Saturday, December 15, 2018

UPDATED: Russia Hysteria, False Statements, And The Michael Flynn Affair.

Flynn's Rise

Where to start with the Michael Flynn saga? We could start with Flynn's outspokenness regarding the origins of ISIS that so angered the Obama administration, or perhaps with his interference in Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's jihad against former FBI agent Robyn Gritz, but presidential candidate Donald Trump's revisionist ideas about relations with Russia--and Trump's criticism of the sacred cow of sanctions--perhaps gets to the heart of the matter more quickly.
In late March 2016, steaming toward the Republican nomination ... Donald J. Trump made a lengthy case for giving President Vladimir V. Putin what he wanted most: relief from American-led sanctions for his annexation of Crimea.
... from the start of his campaign in mid-2015, several months before prosecutors say his company began considering a deal in Russia, Mr. Trump departed from the normal Republican hard line about Russia, attacking President Barack Obama’s approach because it alienated a potential partner.
“I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin,” Mr. Trump said soon after announcing his run for the presidency. “I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.”
This kind of talk set off alarm bells in the globalist establishment of the Deep State. Opposition research went into high gear. By July, 2016, the "sources" for ex-MI6 spook Christopher Steele's "dossier" were telling him that it was all a done deal: "the Russians" had done the DNC "hack" and had already entered into a quid pro quo with Trump: Putin would pass the emails to Wikileaks and Wikileaks would serve as a cutout for the release of the emails that would power Trump to the presidency. In exchange for sanctions relief. The Russia Hoax was up and running, and no one in the establishment media or the political establishment in Washington, DC, was questioning the official version of the "hack" nor the provenance of the rumors that began to circulate about Trump and Russia.

Where was Flynn in all this? Flynn was in retirement, having in 2014 been "forced out of the DIA after clashing with superiors over his allegedly chaotic management style and vision for the agency." He and his son started up a consulting firm, in which Flynn displayed a rather promiscuous penchant for changing his views depending on his clients' requirements. He also displayed a cavalier attitude toward reporting requirements regarding his status as a foreign agent under FARA as well as DoD and DoS requirements for retired military officers. Clients included Russian and Turkish entities.

Nevertheless, Flynn's outspoken criticism of the some Obama administration policies had attracted the attention of Republicans who were seeking the GOP nomination for president, despite the fact that Flynn was a registered Democrat. Flynn went with the winner, Trump, and threw himself wholeheartedly into the Trump campaign. He was even then being touted as a candidate for a high position in any Trump administration. Apparently Trump was never informed by the Obama administration that, starting in July, 2016, Flynn had become the subject in an FBI counterintelligence Full Investigation and one of four subjects in the Crossfire Hurricane enterprise CI investigation--although his security clearances were never revoked.

In this respect an interesting event took place two days after Trump won the election--an event that has been recounted in differing versions by the Obama and Trump camps, although the basic details appear to be confirmed by both camps. Two days after the election Trump met with Obama. According to Politico,
Former President Barack Obama warned then-President-elect Donald Trump about Michael Flynn during their Oval Office meeting two days after the election, current and former administration officials confirmed. 
Obama and his staff felt Flynn was problematic and prone to what they thought of as crazy ideas, and had fired him from his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Obama relayed that to Trump during the 90 minutes they spent together. 
Obama hadn’t planned to spend time in the meeting criticizing Flynn, but it came up as part of the conversation when the topic of personnel came up, according to a former Obama administration official. Accounts differ on how extensive he got, with one person familiar with the meeting saying that Obama forcefully told Trump to steer clear of Flynn. 
This seemed to momentarily give Trump pause, the former Obama administration official said. 
Some on the transition team, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, lobbied against hiring Flynn, said the person familiar with the meeting. But Trump, always one to value loyalty, decided to stick with the man who had campaigned for him so hard.
And that set the stage for what followed. Less than a month after Trump's inauguration, on February 13, 2017, Flynn was fired from his position as National Security Director. On December 1, 2017, he entered into a plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, pleading guilty to "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia's ambassador to the US. He had unsuccessfully attempted to make a deal with either the FBI or the Senate and House Intelligence committees for his testimony concerning the Russia probe in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution.

Flynn's Fall

There's no doubt that when Flynn took the post of National Security Director he had a number of serious enemies. The foreign policy establishment and intelligence community had it in for him due to his tenure at DIA, where he had written a report that placed blame for the rise of ISIS on the US. Obama supporters in the White House and DoJ shared that hostility. At the FBI, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had a particular and very personal axe to grind against Flynn because Flynn had vigorously intervened on behalf of Robyn Gritz, a former FBI employee who was suing McCabe for sexual discrimination. Flynn's very enthusiastic participation in the Trump campaign had also enraged Hillary Clinton supporters. And, he was still the subject of a full counterintelligence investigation arising from the FBI's own cooperation with the Clinton campaign's opposition research firm, Fusion GPS. The very core of that investigation was the claim of a quid pro quo: the release of DNC emails in exchange for Trump's action on sanctions against Russia. The chain of events that led to Flynn's firing began almost immediately after Christmas, 2016.

