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States, became public. He later pleaded guilty to a felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI.
You can read the complete text of Judge Sullivan’s order HERE.
Gleeson authored a Washington Post op-ed earlier this week titled “The Flynn Case Isn’t Over Until the Judge Says It’s Over.”
“The department’s motion to dismiss the Flynn case is actually just a request — one that requires “leave of the court” before it is effective. The executive branch has unreviewable authority to decide whether to prosecute a case. But once it secures an indictment, the proceedings necessarily involve the judicial branch. And the law provides that the court — not the executive branch — decides whether an indictment may be dismissed. The responsible exercise of that authority is particularly important here, where a defendant’s plea of guilty has already been accepted. Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of,” he wrote.
He continued: “The department once argued that those conversations confirmed Flynn’s guilt. It now claims those conversations were innocuous. By ordering disclosure of the transcripts, the court can empower the American public to judge for itself — and assess why the department is trying to walk away from this important case.”
Gleeson notes that “Flynn’s guilt has already been adjudicated. So if the court finds dismissal would result in a miscarriage of justice, it can deny the motion, refuse to permit withdrawal of the guilty plea and proceed to sentencing.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized former President Barack Obama after news outlets obtained a tape of a web talk between the former president and members of the Obama Alumni Association in which he said the “rule of law is at risk” in the United States after it emerged the Justice Department dismissed the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut,” McConnell said in an interview with Trump 2020 senior adviser Lara Trump on an episode of Team Trump Online! “You know, we know he doesn’t like much (what this) administration is doing, that’s understandable. But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot, you were there for eight years.”
“Generally former presidents just don’t do that,” he added, pointing to the tradition started by the Bush administration to not criticize presidential successors.
“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed – about the justice department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama reportedly said on the recording.
“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury [in fact Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI] just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic – not just institutional norms – but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk,” he continued. “And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”
The former president’s comments prompted President Donald Trump to launch into an “Obamagate” conspiracy theory.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2020
He got caught, OBAMAGATE! https://t.co/oV6fum0zIS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2020
President Donald Trump attacked former President Barack Obama, launching into an “Obamagate” conspiracy after news outlets obtained a tape of a web talk between the former president and members of the Obama Alumni Association in which he said the “rule of law is at risk” in the United States after it emerged the Justice Department dismissed the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“OBAMAGATE!” Trump wrote. He spent the rest of the night peddling numerous conspiracy theories.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2020
He got caught, OBAMAGATE! https://t.co/oV6fum0zIS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2020
Nancy Pelosi has accused the Department of Justice of covering up for President Donald Trump. She was responding to the decision to drop the case against Michael Flynn.
The Speaker of the House issued a statement criticizing the DOJ’s move on Flynn. The retired Lieutenant General had plead guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017.
She took particular aim at Attorney General William Barr.
“Attorney General Barr’s politicization of justice knows no bounds,” Pelosi said.
“Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in the face of overwhelming evidence – but now, Attorney General Barr’s Justice Department is dropping the case to continue to cover up for the President,” she said.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that Flynn had lied about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential transition. But Barr’s decision cuts against this.
“Overruling the Special Counsel is without precedent and without respect for the rule of law,” Pelosi said.
Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, also strongly criticized the DOJ’s decision.
“This is outrageous!” Nadler tweeted.
“Flynn PLEADED GUILTY to lying to investigators. The evidence against him is overwhelming. Now, a politicized DOJ is dropping the case.”
“The decision to overrule the special counsel is without precedent and warrants an immediate explanation.”
Many critics see Barr’s actions toward Flynn as part of a long-term strategy to undermine the Special Counsel’s findings for political purposes.
Former Trump adviser and disgraced New Jersey governor Chris Christie writes in his new book wrote that President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner thought firing former national security adviser Michael Flynn would end the Russia controversy, according to The New York Times.
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) January 28, 2019
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, often looks at things differently from most people. And last night was no exception.
After reading special counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing report on former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Meadows reached a conclusion that was shared by almost no other intelligent person. The sentencing report, he said, was “good news for President Trump” because “there is no mention of collusion.”
The conservative Meadows, known to be a big Trump supporter, was a guest of Sean Hannity on Fox News late Tuesday night. He said:
“I have looked at this report and, yes, everybody is going to focus on what has been redacted. But let’s look at what is not in there. There is no suggestion that Michael Flynn had anything to do with collusion. He was with the transition team. He was part of the campaign. And, yet, there is no mention of collusion.”
Special Counsel Bob Mueller has slowly been disclosing a very broad and extensive pattern of deception by Donald Trump’s aides and associates, according to the Associated Press. Seemingly everyone involved tried to cover up Russian contacts during the 2016 campaign and transition period, the AP reported.
