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Trump Knew For Weeks That Flynn Had Misled The White House

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Trump Knew For Weeks That Flynn Had Misled The White House

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Fox News Napolitano picked up British wiretap tale from Russia Today

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump knew for weeks that national security adviser Michael Flynn had misled the White House about his contacts with Russia but did not immediately force him out, an administration spokesman said on Tuesday.

Trump was informed in late January that Flynn had not told Vice President Mike Pence the whole truth about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Flynn quit on Monday after Trump asked for his resignation, Spicer said. “The issue pure and simple came down to a matter of trust,” Spicer told reporters.

The departure was another disruption for an administration already repeatedly distracted by miscues and internal dramas since the Republican businessman assumed the presidency on Jan. 20.

U.S. lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, called for a deeper inquiry into not just Flynn’s actions but broader White House ties to Russia. Trump has long said that he would like improved relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said Trump only moved against Flynn because of media attention to the issue, and not because of concern at any wrongdoing by the former lieutenant general.

“The reason they lost faith or trust in General Flynn only last night when they knew for weeks that he had been lying was that it became public,” Schiff told MSNBC.

A timeline of events outlined by Spicer and a U.S. official showed that Trump had known for weeks about Flynn misleading the vice president.

Trump, a former reality TV star whose catchphrase was “You’re fired!,” has often boasted of his eagerness to get rid of subordinates. But he was not quick to fire Flynn, a strong advocate of a better relations with Russia and a hard line against Islamist militants.

The Justice Department warned the White House in late January that Flynn had misled Pence by denying to him that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, a potentially illegal act, a U.S. official said.

Flynn did talk about sanctions with the diplomat, whose calls were recorded by U.S. intelligence officials, the official said. But Pence went on television in mid-January and denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions.

Spicer stressed that the administration believed there was no legal problem with Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, but rather an issue over the president’s trust in his adviser.

He said the Justice Department sought to notify the White House counsel on Jan. 26. about the discrepancies in Flynn’s accounts.

“The White House counsel informed the president immediately. The president asked them to commit a review of whether there was a legal situation there. That was immediately determined there wasn’t. That was what the president believed at the time from what he had been told and he was proved to be correct,” Spicer told reporters.

“We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue,” he said.

Flynn’s conversations with the ambassador took place around the time that then-President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia, charging that Moscow had used cyber attacks to try to influence the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

A U.S. official familiar with the transcripts of the calls with the ambassador said Flynn indicated that if Russia did not retaliate in kind for Obama’s Dec. 29 order expelling 35 Russian suspected spies and sanctioning Russian spy agencies, that could smooth the way toward a broader discussion of improving U.S.-Russian relations once Trump took power.

LEGAL FALLOUT?

Flynn’s discussions with the Russian diplomat could potentially have been in violation of a law known as the Logan Act, banning private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments about disputes or controversies with the United States. However, nobody has been prosecuted in modern times under the law, which dates from 1799.

Although Flynn is almost certain not to be prosecuted under the Logan Act, he could still face legal trouble if it emerges that he violated other federal laws in his communications with the Russians, said Andrew Kent, a professor at Fordham University School of Law in New York. The Espionage Act, for example, criminalizes sharing information with foreign governments

Democrats, who do not have control of Congress, clamored for probes into Flynn, and asked how much Trump knew about his connections to Russia.

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called for an investigation of potential criminal violations surrounding the resignation of Flynn and said senior Trump administration officials should face tough questions.

“What I am calling for is an independent investigation with executive authority to pursue potential criminal actions,” Schumer told reporters, saying such a probe could not be led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions or White House lawyers.

Two leading Republicans in the Senate, Bob Corker and John Cornyn, said the intelligence committee should investigate Flynn’s contacts with Russia.

But the highest-ranking Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, sidestepped questions about whether lawmakers should look into Flynn’s Russia ties, adding that he would leave it to the Trump administration to explain the circumstances behind Flynn’s departure.

