"Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election”, Agalarovs, Campaign coordination with Russia, Clapper, Coats, Comey, cummings, erik prince, FARA, FBI, Flynn, Flynn Guility plea, Flynn pardon, Israel, Israeli settlements, Julian Assange, Kushner, Kushner backchannel Russia, Mar-a-Lago, Mueller, Mueller investigation, New York Times, Obama, Pence, Pompeo, Putin, Republican Platform, Roger Stone, Russia, Russia sanctions, Russian Ambassador, Russian Ambassador Kislyak, Russian sanctions, Sally Yates, Sessions, seychelles, Steele Dossier, Syria, Transition team, Trump, Trump campaign surrogate, Trump national security adviser, Trump Tower Meeting, Trump transition team, Turkey, Ukraine, UN Security Council, USA v Flynn, WikiLeaks
On Monday night, the New York Times published an article, based on what they say is a list of questions that Special Counsel Mueller wants to ask Trump: “What Mueller Wants to Ask Trump About Obstruction, and What It Means“, By Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt, April 30, 2018: https://nytimes.com/2018/04/30/us/politics/questions-mueller-wants-to-ask-trump-russia.html It reads like an exam prep check list. There is a first, Flynn, group of questions regarding Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Russian Ambassador Kislyak, a high ranking transition official (believed to be Jared Kushner), and acting Attorney General Sally Yates. There is a second, Comey, group of questions dealing with intel briefings, Steele dossier, Comey firing, Rogers-Pompeo and Coats, and Trump’s continued criticism of Comey and McCabe. There is a third group of Attorney General Jeff Sessions questions, including potentially firing Mueller: “What discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel, and what did you do when that consideration was reported in January 2018?” Then there is the fourth group of questions, which the New York Times describes as “Campaign Coordination with Russia“, and which includes such topics as the Trump Tower Meeting (June 9, 2016), Trump’s 2013 trip to Russia, Michael Cohen, Felix Sater and any others regarding Russian real estate during the campaign; discussions regarding meeting with Putin; changing Republican Platform-Ukraine policy; hacking; Manafort, Roger Stone, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks; proposed Kushner backchannel communication with Russia (regarding Syria); Seychelles meeting with Erik Prince, Ukraine peace proposal. One question in this group is: “During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationships did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?”
Part I – Flynn Questions: Below are listed the five questions which the NYT says Mueller wants to ask Trump, regarding Flynn. Each question is followed by related information, as a review to help place the questions in context. The New York Times article has short interpretations of the questions in their article, which may be read at the link: https://nytimes.com/2018/04/30/us/politics/questions-mueller-wants-to-ask-trump-russia.html
Mueller to Trump Question 1: “What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?” (according to the NYT, April 30, 2018)
Context: From US vs. Michael Flynn, Statement of Offense-Guilty Plea:
“2. FLYNN’s false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact on the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
False Statements Regarding FLYNN’s Request to the Russian Ambassador that Russia Refrain from Escalating the Situation in Response to U.S. Sanctions against Russia
3. On or about January 24, 2017, FLYNN agreed to be interviewed by agents from the FBI (“January 24 voluntary interview”). During the interview, FLYNN falsely stated that he did not ask Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (“Russian Ambassador”) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia. FLYNN also falsely stated that he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which the Russian Ambassador stated that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of FL YNN’s request. In truth and in fact, however, FLYNN then and there knew that the following had occurred:
a. On or about December 28, 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day. The executive order announced sanctions against Russia in response to that government’s actions intended to interfere with the 2016 presidential election (“U.S. Sanctions”).
b. On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN.
c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team (“PTT official”), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.
d. Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.
e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.
f. On or about December 30, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time.
g. On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FLYNN’s request.
h. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FLYNN’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia’s decision not to escalate the situation….”