On December 28, 2016, then President Obama ordered tough new sanctions against Russia and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US, claiming that Russia had "interfere[d]" in the 2016 elections. Although Obama made no accusations against Trump in his statement, the action was widely taken to indicate that the US actually had proof that Russia had acted to help Trump's election--thus casting doubt on the very legitimacy of the Trump presidency. This worked to further inflame the anti-Russian and anti-Trump hysteria that was being fanned by the MSM, mere weeks before the Trump inauguration--a provocative move by an outgoing president.

In response, on December 29, 2016, after consulting with high Trump transition officials, Flynn contacted the Russian ambassador with a request that Russia not reciprocate, to prevent an escalation of tensions. Putin publicly agreed and Trump hailed Putin's restraint, but virtually immediately
Obama advisers grew suspicious that perhaps there had been a secret deal between the incoming team and Moscow, which could violate the rarely enforced, two-century-old Logan Act barring private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers in disputes with the United States.
In fact, the NYT's characterization of the Logan Act as "rarely enforced" is symptomatic of the false reporting that was rife. An accurate characterization would have been: the never enforced and constitutionally dubious Logan Act. In any event, it would appear that in addition to "Obama advisers" FBI Director James Comey and acting Attorney General Sally Yates were also discussing whether there was any law that could be applied against Flynn. The reasons for Yates' reluctance to embrace such a theory are easily grasped:
As with members of Congress, the foregoing factors might counsel hesitancy to apply the Logan Act to the activities of presidential transition teams after a presidential election. The purpose of the transition is to smooth the way for the new administration, and in the diplomatic field that seems necessarily to involve speaking with foreign governments about matters of dispute. Indeed, this seems a vital activity to reduce uncertainty during the transition. It is likely that members of transitions teams of other incoming Presidents have routinely discussed pending disputes with foreign officials without raising Logan Act concerns. The Act’s goal of preventing private diplomacy is far removed from the context of presidential transitions, and there were no quasi-official transition teams at the time the Act was passed. ... Moreover, one might see designated members of a transition team have a sort of official status, having been selected by the President-elect, who in turn has a quasi-official status as a result of the election. Indeed, the presidential transition process is formally established by law: the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, provides funding, facilities and access to government services for the transition team. ...
However, at the FBI a plan was hatched. Comey and McCabe came up with the idea, in violation of all established procedures, of sending two agents to interview Flynn regarding his contacts with the Russian ambassador. McCabe called ahead to assure the gullible Flynn that there was no need for the presence of White House lawyers. As Comey has recently stated: “I don’t think he knew. I know we didn’t tell him”, i.e., the real purpose of the agents' visit. The plan that was adopted explicitly relied on subterfuge. The agents were instructed to develop a rapport with Flynn, not to challenge any statement he might make that appeared to be inaccurate. And in fact the agents reported back that Flynn appeared "truthful" and "unguarded," apparently believing this FBI contact was a routine liaison and training contact.

The first question that arises with regard to this approach is obvious: what reason did the FBI have to interview Flynn? Presumably they could have asked him about any of the matters for which he was being investigated--but they didn't. If Flynn were being interviewed because of a criminal violation on his part--the only valid reason for interviewing him in the circumstances--then the agents should have pursued a line of questioning that tracked the elements of some criminal offense. Instead, they proceeded with a preset strategy that they hoped would elicit statements--any statements--that could be interpreted as false. Not denials of facts that were elements of a criminal offense, necessarily, but statements that could be interpreted as false and as obstructing their investigation of ... of what? The Logan Act? A law that is widely regarded as unconstitutional, that has been used twice in US history, the last time around 1852, and never successfully? If not the Logan Act, then what? Clearly there was no hope of a Logan Act conviction because that's not how the interview was conducted.

The answer seems clear: the interview was designed as a perjury trap. This appears to have been confirmed by McCabe himself, during his testimony to the House. The Hill's account of the report provides interesting details:
“Although Deputy Director McCabe acknowledged that ‘the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case,’ General Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements on December 1, 2017,” a newly unredacted part of the report reads. 
The document also says top government officials had conflicting reports about why the two agents were interviewing Flynn in the first place. 
The committee “received conflicting testimony” from Comey, McCabe, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord about the "primary purpose" of the interview, the report states. 
The report claims that these top FBI and Justice Department officials had different answers regarding whether the agents were “investigating misleading statements to the Vice President, which the Vice President echoed publicly about the content of this calls; a possible violation of the Logan Act; or a desire top obtain more information as part of the counterintelligence investigation into General Flynn.”
Let's begin at the top: "not a great beginning of a false statement case." In other words, the visit of the agents to Flynn's office was the beginning of a false statement case. But the FBI is not authorized to go around testing the veracity of random citizens: they must have an official reason. Consider this hypothetical.

Suppose you're an FBI agent. At lunch one day you leave your office and go around the corner to, let's say, a hardware store. The proprietor knows you to be an FBI agent. You ask for his recommendation for some article and he responds, praising a particular product with inflated claims. You purchase it but are soon dissatisfied, believing that the proprietor deceived you. Did the proprietor "lie to the FBI?" Should you, the agent, open an investigation against the proprietor for making a "false statement to the FBI?" Clearly not. And why not? Because you didn't purchase the product as part of your official duties, even though you had your badge and your gun and were vigilant for any criminal activity as you walked to the store.

