The Trump regime's massive Russian problem refuses to go away anytime soon, as it looks very much like Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn was making promises to Moscow well before the regime assumed power three weeks ago.
Weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, discussed American sanctions against Russia, as well as areas of possible cooperation, with that country’s ambassador to the United States, according to current and former American officials.
Throughout the discussions, the message Mr. Flynn conveyed to the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak — that the Obama administration was Moscow’s adversary and that relations with Russia would change under Mr. Trump — was unambiguous and highly inappropriate, the officials said.
The accounts of the conversations raise the prospect that Mr. Flynn violated a law against private citizens’ engaging in diplomacy, and directly contradict statements made by Trump advisers. They have said that Mr. Flynn spoke to Mr. Kislyak a few days after Christmas merely to arrange a phone call between President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mr. Trump after the inauguration.
But current and former American officials said that conversation — which took place the day before the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over accusations that it used cyberattacks to help sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — ranged far beyond the logistics of a post-inauguration phone call. And they said it was only one in a series of contacts between the two men that began before the election and also included talk of cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State, along with other issues.
The officials said that Mr. Flynn had never made explicit promises of sanctions relief, but that he had appeared to leave the impression it would be possible.
Mr. Flynn could not immediately be reached for comment about the converations, details of which were first reported by The Washington Post. Despite Mr. Flynn’s earlier denials, his spokesman told the Post that “while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Remember that Christmas phone call Flynn had with Russian ambassador Kislyak? That was a very pointed leak to the press last month that heavily implied that Flynn was cutting a deal, but the Trumpies walked away from it relatively unscathed. This leak tells us what Flynn said, and it's a doozy.
During the Christmas week conversation, he urged Mr. Kislyak to keep the Russian government from retaliating over the coming sanctions — it was an open secret in Washington that they were in the works — by telling him that whatever the Obama administration did could be undone, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified material.
And it gets worse, because now that means that the Trump regime was lying when they said they didn't know anything about Flynn's conversation.
Days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Vice President-elect Mike Pence also denied that Mr. Flynn had discussed sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. He said he had personally spoken to Mr. Flynn, who assured him that the conversation was an informal chat that began with Mr. Flynn extending Christmas wishes.
“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Mr. Pence said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”
Except we now know he did discuss just that.
Some officials regarded the conversation as a potential violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in disputes involving the American government, according to one current and one former American official familiar with the case.
Federal officials who have read the transcript of the call were surprised by Mr. Flynn’s comments, since he would have known that American eavesdroppers closely monitor such calls. They were even more surprised that Mr. Trump’s team publicly denied that the topics of conversation included sanctions.
The call is the latest example of how Mr. Trump’s advisers have come under scrutiny from American counterintelligence officials. The F.B.I. is also investigating Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.
The Trump regime lies because they know they can get away with it. So far they have, and completely. Will anyone care enough to call this what it is?
Flynn's a traitor, period. And our government is owned by the Russians. I would expect that Flynn will be let go for the crime of lying to Pence, not for being an obvious traitor. And that's only if the heat starts coming on Pence, which at this point is anyone's guess.
Odds are good that again, since Trump's base won't care, Trump won't care. We'll see.