Most observers have said that they have never seen so many people lying so extensively while attempting to hide the truth in such a situation.
The large number of lies to the FBI and to Congress, instead of covering up the truth, have raised new questions, leading to new insights about Trump‘s connections to Russia.
What has emerged is “a portrait of aides eager to protect the president and the administration by concealing communications they presumably recognized as problematic,”according to the AP.
The false statements by so many witnesses highlight Mueller’s mission, which is to cut through the lies as he seeks the truth of what happened between the Trump campaign and Russia. This is the only way he will be able to establish the existence of a conspiracy to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s investigation has been seeking truthful answers to the following key questions:
- Why did the incoming Trump administration discouraged Russia from retaliating over sanctions imposed for election hacking;
- Who knew about illegally obtained Democratic emails, and when did they know it; and
- How were plans made for a Trump Tower in Moscow and who was involved in these plans?
Daniel Petalas, a defense lawyer and former Justice Department prosecutor pointed out that when so many lies are told by so many people, it indicates that they are covering up some extremely important information.
According to Petalas:
“You can draw a conclusion that these false statements generally relate to an effort to protect the president of the United States in connection with his dealings with Russia. That’s what makes them material to the investigation that Mueller is pursuing, which is a necessary element of a false statement claim — that it has to be material.”
Examples of Trump associates lying include:
- Trump‘s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations he had on Trump‘s behalf for a real estate deal in Moscow.
- George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about April 2016 conversations with a Maltese professor who told him Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”
- Trump‘s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, admitting lying to the FBI by saying he didn’t discuss sanctions against Russia during the transition with Sergey Kislyak.
- Prosecutors this week accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of lying even after his guilty plea, though they have not said about what.
- A draft plea agreement against another Trump supporter, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, accused him of misrepresenting a conversation with Trump confidant Roger Stone about WikiLeaks, which released thousands of stolen emails in the run-up to the election to harm the Clinton campaign.
Perjury charges can be powerful tools for prosecutors, especially in investigations where witnesses are openly adversarial. In the Mueller investigation, Trump’s associates have been emboldened by the president’s antagonist stance. Many may have expected to be supported by Trump, and even
receive presidential pardons.
On the surface it appears that Donald Trump is winning. He has a unique ability to dominate news cycles and absorb all of the media’s attention through his brash public statements and his tweet storms.
What Trump has said and done since the story was published about an FBI informant in his presidential campaign is totally outrageous. He has gotten the Department of Justice to give in to his demands that they provide classified information to Congress and start a separate inquiry into the FBI’s actions.
But below the surface, Donald Trump is losing, and he knows it. The more he attempts to get attention for himself in the media, the more things are going really bad for him legally, and this past week is no exception. He is engaging in the strategy of distraction, and it’s not working.
Mueller and his team are working diligently behind the scenes gathering evidence and preparing indictments. They completely ignore the headlines and the media hubub about the president’s latest actions and statements.
The real story is what has been going on legally, because this explains why Trump is making his increasingly reckless and risky moves. So here is a legal update and a summary of what has made this a great week for Mueller and his team:
- Michael Cohen’s business partner flipped on him.
- Both Rachel Maddow and Michael Avenatti predicted that Cohen will soon turn state’s evidence and start providing testimony against Trump.
- Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law flipped on him several days ago, putting more pressure on him to also flip on Trump. Since Manafort’s right-hand-man Rick Gates already flipped and is working with Mueller, the pressure on Manafort to flip on Trump is getting very intense.
- Roger Stone on Sunday confirmed that he expects to be indicted and arrested soon, which means Mueller will soon be trying to negotiate a deal where Stone would testify against Trump in exchange for reduced criminal charges. Nobody expects Stone to hang tough against Mueller and be a stand up guy. Instead, they are predicting Stone will give in quickly to Mueller in order to save himself.
The prospects of Donald Trump’s
closest and most long-standing friends
"I believe high-level Trump associates, including potentially the president himself, are in increasing legal jeopardy. That's because insiders have turned on them."
Trump will try to paint Flynn as a liar, but it'll be a tough sell given all the praise he has heaped on the ex-national security adviser.
Distracting from the increasingly damning Russia scandal by touting a tax scam that will eviscerate the middle-class probably isn't a good strategy.
It's becoming increasingly hard to believe that Trump had no idea what some of his closest advisers were up to with respect to Russia.
Federal investigators probing the lobbying work of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn are focused in part on the role of Bijan Kian, Flynn’s former business partner, according to a person interviewed by the FBI.