The two agents who interviewed Flynn certainly presented themselves as being on official duty, pursuing an official task--but where they really? Were they just testing Flynn, without pursuing a line of questioning that pertained to any suspected crime? McCabe's response to the House and his instructions to the agents certainly suggests that there were no such grounds for interviewing Flynn. The interview was a pretext of acting in the course of official duty; it was a setup, not an investigation.

The testimony of the other officials confirms this. Their inability to offer consistent rationales indicates that, even months later, they were unsure of any justification. Reports of Yates' anger at Comey's precipitous decision to set a perjury trap for Flynn make perfect sense in that light: a competent attorney for Flynn would have attacked the case from this standpoint. What were the conflicting rationales that they offered?

  • Misleading statements made by Flynn to the Vice President, Mike Pence. That was wrong of Flynn, no doubt, and ended up being grounds for Flynn's dismissal, but it's notable that they were not used as the basis for any indictment. After all, would we really want to outlaw all politics, all bureaucratic infighting and ass covering? Where would be the end of it?
  • The Logan Act. Again, there's a good reason why that wasn't pursued. The same reason that other public figures who, for example, travel to foreign countries to plead for the release of captives are not prosecuted. Not to mention constitutional problems.
  • The ongoing counterintelligence investigation into Flynn. In that case, why did the agents not question Flynn on that subject?

No, clearly the rationales offered to House were no more than CYA excuses, made necessary by the FBI's ill considered action. Of course Flynn behaved badly--as he had done with regard to his foreign agent consultancy. Implausible as it may seem, Obama attempted to do Trump a real favor, perhaps out of sheer dislike for Flynn. Whatever the reason, it's unfortunate that Trump's sense of loyalty prevented him from accepting the advice.

At this point there's really no need to go into the dishonest prosecution of Flynn, with its hiding of exculpatory evidence and even, it now appears, destruction of evidence in the form of agent Pientka's interview notes. My view is that Judge Sullivan has been placed in a position in which he pretty much must take action against Team Mueller's glaring abuses, despite the flawed defendant before him. The easy course would seem to be dismissal of the case, but I'm no judge. Perhaps he'll come up with some alternative.


Excerpt below from the Daily Caller, back in 2/2018. The description of this meeting fits perfectly in the time frame in which the NYT says "Obama advisers" were discussing the Logan Act. I postulated above that those "advisers" would have included Yates and Comey:

FBI Director James Comey held a secret Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama two weeks before Trump’s inauguration and may have deliberately misled Congress about it, according to an email sent by National Security Advisor Susan Rice that GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham partially unclassified. 
The meeting — which Comey never previously disclosed to Congress — occurred in the White House on Jan. 5, 2017. It included Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Rice deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Comey. The topic of the meeting was potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 
By failing to inform the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the meeting in his June 8, 2017, testimony, Comey may have deliberately and intentionally misled Congress about his interactions with the former president, especially a meeting so close to Trump entering the White House. 
“President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office,” Rice wrote in an email written the day before the inauguration.

NB: This would have been the same meeting at which, according to Susan Rice's famous "email to self", Obama instructed Yates and Comey to do everything "by the book." Woops! Whose book was that again? Comey's apparently, and he has a track record worth remembering: The Case of the Missing Crime. That meeting, viewed within the timeline context of "Obama advisers" speculating about the use of the moribund Logan Act, is ... fascinating.


During most of my working years "1001" was NEVER used the way it is now. What's going on now is, IMO, disgraceful. Jonathan Turley explains.

Excerpt from If Andrew McCabe lied, could he be charged like Michael Flynn? By Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

... An alleged false or misleading statement by McCabe could rekindle questions about how the Justice Department addresses alleged false statements within its own ranks.

... However, if history is any guide, McCabe is unlikely to find himself facing a charge.
It is a perceived luxury enjoyed by federal prosecutors that routinely charge others with even borderline false statements but rarely face such charges themselves. While most prosecutors adhere to the highest ethical standards, a minority of Justice Department lawyers have been accused of false or misleading statements in federal cases. However, they are virtually never charged with false statements by their colleagues. There is no such reluctance in using this easily charged crime against targets outside of the department.

Consider the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He now faces a prison stint after pleading guilty to a single false statement about a meeting with Russian diplomats during the Trump presidential transition period. While Flynn did not deny the meeting, which was entirely legal, he denied discussing sanctions with the Russians. Mueller charged him with lying or misleading federal investigators under 18 U.S.C. 1001. He did so even though investigators working under former FBI Director James Comey reportedly had concluded that Flynn did not intend to lie and should not be charged criminally for the omission.

... It is common for people to omit or color facts in interviews on events that may have occurred weeks or months or even years earlier. Most people assume that they have a right to deny wrongdoing. Indeed, there was once an “exculpatory no” doctrine that maintained that a person could deny a crime with an investigator and not be subject to a charge under laws like Section 1001. This was viewed as an extension of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

The Justice Department litigated for years to deny the “exculpatory no” to average citizens. It finally succeeded in 1998 in Brogan v. United States when the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority that “we find nothing to support the ‘exculpatory no’ doctrine except the many Court of Appeals decisions that have embraced it.”

