Posted tagged ‘General Flynn and Russia’

House Conservatives Back Investigation to Get ‘Full Understanding’ of Flynn Call

February 15, 2017

House Conservatives Back Investigation to Get ‘Full Understanding’ of Flynn Call, PJ MediaNicholas Ballasy, February 14, 2017

(Please see also Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn. — DM)

congressonflynnReps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), left, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) leave a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Feb. 24, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON – Members of the House Freedom Caucus signaled today that they would support an investigation of retired Gen. Mike Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials.

Flynn resigned from his position as national security advisor in the Trump administration late Monday.

“We have to be careful because of commenting without the facts, but at the same time I don’t know how you get the facts without doing some investigation, so let me say that. I think there needs to be a full accounting so we understand what happened there,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said on Capitol Hill. “But I would also say from my standpoint that Gen. Flynn’s service both in uniform and out and is beyond reproach and I don’t want to question that. I’m not going to question that at all. I think maybe his actions were premature based on what I’ve heard.”

The White House has acknowledged reports that Flynn and the Russian ambassador had conversations that included discussion of sanctions before Trump took office, and that the Justice Department alerted the White House of the conversations and the potential that Flynn could be blackmailed by the Kremlin. However, Perry said Congress does not know the context of those Flynn conversations.

“I’m concerned that the heat has become hot based on the accusations without any facts to support them, but I think we do need to have a full understanding of what occurred,” he said.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) agreed with Perry’s comments.

“I would support an investigation if it’s warranted based on information from the intelligence community, and the first step would be for the intelligence committees to have that understanding with the intelligence community,” Amash said. “The rest of us in Congress wouldn’t have immediate access to the same information, so really it’s incumbent upon the intelligence community and the intelligence committees to work together so we know whether an investigation is warranted.”

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) questioned why the U.S. having a “good relationship” with Russia is being portrayed in the media as a “bad thing.”

“We need to be careful what we are saying because we don’t have all the facts, but I do think it’s incumbent upon the intelligence committees to determine what the facts are and see if there has to be further investigation,” he said. “I do find it a little bit fascinating that having a good relationship with Russia all of a sudden is a bad thing when you guys never said a peep about it when the president of the United States said that he would have more flexibility when he won re-election, when Hillary Clinton said she wanted a reset with Russia, when all these different things happened where they were trying to have better relationships with Russia.”

Labrador said the intelligence committees in the House and Senate need to examine the Flynn situation to find out exactly what happened.

“All of a sudden, having a good relationship with Russia apparently is a negative thing. But there’s no question about it in my mind that the intelligence committees need to look first, obviously in confidential meetings and others, but they need to figure out exactly what happened,” he said.

“And I think Gen. Flynn, he offered his resignation, did the right thing because the moment he misled the vice president of the United States, I think he had lost the confidence of the administration whether it was intentional of not, it was a significant enough issue where it should have been a straightforward answer,” he added.

Flynn said in his resignation that he “inadvertently briefed the vice president elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said at a press conference today that the obvious question about Flynn’s contact with Russian officials is, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” Cummings called for an “emergency” public hearing with Flynn.

“I know he’s now resigned, but he’s not going to get off that easy. We need some answers to a whole lot of questions, but the obvious questions are what did the president know and when did he know it? Was the president aware of Flynn’s efforts? Did he support them?” he said. “Another question, why did Flynn continue to sit in on the most sensitive classified meetings until just two days ago? Ladies and gentlemen, something is wrong with that picture.”

Cummings also said he wants to see Flynn’s security clearance documents.

“I want to see them. I want to see what he put in those documents to find out if he was honest on those forms, and we need to know how much he got paid to have dinner with Putin – but that is only the beginning,” he said. “The Republicans need to join us. This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. It’s not an independent issue. This is an American issue for the soul of our democracy.”

In Russia, hunkering down over Flynn affair

February 14, 2017

In Russia, hunkering down over Flynn affair, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, February 14, 2017

(Russia has become disenchanted with Iran and wants to have better ties with America, particularly in fighting terrorism. Please see, Pro-Kremlin Pravda.ru: ‘ Iran Is Becoming A Major Problem, First And Foremost For Russia’s Interests’. What’s wrong with having strong ties with Russia in areas where our interests coincide?– DM)

The political backbiting behind the sudden ouster of retired general Michael T. Flynn from the National Security Council is worth watching.