A broader investigation of the White House and its ties to Russia is not possible without the cooperation either of the Justice Department or the Republican-led Congress.

“Nothing is going to happen without some Republicans moving,” Professor Kent said.

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria and Republican congressional opposition to removing sanctions on Russia make any White House attempt to embrace Putin problematic.

Senator John McCain, a leading Republican voice on foreign relations, said Flynn’s resignation raised questions about the administration’s intentions toward Putin’s Russia.

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, John Walcott, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry)

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30 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 14, 2017

    Flynn has disgraced himself bigly, and should be grilled until he sweats borscht. In the meantime, Congress would do well to have some stem-cell treatment applied to grow a spine and go after Trump; any check on Russian-US criminal activity must start with Trump first and foremost. Making Flynn the lone scapegoat would be construed by nations across the globe as a clear sign of the US Government losing its already tenuous grip on morality, and the presence of both Trump and Steve Bannon, the dynamic duo from the Netherworld, brings the GOP to the brink of a total dissolution of conscience as a body.
    This recent sordid episode in the devolution of the GOP—one in a long series stretching back to Nixon—only makes clearer the steady decline of morality in Congress and in the Judicial Branch. The Executive Branch lost any semblance of humanity and nobility with the most recent Election, so the question of whether a conscience is present in the Oval office is moot.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 February 14, 2017

      Here’s a Muslim perspective on Flynn’s motive for contacting the Russians and then lying about it.

      See this from MPOWER CHANGE – a Muslim Grassroots Movement;

      We’re glad that Michael Flynn is no longer in the administration. His anti-Muslim views—he sits on the board of the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group and has likened Islam to “a malignant cancer” – come from the most extreme fringes of the Islamophobia industry, and it’s clear that he planned to pursue his role based on this radical ideology. In fact, it’s likely that this deep-seated anti-Muslim hatred is what led him to collude with Russia on sanctions—and then lie about it.

      On its face, the news of a high-ranking official lying about his collusion with Russia on sanctions is troubling. But what’s really concerning is the underlying reason why: according to Flynn himself, he sought to build an alliance with Russia because he wanted to fight a new “world war,” stating that “the common enemy that we have is radical Islam.

      We know that the rhetoric around “radical Islam”—like the other racist dog-whistles used by this administration—is just a cover for attacking Muslims and Islam more broadly. The extreme anti-Muslim views adopted by Flynn come straight out of the playbook of notorious figures like Pamela Gellar and Frank Gaffney.

      And sadly, Michael Flynn isn’t the only Trump adviser who’s been captured by this toxic ideology. Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Mike Pompeo—and Trump himself—all appear to be devotees of Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim hate.

      For Flynn, his Gaffney-inspired anti-Muslim hate—and the pursuit of this fever-dream of a civilizational clash with Islam—may have led him to this public
      betrayal that ended his decades-long career. For others in the administration, it could be what led them to push forward the disastrous and failing Muslim ban—and God only knows what other dangerous policies they still have in store.

      Reply
  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 14, 2017

    Now that we know Trump’s deception was even more elaborate, as many of us already suspected, Congress must have its collective feet exposed to the fire to get them to start serious investigation of Trump w/o the usual Wrestling Match pitting one political ideology against another.
    For too long has the country become a slave to a partisan politics which is completely decadent and on life-support, and Trump in a peculiar way is a Godsend to make all of us to seriously look into dismantling the current form of governance—a system which clearly is no longer able to effectively and with integrity administer the affairs of the nation, internally and externally. Russia, China, Iran, European nations, among other countries around the world must reflect on their current disarray and lack of moral restraints as well, hold some kind of world convocation, perhaps under the aegis of The Universal House of Justice, and begin a gradual turn about to something that transcends the current zero-sum methodology of international relationships.
    Every Age presents a new set of problems with increasing complexities, rendering older systems which functioned well(to a degree) in the past wholly inadequate for the exigencies of today, much less those of the future. Otherwise, the downward trend will lead to a global catastrophe, leaving a world dominated by arthropods and awaiting the next Race of Humans to emerge, most likely from the midmost heart of the Ocean as was the case millions of years ago.
    More female input—not those already tainted and corrupted like their male counterparts by nationalist/conservative dross— within local and national communities will be a welcome relief and will better steer us away from producing future Trumps, Putins, Assads, etc.