In the case of Flynn, he was not even denying a criminal allegation. There was nothing particularly uncommon, let alone unlawful, in an incoming national security adviser discussing the issue of sanctions that were the main areas of tension with the Russians. Flynn did not deny the meeting but did deny the subject of sanctions, as opposed to discussing better relations in the new administration. Nevertheless, he was charged and, reportedly after depleting his savings and putting his house up for sale, he pleaded guilty.


The issue ultimately should not be whether McCabe or Comey used an “exculpatory no” and should have been charged with a false statement. The issue is whether a different set of rules applies to the Justice Department than the one that it applies to the rest of us. In the end, Flynn cut a deal and will have to live with it. Moreover, prosecutors may have felt that they had provable crimes against Flynn or his son, Michael Flynn Jr., making the false statement charge merely a convenient charge for cooperation. (Flynn was dealing with some dubious characters linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.)

However, there should be a concern whether Section 1001 is a crime that is easily satisfied and arbitrarily enforced. That is a dangerous combination. The “exculpatory no” doctrine may have been ruled as unavailable to citizens but it appears very much alive inside of the Justice Department.


  1. A fine explication, Mark.

    I noted Andy McCarthy's essay today about how one shouldn't defend Flynn because Flynn has admitted to lying in the interview to secure his plea deal, which disappoints me a bit because I have a great deal of respect for McCarthy. McCarthy is just taking it as a fact that Flynn wouldn't take a false plea to escape being tried and convicted of the FARA charges. However, this is just faulty logic- it isn't like Flynn brought this deal to the Mueller team- it was exactly the opposite. I think Sullivan suspects that this is exactly what happened- that Flynn was facing a lot of other charges and the prosecution used that to extract this particular plea deal for political reasons. It would sure explain why Mueller is relying on a 302 prepared from a Strzok interview taken 6 months later rather than the original one that was surely written in late January of 2017. I think Sullivan was trying to convince himself that Flynn wasn't rail-roaded on this particular charge by forcing the FBI to demonstrate that the later 302 agreed with the earlier one, and that both agree with the plea Flynn made. Mueller and his team refused to do that yesterday.

    If I were Sullivan, I would interview Flynn myself ex parte and ask him directly what he actually remembered himself about the details (questions asked, answers given) during January 2017 interview, and how much was he prompted by Mueller showing him the statements of Peter Strzok made about the interview six months later.

    Really, Andy McCarthy is once again showing his naiveté about human beings, I think. Is it really such a stretch to think an honorable man might be willing take a no-prison-sentence plea that was false just to avoid going to prison for something else? Is it such a stretch to think a prosecutor might try to force such a false plea on someone just to keep the Russian-Collusion narrative breathing on life support?

    It is that missing 302 from January 2017 that could answer some of these questions, and it definitely suspicious that Mueller won't show it. I mean, why was Strzok interviewed about this 6 months later? This is definite smoke that suggest some sort of corruption went on here.

  2. Yancey, first of all, it's not my purpose to take out after Andy McCarthy here. In fact, I read all his stuff and have a separate bookmark file for it. However, since you bring the subject up ...

    I do wish he would spend more time perusing FBI guidelines. He's of course very familiar with prosecutorial guidelines and criminal cases, but in this mix of criminal and CI there are important nuances that most people miss--which is why I've been writing about largely legal aspects of this Russia Hoax. For example, see my article at AmThinker today, which I'll post here by tomorrow: Mueller's ‘Enterprise’ Witch Hunt.

    Re his naivete ...

    Some years back I spent a LOT of time commenting re the Scooter Libby case, which exhibited disturbing parallels to the present case not only in prosecutorial abuse and but also even in the cast of characters (Mueller, Comey). If I can find a good summary account I'll post it here later.

    McCarthy has spent years defending his friends' corruption in that case. It is only now that he is, very belatedly, admitting his misjudgments.

    I bring the Libby case up also because it's an example of an innocent man who stuck to his guns and was later exonerated--even if, in all likelihood, few are aware of his exoneration. In that sense, as you may have sensed, I have reservations about Flynn's plea deal. I fully understand the pressures, but a false plea does remain a fraud on the court.

    This in turn puts Judge Sullivan in a bind. On the one hand, he can't act as defense counsel, yet he must act for justice even when the defendant has--in effect--perpetrated a fraud against the court. Albeit, under extreme pressure.

    These are some of the reasons why I say a dismissal may be Sullivan's easiest way out of the dilemma and the most direct way of defending the court's integrity.

  3. Yancey, below is a link to a summary of the Libby case. Apologies if you're already familiar with it, but for those who aren't it should prove revelatory: same cast, same tactics of the setup, same criminal behavior by DoJ/FBI/SC. Even the title of the article should ring bells. There's a lot more out there like this.