Case 1:17-cr-00232-RC Document 4 Filed 12/01/17
See the entire Statement of Offense-Guilty Plea here (6 pages): https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/trump-campaign-surrogate-transition-team-member-national-security-advisor-flynn-statement-of-offense-guilty-plea-usa-v-michael-t-flynn/
Mueller to Trump Question 2: “What was your reaction to news reports on Jan. 12, 2017, and Feb. 8-9, 2017?” (according to the NYT, April 30, 2018)
Context: According to the New York Times, 4-30-18, this question has to do with a January Washington Post article by David Ignatius revealing Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak and questioning if this constituted an illegal attempt to undermine US foreign policy. And, a February article offering additional details. The New York Times reporters believe that this question means that Mueller wonders if Trump was afraid that Flynn had indeed broken a law and tried to protect him. We were unable to find related Washington Post articles from those dates, but found this: “The Washington Post: Michael Flynn’s star burns out“. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-flynns-star-burns-out/2017/02/14/64814e48-f302-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html
VOA reported that the transition official in question was believed to be Jared Kushner: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/flynn-pleaded-guilty-to-lying-to-fbi-about-conversations-with-the-russian-ambassador-at-the-behest-of-senior-trump-transition-officials/
Mueller to Trump Question 3: “What did you know about Sally Yates’s meetings about Mr. Flynn?” (according to the NYT, April 30, 2018)
Context as discussed here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/yates-warned-trump-administration-that-flynn-was-russia-blackmail-risk-18-days-before-flynn-fired/
May 8th Hearing links:
Shortly after the Trump inauguration in late January, then acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the Trump administration about Flynn, but he was not fired until February 13th, after media had made the story public. Obama had reportedly warned against Flynn shortly after the election in November. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/us/politics/michael-flynn-sally-yates-hearing.html https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/us/politics/obama-flynn-trump.html. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/us/politics/donald-trump-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn.html
US Congressman Elijah Cummings had already warned VP Pence about Flynn in November:
“Nov 18, 2016 Press Release Washington, D.C. (Nov, 18, 2016)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence requesting information about the apparent conflicts of interest of the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Transition team, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was reportedly offered the job of National Security Advisor: “…Lt. Gen. Flynn also was paid to travel to Moscow in December 2015 and join Vladimir Putin at the head table during a dinner honoring the Kremlin-backed media network RT. During the event, Lt. Gen. Flynn gave a speech that was highly critical of the United States, stating, “The United States can’t sit there and say, ‘Russia, you’re bad.’” Lt. Gen. Flynn has stated that he was paid by his speaker’s bureau, LAI, but he has not disclosed how much he made or what entity hired LAI. Lt. Gen. Flynn’s involvement in advising Mr. Trump on matters relating to Turkey or Russia—including attending classified briefings on those matters—could violate the Trump for America, Inc. Code of Ethical Conduct…” Read the entire letter here: https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/cummings-requests-documents-relating-to-michael-flynn-s-apparent-conflicts-of See too: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/trumps-1st-national-security-advisor-flynn-forgot-his-lobbying-supported-the-agenda-of-turkeys-president/
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper testified on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 8, 2017.
“Yates Says She Told White House Flynn Was Russia Blackmail Risk
May 08, 2017 11:25 PM VOA News
Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said Monday she warned the White House in the early days of President Donald Trump’s administration that his national security adviser, retired Army General Michael Flynn, could be blackmailed by Russia.
Yates told a Senate panel she alerted the White House more than two weeks before Trump fired Flynn for having lied about contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
She said she was concerned about repeated statements from Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials incorrectly stating that Flynn had not been in touch with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, when routine intercepts had shown the two men had spoken.
Interaction with VP Pence ”The vice president and others were entitled to know that the information that they were conveying to the American people wasn’t true,” Yates said. “The Russians also knew about what General Flynn had done, and the Russians also knew that General Flynn had misled the vice president.”
She added, “Every time that happened, it increased the compromise, and to state the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians.
“ Eighteen days after first learning of Yates’s concerns, Trump fired Flynn, saying he no longer had confidence in having him as a key White House adviser.
