Let's Fix This Country

Flynn Opts for Deep Cover, Will Invoke the Fifth



Lawyers for President Trump's former National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, say that the "escalating public frenzy against him" and the appointment of a special counsel "have created a legally dangerous environment for him to cooperate with a Senate investigation", the Associated Press reported. He will therefore invoke the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination and will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents issued by the Senate Intelligence committee.

New layers of the Mike Flynn story had been peeled back in recent days. Since the end of last year it's been known that Flynn was paid $45,000 to join Russian President Vladimir Putin at a December 2015 dinner for the Kremlin's media arm, RT. It then came to light that his business, the Flynn Intel Group, was paid over $500,000 by a company owned by a Turkish-American businessman close to top Turkish officials, but not until this March when Flynn belatedly followed the law requiring him to register as a paid foreign agent.

That discovery reminded Susan Rice, President Obama's National Security Adviser (NSA), that 10 days before inauguration, her team had thought it proper to ask Trump's incoming team to agree to a plan for Kurdish forces retake Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria, because the assault would carry over into the new presidency. Flynn was Trump's NSA designee and he "didn’t hesitate" with his answer. He told Rice to "hold off", don't use the Kurds, even though they're the most effective fighters. Why "hold off"? The last thing Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to see are his arch-enemy Kurds empowered. Unknown to Rice and the Obama administration, Flynn was acting in Turkey's interest. The derailment of Obama's strategy "would delay the military operation for months".

The New York Times then exposed that the Trump administration knew weeks before the inauguration not only that Flynn was working for Turkey, but that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. That was revealed to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald McGahn. President Obama, who had fired Flynn from his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, had warned Trump about him. Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his NSA nevertheless, a post that gives access to the full complement of secrets known to America's intelligence agencies.

On January 12th, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius revealed that on December 28th Gen. Flynn had called the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. Reuters followed a day later to say there had been five phone calls between the two. Those calls occurred the day before President Obama was about to impose new sanctions on Russia and expel 35 of its diplomats in retaliation for Russia's tampering with the American elections. Both Vice President Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sean Spicer assured the public that Flynn had not discussed the sanctions with Kislyak. He was merely making arrangements for a phone call after the inauguration between Trump and Putin.

On February 10th, the Post broke the story that on January 26th, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had called McGahn, now White House counsel, to tell him that at least one of those phone calls had been intercepted, that Flynn and Kislyak had indeed discussed the sanctions, and Flynn's lie to the contrary made him susceptible to Russian blackmail.

Even so, the Trump White House kept Flynn on as national security adviser for 18 days after Yates' phone call, with full access to classified and secret intelligence, and then only fired him ostensibly because Flynn had lied to the vice president who, along with Spicer, passed the no sanctions discussed lie on to the public.

The Pentagon is investigating whether Flynn broke the law that prohibits the military accepting money from a foreign source after retiring from the service. A grand jury in Alexandria, Va., has subpoenaed the records of the Flynn Intel Group. And now comes confirmation of Sally Yate's concern for blackmail. CNN reports that Russian officials bragged during the campaign last year that they had "cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn" and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team. Conversation intercepts had indicated to U.S. intelligence officials that the Russians "regarded Flynn as an ally", said CNN. "The way the Russians were talking about him, this was a five-alarm fire from early on", a former Obama administration official told the channel.

To this newest revelation, the Trump White House responded, "We are confident that...there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russia…This matter is not going to distract the President or this administration from its work to bring back jobs and keep America safe".

Perhaps they already knew that Flynn would be taking cover behind the Fifth. Keeping Flynn quiet must suit the White House just fine.

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