    The Case of the Missing Crime

  4. From the Daily Caller, back in 2/2018. This meeting fits in with the time frame in which the NYT says "Obama advisers" were discussing the Logan Act, and I postulate that those "advisers" included Yates and Comey:

    FBI Director James Comey held a secret Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama two weeks before Trump’s inauguration and may have deliberately misled Congress about it, according to an email sent by National Security Advisor Susan Rice that GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham partially unclassified.

    The meeting — which Comey never previously disclosed to Congress — occurred in the White House on Jan. 5, 2017. It included Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Rice deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Comey. The topic of the meeting was potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    By failing to inform the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the meeting in his June 8, 2017, testimony, Comey may have deliberately and intentionally misled Congress about his interactions with the former president, especially a meeting so close to Trump entering the White House.

    “President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office,” Rice wrote in an email written the day before the inauguration.

  5. Is the Flynn affair about a rare potential abuse of prosecutorial discretion or possibly a bellwether symptom of underlying systemic corruption and criminality by persons in a position of trust? If the former, then Sullivan's intervention is mostly about implementing a suitable remedy to a isolated incident. However, if the latter, then it's a whole different kettle of fish and Sullivan's mandate should be to force sunlight and transparency into this dark place. As a related data point, we now know that Mueller's staff (and the DOJ) scrubbed the EC on Strzok and Lisa Page's cell phones. Yes, one can assert that this was done for benign reasons (and I have a bridge to sell you) or Occam's Razor may suggests that there may be some fire behind that smoke. If Spygate was really a full-scale criminal enterprise hiding within the DOJ/FBI, then Flynn is either a sideshow or fuse.

  6. Unknown, it's totally the second: "a bellwether symptom of underlying systemic corruption and criminality by persons in a position of trust." And Sullivan knows it, and he also knows that the last time he tried to address it DoJ conspired to let the culprits at DoJ/FBI off with a slap on the wrist--at most. Yes, full blown criminal enterprise.

  7. Donald J. Trump made a lengthy case for giving President Vladimir V. Putin what he wanted most: relief from American-led sanctions for his annexation of Crimea.

    The population of Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

    That vote was an explosion that blew up in the face of the Obama Administration, and that explosion was the reason why the Obama Administration became so hysterically anti-Russia.

    The population of Crimea voted to leave Ukraine, because their votes no longer counted in Ukraine. In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych won the Presidential election. The European Union observed the election and declared that Yanukovych had won fairly.

    Yanukovych had run on a platform of improving Ukraine's relationship with Russia. He won the overwhelming majority of Russian voters in Ukraine, plus he won a significant portion of the Ukrainian voters who agreed with his platform of improving that relationship.

    After Yanukovych occupied his Presidential office, however, Ukrainian protesters in the Kyiv -- the capital city, which is populated overwhelmingly by ethnic Ukrainians -- strove to make the city and country ungovernable. The street protests continued for weeks and then months and eventually caused Yanukovych to flee from Ukraine.

    These protests were supported, encouraged and to some extent even guided by the Obama Administration, which had no business meddling in Ukrainian Presidential elections and politics.

    After Yanukovych was expelled from the Presidency, the ethnic Russians who had voted for him figured out that their votes in Ukraine were worthless. Those regions where ethnic Russians comprised overwhelming majorities organized referendums to leave Ukraine and to join Russia, where their future votes would be valid.

    Thus, the Obama Administration's meddling in Ukrainian politics and elections blew up in the Obama Administration's face. Thus began the Obama Administration's anti-Russia hysteria, which includes spy mania and includes treason accusations against US citizens who think the USA should remain fair toward Russia.

  8. President Trump should declassify documents that describe the Obama Administration's meddling in Ukrainian Presidential politics. Trump should expose how much money, manpower and effort the CIA expended to prevent

    * Victor Yanukovych's from being elected President

    * Yanukovych from governing as the elected President

    * Russian-population regions from voting to secede from Ukraine.

    Once the US population is informed about this history, the ruin of the USA-Russian relationship during the Obama Administration will be understood much better. Also, the Obama Administration's blatant hypocrisy about meddling in other countries' elections will be perceived much better.

    In the final month of the Obama Administration, President Obama himself purposely managed to ruin the USA-Russian relationship even further, in order to cause problems for the in-coming Trump Administration. In particular, President Obama expelled dozens of Russian diplomats amid a concocted hysteria about Russian meddling in our 2016 election. President Obama expelled the Russian diplomats a mere three weeks before Trump would be inaugurated as the new President.

    The concocted election-meddling hysteria and the expulsion of the Russian diplomats created a situation in which any attempt by the new Trump Administration to repair the USA-Russia relationship would be treated as treason by the USA's Deep State.

    Any official of the new Trump Administration who attempted to repair that relationship would be investigated by the Deep State, which would leak tendentious about such attempts to Trump-hating journalists. Where possible, criminal charges -- for example, Logan Act violations -- would be initiated against such officials.

    If the Logan Act charges did not suffice, then the Deep State would leak to the journalists that the officials were vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

    Planning for this secret campaign against Trump and his supporters began by early 2016 (sixteen).

  9. Mike, those comments are very welcome--a needed and important perspective. Please bear in mind that I was quoting the NYT, trying to recreate the Deep State mentality that fed into subsequent events. I agree with you.