    Trump, the GOP, and other nutcases in other parts of the world are now at the helm, driving the ship of humanity towards an abyss from which it may never be able to climb out of.

    Again, just my personal opinion.

    Reply
  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 14, 2017

    “Spicey”, the current Knave-in-Chief, is already geared up to put a unique spin on this mess. By citing the events as a “matter of trust, and not a legal matter”, Spicer hopes to use the old badger trick of distracting attention away from Donald, the “usual suspect” who should be rounded up when things go amiss in the US.

    Reply
    1. Amberlbeland February 15, 2017

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      Reply
    2. Jinmichigan February 15, 2017

      Spicer’s days are numbered too.

      Reply
  4. I Am Helpy February 15, 2017

    Republicans see the writing on the wall and want to get Trump impeached and replaced by Pence (the plan all along) before it comes out that Pence knew too. You’ll see lots of selective leaks that claim Pence was somehow unaware over the next few days; this will be, of course, the usual conservative pack of lies.

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly February 15, 2017

      Did Pence know or did Trump keep him in the dark?

      I’m not at all sure which way I want the answer to fall.

      You also noticed that the story has, once again, changed, now Trump fired Flynn. After waiting 3(?) weeks. And having decided that only a “girly man” would allow Flynn to resign after misleading the VP.

      I have no idea how this will eventually play out. I don’t know what is truth and what is spin. But what is unmistakable is the incompetence and incoherence of the Administration

      I’m still telling you Helpy, there are 25th Amendment remedies out there. We don’t have to get to impeachment.

      Reply
      1. I of John February 15, 2017

        It would probably not be much of a stretch to get Trump benched for being a few cards shy of a full one. I can not see how the GOP covers it’s collective ass with the frothing Trumpians though.

        Reply
        1. dbtheonly February 15, 2017

          I’m guessing the political fallout is the only thing that’s held it off this far.

          Once the Cabinet transmits that letter; it’s over. The Constitution doesn’t leave any room for challenge.

          Reply
  5. FT66 February 15, 2017

    Trump not only knew that Flynn lied, he also supported the reaction of Russians after Pres. Obama kicked them out of the country. There is a tweet Trump sent out praising Russia of not reacting as everyone of us expected.This goes to show Trump was aware of what Flynn said to the Russians.

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker February 15, 2017

      In the corporate world Trump relishes, that’s known as “damage control.” Of course Trump knew. He wants us to believe it is all a “new revelation to him.” BS. Trump and the Republicans knew in October the Russians were hacking data from the DNC. The proof of this is the double teaming Ryan and McConnell are doing this morning on Morning Joe refusing to disclose Trump’s tax returns. You know why.That disclosure would be the straw that broke the Republicans backs.

      Reply
  6. bobnstuff February 15, 2017

    I sure hope Flynn got a good deal from Trump for falling on his sword for him. Anyone who believes the Flynn took it on himself to talk with Russia is not seeing things clearly. Trump didn’t even see the problem with working with the Russians. After all they were going to be one of his strongest allies. Trump most likely know about the call before it was even made. As far as the V.P. goes he most likely was lied to and is being kept out of the loop on this and a lot of other things Trump is up to. Face it Pence wasn’t Trump choice. He was the best the party could come up with. He is probably lucky that he’s not in Trumps inner circle. That way he can be president once they get rid of Trump. Congress isn’t in a hurry to get rid of Trump. They can wait a little longer. They will use him as long as they can to do their dirty work and when the country finally screams they can dump him and blame everything on him. Trump is so out of his league it’s not funny.

