While the internet has been consumed by the Dem House's impeachment theater, there was a development in the Flynn case. On September 30 Michael Flynn's new lawyer, Sidney Powell, filed a supplemental status report. The report itself is fairly brief--5 double spaced pages--and not difficult to follow. Much longer is the attached opinion in the Rafiekian case, in which Judge Trenga tossed the jury's guilty verdict, stating that no reasonable juror could have convicted on the facts presented. Bijan Rafiekian, of course, was Flynn's partner in Flynn Intelligence Group (FIG), and was charged with violating FARA, the Foreign Agents Registratin Act. You can read Powell's report here or defer to Margot Cleveland's lucid summary. Or you can have the best of it all by reading both. Cleveland's article is here:
With each new court filing, the public learns more about the government’s manipulation of Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.
What Powell does in the report is to trace the connection between the two cases--Rafiekian and Flynn--and the way that pressure was exerted on Flynn via the targeting of Flynn's son by Team Mueller (but authorized by Rod Rosenstein) to coerce a guilty plea from Flynn. Powell makes no bones about it. The plea was coerced. But she goes beyond that and argues for additional forms of prosecutorial misconduct by Team Mueller prosecutor Brandon van Grack--including outright lies to the court.
Of course, van Grack denies this, but Powell makes a plausible case. Cleveland has the details. Powell also points out the significance of this misconduct as a justification for Judge Sullivan to authorize her extremely wide ranging demands for document production from the government. The extraordinary scope of the document request doesn't actually constitute an argument against it. If your client has been framed by the government then any amount of document production necessary to prove what happened should be allowed--beginning with the inception of the case itself, all the way through its conclusion, if intervening events were influenced by the illegitimate inception. And that's exactly the extent of what Powell is demanding.
Hold that thought regarding the the illegitimate inception of the investigation into Flynn, because we'll be returning to it.
Sundance, at CTH, also discussed the new filing in the Flynn case: Smart Move – Flynn Lawyer Tells Judge Motive Behind Why Flynn Took Guilty Plea. While covering much of the same ground as Cleveland regarding prosecutorial misconduct in the case, he also provides further background details regarding the Flynn investigation itself (he has done this in the past, as well). After documenting Rod Rosenstein's perfidy in this repeated scope memo broadenings of the Mueller Witchhunt, sundance moves on to a highly significant fact:
Flynn was under FISA Court (FISC) authorized active surveillance
Here's what that means. Ordinarily, routine FISA coverage of Russian diplomats in the US would scoop up conversations between those Russian diplomats and US citizens. For example, the conversation between Russian Ambassador Kislyak and (incoming) US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on December 29, 2016. The identity of Americans would need to be "unmasked" to be used by our counterintelligence agency--the FBI.
Sundance points out that that's exactly the narrative that James Clapper and Sally Yates allowed to be accepted--that one way or another Flynn's identity was unmasked.
But, sundance notes, in texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page we get an angry comment, stating that that narrative is "incorrect." Which should mean that it was incorrect to say that Flynn's identity was ever "unmasked". Here is the relevant exchange:
What does this mean?
What it means is that, if there was no need to "unmask" Flynn's identity, then Flynn had to have been the subject of a separate FISA order--one that targeted Flynn personally--and that was separate from the FISA that would have covered the Russian ambassador. In turn, for there to have been a FISA on Flynn personally, there would have had to have been a Full Counterintelligence Investigation (FCI) on Flynn, personally. In the nature of things, for the FISA to have been in place by December, 2016, you would have to assume that the FCI on Flynn had been opened at least several months earlier.
Two very obvious points follow from this.
First, if there was a FISA on Trump's National Security Advisor designate, and that FISA continued into the opening months of the new Trump administration (it did), then the FBI and Obama adminstration operatives--and holdovers, especially in the DoJ but also in the National Security apparatus more generally--would have had an extraordinary window into the very top levels of the Trump administration The ramifications are truly mind boggling.
The second point is the importance for any investigation into the Russia Hoax to get to the bottom of what justification there could have been to launch a FCI on Michael Flynn. To do so would entail, in effect, presenting probable cause that Flynn was an agent of the Russian government. To then go further and obtain the FISA on Flynn personally would entail probable cause that Flynn was engaged in criminal activity related to his alleged status as an agent of the Russian government. All of this, of course, is exactly what Sidney Powell wants to know--as you can imagine! I think we can rest assured that at this point both Flynn and Powell have a fairly clear idea of how this came about, and for documentation on that I'll turn to an article by Margot Cleveland:
Lawyer Sidney Powell’s bigger plan is to expose the breadth and depth of SpyGate and how flaying Michael Flynn lay at the heart of the soft coup attempt.
Cleveland draws on Powell's document requests to ferret out the purported grounds for the FCI on Flynn. There are two groups of documents that appear to bear on this issue directly. The first has to do with Flynn's attendance at a dinner in Cambridge, UK, that included known US and UK intelligence operatives of long standing:
Also intriguing is Powell’s request for: “All payments, notes, memos, correspondence, and instructions by and between the FBI, CIA, or DOD with Stefan Halper—going back as far as 2014—regarding Michael Flynn, Svetlana Lokhova, Mr. Richard Dearlove (of MI6), and Professor Christopher Andrew (connected with MI5) and Halper’s compensation through the DOD Office of Net Assessment as evidenced by the whistleblower complaint of Adam Lovinger, addressed in our brief.”