  10. Yancey, I finally read McCarthy's article: Did Flynn Lie? I broadly agree with him, but wish he'd gone a bit further (he promises to do so in future articles). Specifically, I like that he points out two things that I wrote about:

    1. The weak to non-existent grounds the FBI had for interviewing Flynn in the first place. As you know, I think this is a crucial point, and McCarthy recognizes its importance, as well. That pleases me, because I haven't seen that given the attention it deserves. Bravo to McCarthy.

    2. McCarthy also recognizes that Flynn's guilty plea in such circumstances can be construed as a fraud on the court--perjury. That's necessary to bear in mind because, as I said, the judge can't take sides.

    This puts the judge in a difficult position. The prosecution and the defendant are both guilty of--not to put too fine a point on the matter--criminal misconduct. As I said, dismissal seems the easiest and overall fairest way out of this conundrum, given that the prosecution initiated the whole thing without a proper justification (as I've argued) and also has the higher responsibility for the integrity of the justice process (IMO--because of the greater weight of the government v. the individual). This is part of why I quoted Turley at greater than usual length. As a retired investigator I feel somewhat strongly about treating real people fairly, even when they haven't behaved well. Turley gets that whereas, sadly, Scalia apparently missed that idea.

  11. I just watched an interesting interview with former AG Michael Mukasey. I liked his comments re Barr, but I think he got entrapment wrong.

    Here's what I wrote to some friends:

    I think Mukasey is wrong about what he calls "entrapment." The FBI is simply not in the business and has no authority to go around talking to people to see if they'll lie. They need an official reason, reasonable grounds to believe that they're investigating a crime. Entrapment requires having a reason to think there may be a willingness to commit a crime--it's not just going out and testing random people. As I argue in my blog, the conflicting testimony of Yates, McCord, and others demonstrates that they were coming up with after the fact justifications--they knew that there was no real justification in the first place, which is why Yates got angry at Comey.

  12. Sorry, I got that last comment back asswards. Mukasey said this wasn't entrapment--it was somehow legit. I'm saying, entrapment simply isn't the real issue, because the FBI had no reason to interview Flynn. In entrapment situations the FBI still needs an articulable reason to approach the person--even if they turn out to be wrong. Here, there was no articulable reason to approach Flynn. Forget about entrapment and focus on the lack of justification in the first place. The result is that Flynn's lying to the FBI is beside the point, but his lying to the court by pleading guilty does cause the judge a bit of a problem that could have been avoided by a proper and honest not guilty plea.

  13. OMG, hopefully the third time is the charm. This business is conceptually complicated. Here goes.

    I agree with Mukasey and McCarthy that Flynn lied to two guys named Strzok and Pientka.

    Does that mean Flynn's guilty plea should be accepted?


    The indictment represents that Strzok and Pientka were acting in the course of official FBI business when they approached Flynn.

    In fact, that is a serious misrepresentation.

    McCabe's instructions to the agents before the interview and his remarks to the House after the interview, re the initially truthful impression Flynn made, show that the interview was a pretext for a perjury trap. McCabe told the House that the truthful impression Flynn made "wasn't a great start for a false statement investigation." Combined with the interview instructions that is strong evidence that the entire interview was conceived of as a "false statement investigation", a perjury trap pure and simple. Strzok and Pientka approached Flynn for no other reason than to elicit false statements.

    But--setting perjury traps is not official FBI business, and the FBI has no authority to set perjury traps--they only have authority to investigate false statements if those false statements arise from justified official business. That means that Strzok and Pientka were not legitimately acting in an official capacity--they were present only under color of official authority, but had no actual justification for questioning Flynn. Therefore, reprehensible as Flynn's lies may have been, Flynn did not lie to them as FBI agents on official business, but to two FBI agents who were misrepresenting themselves as acting under official authority.

    Flynn plead guilty to a misrepresentation. The court cannot allow the misrepresentation to stand and must dismiss the case--no matter what the judge may think of Flynn's lying behavior.

    In extenuation for Flynn's guilty plea, his counsel almost certainly accepted the FBI and Mueller's misrepresentation in good faith as truthful, and so the guilty plea was in good faith. The indictment was not--Mueller, as an experienced prosecutor and former FBI Director would have been cognizant of all these distinctions and was committing a fraud on the court.

    The conflicting testimony of Yates and McCord strengthens the impression that these DoJ lawyers also realized that the interview was an illegitimate perjury trap with no other official purpose; their after the fact attempts at justification were simply attempts to protect the Mueller prosecution.

  14. Flynn, in his former role as Director of the DIA, possessed firsthand knowledge of the NSA methodology for collecting EC, which is highly classified information. As such, Flynn had (and has) an immutable obligation to protect the secrecy of that methodology. Strzok, in conducting the interview with him on Jan. 24, 2017, inadvertently breached that secrecy by divulging intercept dialog from the telephone call with Ambassador Kisylak in a non-secure setting, which Flynn properly interpreted to be a serious violation of national security protocols. Flynn's deception in responding to that circumstance was an impromptu remedy rendered necessary by Strzok's callousness. This whole fiasco is fundamentally about protecting that NSA methodology from further scrutiny and revelation. What happened to Flynn is wrong on many levels, not least of which is that he was actually trying to protect national security at great risk to himself. Once a soldier, always a soldier.