    Reply
    1. ivory69690@yahoo.com February 15, 2017

      its a wait for it moment Flynn will end up dead from Russia’s to the DONNY DUMP DUMPSTER how too book

      Reply
  7. ivory69690@yahoo.com February 15, 2017

    and ye ive posted this again >> Flynn’s departure !!! its said that some in office want to bring back water boarding . well I feel the country should have that . but for the ones in office . water board them and get what is needed to be known for the sake of the country’s safety from the very clowns in office that are the ones than can and will and have brought the most harm to the country and us people . help save the country and the people and water board the ones in office for harming info to the country// here’s the kind of work the GOP gang of pinheads dose and enjoys doing . is getting the gun laws to allow mentally ill people be able to have guns . think of it the whole GOP party being able to have guns . could be a good thing thy all can go to work and end up shooting each other . Flynn should be jailed with the DUMPSTER but more then likely DONNY DUMP would pardon Flynn to keep him quiet . but in time the news would say Flynn had killed himself and left a note . only to find out the note was in DONNY DUMPS hand writing and Flynn was murdered . and the DUMPSTER had PUTTHEAD mail him a how to do it book . think about it what did Flynn himself have to gain by doing all this for himself ? I see it that all the immigration bull was the DUMPSTERS smoke screen to cover up all of Flynn’s doing .///// and today one has to ask OK who can we get that we can trust to do any investigation’s the GOP gang of pinheads ? no thy are too busy getting guns in the mentally ill hands . how about the FBI ? yes COMA COMEY can be trusted right ? NOT ! he is another one for PUTTHEADS how to do it book . seems that the DONNY DUMP house is a cancer that is spreading through out the country and the world . if one looks at it all it seems like a playbook from Vince McMahon WWE . with all the drama and bull .and while not being as busy as thy can be the GOP gang of pinheads are blocking the very way the people can see the DONNY DUMP’S taxes . there is a way but thy are blocking it . thy set back and say (DITCH MCCONNELL ) the people have spoken and this is what the people want . because the DUMPSTER is in the house . hey DITCH MCCONNELL the people did speak and about 3 million more of us voted against the DUMPSTER . every thing the GOP gang of pinheads do is to stop and block any and every thing the people really want . thy don’t bring things up on the floor (because thy are in charge ) that’s not a democracy .and there should be laws that make things be able to come up on the floor . with just one side doing only what’s good their side isn’t a democratic way . that way it just lets one side do as thy want . about 3MILLOIN more of the people voted against DONNY DUMP and for Hillary

    Reply
  8. elw February 15, 2017

    Spicer told reporters.
    “We got to a point not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue,” he said. So in other words, it was ok that he broke the law, but not ok to lie to them????????? Rather twisted thinking by my standards.

    Reply
    1. BOC February 15, 2017

      Consider the source. Kelly Conway is also a sweetheart.

      Reply
      1. elw February 15, 2017

        I think her more of a heartburn.

        Reply
        1. BOC February 17, 2017

          For whom, Trump?

          Reply
  9. elw February 15, 2017

    What a come down for our Nation! To go from the cleanest Administration in recent history to the dirtiest is a sad very large step backward.

    Reply
    1. BOC February 15, 2017

      “the cleanest Administration?”
      LOL!!!!

      Reply
      1. elw February 15, 2017

        Yep, Cleanest. Less ethical problems in eight years than Trump has had in less than a month and far less problems than GW had. Trump is well on his way to being impeached.

        Reply
  10. BOC February 15, 2017

    Trump instructed Flynn on all Russian communications. He briefed Flynn all the way; it was constant ‘give and take’.

    Reply
  11. Leroy Mosley February 15, 2017

    Trump is dirty so are the Republicans and you can’t see that . It’s not always about making a profit.

    Reply
    1. iamproteus February 15, 2017

      Try telling trump that!

      Reply
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