Fired by Obama Obama fired Flynn in 2014 because of his disruptive management style, and personally warned Trump against naming Flynn as national security adviser.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, confirming media reports of Obama’s warning to Trump, said it was no secret that Obama “wasn’t exactly a fan” of Flynn and questioned why Flynn was not stripped of his security clearance.
“Why did the Obama administration let Flynn go to Russia for a paid speaking engagement and receive a fee?” Spicer said. “There were steps that they could have taken that – if that was truly a concern.”
Paid Moscow visit
Flynn was paid more than $30,000 for a Moscow trip in 2015, where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Kremlin-sponsored RT (formerly Russia Today) television network.
James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, told the Senate committee that the Russian interference in the U.S. election exceeded Moscow’s “wildest expectations.” He said it was aimed to “demean Secretary Clinton and advantage Mr. Trump.”
Clapper was instrumental in the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia sought to boost Trump’s chances of winning the election by hacking into the computer of the campaign chief for Clinton.
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks subsequently released thousands of emails in the weeks before the election that showed embarrassing behind-the-scenes Democratic operations aimed at helping Clinton win her party’s presidential nomination. Clinton last week partly blamed her upset loss to Trump on the release of the emails before the November election.” (Emphasis our own.)Original with photos-video here: http://www.voanews.com/a/yates-says-she-told-white-house-flynn-was-russia-blackmail-risk/3844002.html
Mueller to Trump Question 4: “How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?” (according to the NYT, April 30, 2018)
Context: “Judiciary Committee Leaders Request Briefing, Documents on Flynn Resignation Feb 15 2017 Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today requested a Justice Department briefing and documents related to the circumstances leading up to the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
In a letter today to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey the senators are seeking details related to the content of General Flynn’s reported communications with Russian officials, the Justice Department’s response, and potential leaks of classified material…”
Read more here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/us-senate-judiciary-committee-leaders-bipartisan-request-briefing-documents-on-flynn-resignation/
“Waters on Flynn Resignation: ‘It’s Only the Tip of the Iceberg’
February 14, 2017 Press Release
Washington D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters issued the following statement in response to the resignation of General Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor:
“Michael Flynn’s resignation last night is just the tip of the iceberg for an Administration careening toward disaster. What is most concerning about the resignation is that it appears the Trump Administration was either unaware that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador, or that the President only removed Flynn after the Administration was caught in yet another lie. What we do know now is that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates did warn the Trump Administration that Flynn may have been compromised and may be susceptible to blackmail by Russian operatives.
“Michael Flynn’s resignation only adds to many unanswered questions about the Trump Administration’s connection to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. Why did the Trump Administration ignore Sally Yates’ warnings and appoint Flynn to the sensitive and vital position of National Security Advisor? Was Flynn acting on Trump’s orders when he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador? What is the extent of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s relationship with the Kremlin and the Ukraine? How much did Manafort and Flynn know about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the Russian cyberattacks? How much did President Trump himself know, and how much did his campaign staff and other associates know?
“It is because of these unanswered questions that I am pushing legislation, H.Con.Res. 15, demanding a thorough investigation of any collusion between President Trump, his associates, and the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
“I believe the answers to these critical questions could lead to revelations that would be grounds for impeachment.” (Emphasis our own.)https://waters.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/waters-flynn-resignation-it-s-only-tip-iceberg (Recall that impeachment isn’t necessarily removal, but rather formal charges: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States )
“NY Times says Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russian intelligence Posted:Wed, 15 Feb 2017 09:19:50 +0530 (Reuters) – Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing four current and former U.S. officials. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/INworldNews/~3/rYNMg9uzhOw/usa-trump-russia-idINKBN15U0BS
Mueller to Trump Question 5: “After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?“(according to the NYT, April 30, 2018)
NYTimes: “Trump’s Lawyer Raised Prospect of Pardons for Flynn and Manafort ” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/us/politics/trump-pardon-michael-flynn-paul-manafort-john-dowd.html
“The episode raises questions about whether the president’s lawyer was trying to influence Mr. Trump’s former advisers and their cooperation with the special counsel, ” reports the New York Times.