  15. Unknown, I'm not sure about this, but it's strange that McCabe himself records that Flynn remarked to him that the FBI had the conversations. So why would he lie about the content a couple of hours later? That's the part that doesn't make sense. And yet he pleaded guilty.

  16. Mr. Wauck,

    Thanks again for your insightful commentary/reporting/analysis. Regarding Chancey and your discussion of Andy McCarthy, I also want to weigh in. I greatly respect Mr. McCarthy and it's to his credit that he was loyal to his former friends. I believe that he stated he is a godfather to one of the men's sons or maybe his son's godfather is one of the men among this group, Comey, Fitzgerald, Richman, etc. As he has candidly written, this has been very painful for him. It's also to his credit that he seems to be realizing that his friends may not be the honorable men that he believed them to be.

    Please know that I am not criticizing you or Yancey. I'm just trying to point out that Andy McCarthy appears to be a very good and decent man.

  17. It Appears Strzok Was Kept on Special Counsel to Replace ‘Missing’ January Flynn 302 Report

    Lisa Page leaves Special Counsel staff = July 15, 2017

    Peter Strzok interviewed about Flynn interview = July 19, 2017

    Strzok removed from Special Counsel's staff = "late July" 2017

    Strzok left the SC staff about two weeks after Page.

  18. I speculate that the FISA investigation of Michael Flynn included his relationship with the RT America television-broadcasting company. On January 6, 2017 -- in the last two weeks of the Obama Administration -- our so-called "Intelligence" Community issued an assessment titled Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions
    in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

    This silly report comprised thirteen pages of text, of which seven pages were about RT America. Evidently, RT America was a major part of our "Intelligence" Community's investigation of Russian meddling in our 2016 election.

    On December 10, 2015, Flynn attended a dinner in honor of RT America that took place in Moscow. Also attending this dinner was Jill Stein, the leader of the USA's Green Party.

    The seven pages of the thirteen-page intelligence assessment of Russian meddling in the US election explained that RT America worked to undermine American voters' faith in Democracy. By doing so, RT America worked to the disadvantage of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

    From that perspective, it must have seemed very suspicious to our "Intelligence" Community that the Moscow dinner was attended by Flynn and Stein. After all, in the election Flynn campaigned for Donald Trump, and Stein campaigned against Clinton.

    Perhaps one purpose of the FISA investigation against Flynn (was there a FISA investigation against Stein too?) was to concoct evidence that the Kremlin was communicating with and funding Flynn somehow through RT America.


    I speculate further that the FISA investigation against Flynn also strove to link him sexually with his Russian interpreter, Svetlana Lokhova.

    This part of the investigation was supported by Stefan Halper, an informer for the CIA. Halper reported that Flynn and Lokhova seemed to be having an affair, and perhaps Halper took still unknown actions to entrap Flynn and Lokhova in a compromising situation.

    Perhaps Flynn and Lokhova actually were having an affair, and therefore Robert "The FBI Whitewasher" Mueller was able to threaten to expose the affair in order to compel Flynn to plead guilty to lying to the FBI.

  19. Joe, thanks for your input, and I do understand. I do understand where you're coming from, and McCarthy as well. He has been forthcoming in admitting his misjudgment, as I said yesterday. There's a lot that could be said about loyalty and other virtues, but I suppose it's better left there.

  20. "but it's strange that McCabe himself records that Flynn remarked to him that the FBI had the conversations. So why would he lie about the content a couple of hours later? That's the part that doesn't make sense. And yet he pleaded guilty."

    It makes sense if Flynn decided to take the offered plea to escape worse troubles on the FARA issues. This is exactly where I criticized the McCarthy essay. Remember, Flynn is pleading is based Strzok's characterization of Flynn's answers- a characterization offered six months after the fact.

    Suppose you are given a choice- take a no prison sentence plea for lying to an FBI agent, or risk financial ruin and prison time for yourself and your son on different charges. You might well believe that you didn't lie, but the prosecution is showing you and the judge the hearsay evidence from an FBI agent that you did lie. In that circumstance, do you decline the plea because you believe that doing so is perpetrating fraud on the court- i.e. another lie? I would argue that it isn't fraud on the court from Flynn's perspective even if he thinks he didn't lie the first time- it is the prosecution that is providing the hearsay evidence that supports the plea, after all. The best that one can argue from Flynn's plea is that he chose not to disagree with Strzok's characterization of Flynn's statements in January of 2017.

    This basically explains everything that is odd about this case, especially the missing interview notes, the missing original 302 prepared by both Strzok and Pientka, McCabe's testimony to Congress, and why Flynn wasn't charged with lying immediately following the interview- if Flynn lied, they would know instantly because they had the recording. Those missing notes and the original 302 probably indicated that the attempt to catch Flynn in a perjury trap actually failed, and it was only later that they tried to resurrect the case by creating a new 302 based on an interview with Strzok 6 months later.

    Does anyone really believe that the notes taken at the January 2017 meeting and the subsequent 302 went missing by accident?