So is the reaction from Russia.  Kicking Flynn out as a security risk – complete with unsubstantiated claims of his supposed vulnerability to Russian blackmail – seems to be a calculated move to trash President Trump’s effort to improve relations with Russia to fight terrorists.  It has a look of the Cold War status quo reasserting itself.

For Russia, which is tired of constant conflict with the West, it’s a huge disappointment.  The initial response has been to lash out.  Back in Moscow, one Russian politician was not pleased:

“The resignation of Michael Flynn was probably the speediest for a national security advisor in all history. But the target is not Flynn, but rather relations with Russia,” Senator Aleksey Pushkov tweeted.

Russians like that, with domestic constituencies, have no reason not to tell it like it is.  Higher up, the response from the Kremlin has been to hunker down into a defensive crouch.  State-owned RT News reports that rather than swing back as the Russian politician did, Russia at the federal state level is suddenly going quiet.  The hilariously peppery, out-there Twitter site of Russia’s London embassy has flatlined, with only a couple of sarcastic recent tweets about Russian hackers – nothing about Flynn.  And up until now, they’ve commented about what they want to comment about, not just London-related doings.  According to RT News, Russia’s foreign ministry now says it considers the Flynn affair none of its business and plans to say nothing about it.

Foreign Policy reports the same strategic retreat. In its latest analysis, its writers, one of whom is Eastern European, pointed out that Trump and his interest in improving ties with Russia are immensely popular in Russia, with even the dissidents wild about Trump.  Such a broad sentiment means high hopes – and likely a lot of disappointment as the Washington status quo reasserts itself.  It also should give domestic political cover for the Putin government to swing back and defend the right of its ambassador to talk to Flynn.  Because if you can’t talk to the ambassador, whom can you talk to?  Yet the Kremlin is showing every sign of pulling back as it finds itself playing the unwanted role of the bogeyman in the Trump-CIA-Justice Department infighting.

A Russian media source I talked to inside Russia just now cautiously says she really, truly hopes the situation will be resolved amicably.  On background, of course, speaking only for herself.  That’s pretty funny behavior, as it shouldn’t be that hard to go on the record to express such a pablummy statement.

Meanwhile, a gander at the untranslated Russian pages of TASS, the state government news agency, which chiefly serves to keep the Kremlin informed, quite unlike RT, which seeks to influence the West, shows that the story – of this magnitude, with Russia at the center of the action – was last night covered from its New York, not its Washington, office.  It seems as though they didn’t want to risk or perhaps sacrifice their longtime correspondents in the capital by having them ask questions about the matter that involves their ambassador.  As Obama showed in his last weeks in office, anyone can be thrown out for “espionage” with no evidence to back it these days.  To make peace with the CIA, Trump’s hand could be forced.  And once again, they will be the bogeyman.

The whole thing is disturbing to me because it represents a wasted opportunity to forge better ties with Russia.  Should it really be “poison” for Russians and Americans to talk to each other and say what we think?  Why is it so taboo to talk freely with them?  Flynn was ousted for that, and now the Russians are exhibiting their old paranoid behaviors and avoiding talk, too, probably with good reason.

With that the case, it signals that Russia being held hostage by the establishment, and it knows it, and it’s all because the Beltway can’t quite get control of Trump.

 

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief

February 14, 2017

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief, DEBKAfile, February 14, 2016

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Michael Flynn’s abrupt resignation as National Security Adviser Monday night, Feb. 13, was a crippling blow to Donald Trump’s foreign policy strategy, less than a month after he entered the White House. Flynn was the architect and prime mover of the president’s plans for close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was brought down by misinforming Vice President Mike Pence – and very likely the president too – on the content of the conversation he held with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.

Although retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg takes over as acting NSA, the White House is urgently considering a permanent replacement to fill Flynn’s large shoes. Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ name has come up, but his indiscretions over state secrets still count against him. Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, is a strong contender, although more may emerge.