What is fascinating about this request is that the uninformed will see the 2014 date as evidence that Powell is on a fishing expedition, while in reality, her bid for this information shows that Powell has in three short months pieced together more tiles in the mosaic of the Russia collusion fraud than Robert Mueller did in two years.
That is because the spying on Trump likely began with spying on Flynn, and involved not just the FBI, CIA, and Department of Defense, but their British counterparts, and dated back to Flynn’s time as President Obama’s Defense Intelligence Agency director. Then after Flynn joined Trump’s team, Halper and the British crew peddled a fake story that Flynn was having an intrigue with a Russian agent named Svetlana Lokhova.
For dragging her into their hit job on Flynn, Lokhova, who is a British citizen, sued Halper and the media outlets who published this tale for defamation.
In other words, Flynn was alleged to be having an affair with a Russian agent, and to therefore be compromised. Notice that this happened in the UK--where Halper, a CIA and FBI asset but also a dual US-UK citizen, would not be covered by US laws regarding the targeting of Flynn. It was an "OCONUS lure" or setup of Flynn on foreign soil.
Powell's second document request (chronologically) shows that this was not the only intelligence operation launched against Flynn outside the US--and thus not controlled by our laws:
Powell requested “any information, including recordings or 302s, about Joseph Mifsud’s presence and involvement in engaging or reporting on Mr. Flynn and Mifsud’s presence at the Russia Today dinner in Moscow on December 17, 2015.”
It was at that dinner gathering that Flynn met Vladimir Putin. (A photograph capturing the two at that event has been used to further the Flynn-is-a-Russian-agent narrative.) Powell’s court filing is the first we are learning that Mifsud also attended that gathering—a strange coincidence given the FBI’s claim that it launched its investigation into the Trump campaign upon learning that Mifsud had informed the young Trump advisor George Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary.
Of course Mifsud, a non-US citizen, would not be covered by US laws and could be targeted against Flynn. And so Powell wants to know all about Mifsud.
As justification for designating Flynn as an agent of the Russian government, this stuff is absolutely threadbare. And yet the Mueller Dossier confirms it:
"Relationship with the Russian government"? Please! I'll believe that when I see it.
Now, if Powell knows about all this, who thinks Bill Barr and John Durham are unaware of it all? So, when you read that Barr and Durham went to Rome and listened to a taped deposition of Joseph Mifsud, I think we can assume that Barr is keeping a close eye on the Flynn investigation and sees getting to the bottom of that as very much at the heart of getting to the bottom of the Russia Hoax. We can probably also safely assume that he's quite content for the time being to have Sidney Powell bedevilling Team Mueller.
Now, back to sundance.
Having established that Flynn was the subject of a FCI and a FISA, sundance turns to Susan Rice, Obama’s outgoing National Security Advisor, who in an email to herself memorialized an Oval Office meeting on January 5, 2017. That meeting was attended by Obama, John Brennan, James Comey, Susan Rice, Sally Yates, and Joe Biden (as well as possibly others). Famously, the meeting took place the day before Comey traveled to Trump Tower to bait President-Elect Trump with stories of Trump's supposed Moscow escapades. Trump didn't fall for the bait. Here's Rice's email, and pay attention to the redacted portion:
“On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book“.
The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”
[Redacted Classified Section of Unknown length]
“The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.”
Most of the focus with regard to this meeting has been on the Comey - Trump meeting the following day. No doubt this was a strategy planning meeting, and Rice probably left a lot of detail out. However, notice what Obama seems to be saying, in Rice's telling. Obama appears to draw a real distinction.
First of all, the "law enforcement team" should proceed "by the book." Law enforcement team? What law enforcement team, and what is that law enforcement team doing, "by the book"? They can only be investigating someone, or possibly more than just one person. Who is that person? Is it Trump? Certainly the facts surrounding Comey's meeting with Trump--the extraordinary preparation and circumstance both during and after the meeting--point in that direction.
Secondly, "however," Obama seems to say that "from a national security perspective" things will NOT be "by the book." Information sharing will be limited, as regards Russia. Which leads to the question, From whom will Comey's FBI withhold national security information regarding Russia?
Sundance has an answer, and I find it persuasive:
I would suggest the redacted section relates to President Trump being under FBI investigation; and/or incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn being under investigation and FISA surveillance. Hence the issues with “sharing information”.
While Michael Flynn being under active FISC authorized surveillance would indicate there’s no need for unmasking of Flynn, there would be a need for unmasking of everyone else captured within the Flynn surveillance. Hence the dozens of White House unmaskings identified by Devin Nunes in March 2017.
Yes, all those unmaskings of transition officials were probably occasioned by the FISA on National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The incoming National Security Advisor of President-Elect Donald Trump was under active Title-1 FBI surveillance as granted by the FISA court. That’s how the FBI intercepted the phone call with Sergey Kislyak and why there’s no unmasking request.
This doesn’t deal with the propriety of the FISA warrant, or the legal basis, the legal predicate that must exist prior to granting the FISA warrant. However, accepting that Michael Flynn was under court approved surveillance reconciles all the issues.
Additionally, this would explain two more issues. #1) President Obama warning incoming President Trump not to hire Michael Flynn as his Nat. Sec. Advisor; and #2) a very strong possibility that Flynn’s status is the redacted paragraph in the January 20th, 2016, Susan Rice memo.