  21. Yancey, I'll take your last point first because it's the easiest: No, I certainly don't believe that the 302 and notes went missing by accident.

    As for the rest, this is the general view. And it mostly makes sense. After all, it's difficult to imagine his first set of lawyers could be so incompetent that they failed to realize that Flynn had an excellent shot at winning--except for the need to make some deal re the other legal problem that were hanging over his head. And some of them still ARE out there hanging. And yet ...

    Flynn's current lawyers clearly enraged Team Mueller by pointing out in their reply to the sentencing memorandum the fraudulent aspects of the prosecution's tactics. Why do that and jeopardize any deal to minimize trouble on those other legal problems?

    I'll say very frankly that I have difficulty making total sense of this.

  22. Yancey, I just read the "original" Strzok/Pientka 302:

    Here's a paragraph I asked to have added to an article that I expect to appear tomorrow morning:

    NOTE: Subsequent to the submission of this article I had the opportunity to read the now released "original" FD-302 that agents Strzok and Pientka wrote after their interview with Flynn. Bear in mind that this version probably was run past McCabe before it was finalized. My reading of this FD-302 is that nothing that was discussed was in fact material to any legitimate FBI concerns or duties. It simply is not the FBI's job to interview every national security or foreign policy official of the US government after they have a contact with a foreign official in order to test their memory or even their truthfulness. The FBI has access to electronic intercepts of all those conversations. If they have any counterintelligence concerns arising from such contacts they can open a counterintelligence investigation. It's clear that that did not happen in this case. The interview was simply an attempt to elicit statements from Flynn that could be interpreted as contradicting the official record, i.e., the recording of the conversations. In other words, it was a setup and, as such, the case should be dismissed because the agents weren't conducting legitimate FBI business.

  23. I have also read tonight's release. The 302 was filed 3 weeks after the interview. This is also disturbing, especially when you read Page and Strzok's texts on the day before it was officially filed. It appears that there were multiple drafts of the 302, and I would like to see the very first draft prepared by Strzok and Pientka on the day after the interview.

  24. Also disturbing, it seems clear from the heading on the 302 and from the txt messages that McCabe participated in revising the 302--even though he wasn't present at the interview. Dodgy at best.

  25. Well, it appears Sullivan wants to throw Flynn into prison and not let him go free, so I must retract all my reasoning about why Sullivan issued the various orders for the 302s and supporting material. Perhaps, ala The Untouchables, someone pointed out to Sullivan he was "in the dossier", too.

  26. Sara Carter is tweeting that sentencing has been postponed indefinitely with an update on March 13, 2019. Judge Sullivan has more questions about Special Counsel’s and FBI conduct.

    I repeat: none of this changes anything I wrote--the lack of justification for the interview, the tactics, the misconduct involving evidence and reporting. It all still stands.

    Sullivan is ticked off about Flynn's connection to Turkish lobbying--rightly so--but doesn't see this as a reason to let Team Mueller and the FBI off the hook. Rightly, if true.

  27. "Sullivan is ticked off about Flynn's connection to Turkish lobbying"

    Perhaps. One of the things that probably should bother a judge in this circumstance is that Flynn was allowed/encouraged to plead on a charge completely unrelated to Turkey and the FARA issues, and with a recommended lenient sentence. This isn't normal procedure for a prosecutor- you get the guy to plead to charges directly related to the broader investigation into the individual- in this case, the FARA issues. Really, the only reason a prosecutor would take a plea like Flynn gave is because the plea itself helped with the Russian narrative.

  28. I'll quote a paragraph from above. It explains what the judge was looking at in the sentencing docs. Apparently Flynn took the plea deal to avoid prosecution on his failure to report re his lobbying/agency activities (which are partly separate from FARA). I don't see those violations as akin to "treason," as the judge inquired, but I do see them as akin to idiocy and greed. The 302s we've seen certainly appear to show that Flynn cannot fairly be said to have "lied to the FBI." Unfortunately for Flynn, if that is true then the only conclusion is that he's now lying to the judge by offering a guilty plea to a "crime" he didn't commit. I continue to believe that the judge should dismiss the false statement case--but that would only make it harder on Flynn, in all likelihood, because then Mueller would prosecute him on the lobbying. Of course, Mueller is far from out of the woods on this. The judge, according to Sara Carter, intends to continue probing the conduct of Mueller and the FBI. Here's that paragraph:

    "Where was Flynn in all this? Flynn was in retirement, having in 2014 been "forced out of the DIA after clashing with superiors over his allegedly chaotic management style and vision for the agency." He and his son started up a consulting firm, in which Flynn displayed a rather promiscuous penchant for changing his views depending on his clients' requirements. He also displayed a cavalier attitude toward reporting requirements regarding his status as a foreign agent under FARA as well as DoD and DoS requirements for retired military officers. Clients included Russian and Turkish entities."

  29. Yancey, my most recent comment was written before I read yours. I would add that it remains criminal, IMO, to charge Flynn for a violation that he didn't commit. But, as I said, that doesn't help Flynn. Both sides have arguably committed crimes and now Sullivan is trying to sort it out and do some sort of justice without help from either side.