Even before picking his next national security adviser, Trump will need to determine how to proceed with his détente with Putin, the highly sensitive details of which were managed personally and confidentially by Mike Flynn as the centerpiece of the new administration’s foreign policy.

His contacts with Moscow were under heavy fire from the president’s friends and foes alike, both before and after the November election. It was defended stalwartly by Trump himself, Pence and Flynn. However, neither the president nor the vice president can tell exactly what Flynn promised the Russians and to what deals he committed them. Therefore, his successor will be required to start building Washington’s ties with Moscow from scratch.

While Flynn’s departure has caused havoc in the Trump administration, it is a catastrophe for the Middle East, because a core objective of the US-Russian partnership, which he shaped as a model for other regions, was to have been to clip Iran’s wings and cut down its standing down as premier Middle East power conferred by Barack Obama.

(How the Flynn mechanism was to work plus detailed analysis of the fallout from his departure will be covered exclusively in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out next Friday).

Flynn alone was privy to arrangements concluded with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, President Putin in Moscow, Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis in Cairo and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Some of his output began taking shape on the day he stepped down, when Syrian rebel groups led by Jordanian special operations officers attacked Syrian army positions in the southern town of Daraa. This was the start of an operation to drive Syrian government forces and their Iranian and Hizballah allies from the lands bordering on Jordan and Israel.

In Cairo, too, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon and his host, El-Sisi were hashing out a plan for the Egyptian army and Gulf forces to go into action against Hizballah in Syria and Lebanon.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to visit the White House for his first meeting with Trump as president. They too were scheduled to discuss US operations against Hizballah and the role Israel would play.

In the coming hours, Trump will have to decide whether to go ahead with these initiatives in the absence of Flynn and his detailed knowledge of how they should go forward, or simply put them on hold until his successor is in place and has time for a full study of their complicated ins and outs. At the same time, a different national security adviser in the White house might have different plans to those laid out by his predecessor.

CIA broke the law to take out its critic General Flynn

February 14, 2017

CIA broke the law to take out its critic General Flynn, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, February 14, 2017

Make no mistake, we have just witnessed an operation by members of the CIA to take out a high official of our own government.  An agency that is widely believed to have brought down democratically elected governments overseas is now practicing the same dark arts in domestic American politics.

Senator Chuck Schumer, of all people, laid out on January 2nd what was going to happen to the Trump administration if it dared take on the deep state – the permanent bureaucracy that has contempt for the will of the voters and feels entitled to run the government for its own benefit:

New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

“So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Or, as the old rueful saying has it, “You’ve got to go along to get along.”  Which means that we the people had better acknowledge that the bureaucrats have turned into our masters, and the old expression “public servant” is as ironic as anything Orwell came up with.  Schumer knows this and likes it, because the deep state wants a bigger more powerful government, just as he does.

Note that the law was broken by whoever leaked the transcripts to the media. Not only is the crime underlying the “scandal” being ignored, the criminals are being hailed. On Morning Joe’s first hour today, the host, a former congressman (i.e., a lawmaker) himself, called the leakers “heroes.”

This interference in domestic politics by the CIA should be regarded as a major threat to our democracy, but of course our Trump-hating domestic media are reveling in a major point scored against the new president.

David P. Goldman (aka, Spengler), writing on PJ Media, explains the level of hatred the CIA has for Flynn for daring to take on its spectacular failures:

gen-flynn

…the CIA has gone out of its way to sandbag Flynn at the National Security Council. As Politico reports: “On Friday, one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the NSC, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, was informed that the Central Intelligence Agency had rejected his request for an elite security clearance required for service on the NSC, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.” Townley held precisely the same security clearance at the Department of Defense for seventeen years, yet he was blackballed without explanation. At DoD, Townley had a stellar reputation as a Middle East and Africa expert, and the denial of his clearance is hard to explain except as bureaucratic backstabbing.

…Gen. Flynn is the hardest of hardliners with respect to Russia within the Trump camp. In his 2016 book Field of Fight (co-authored with PJ Media’s Michael Ledeen), Flynn warned of “an international alliance of evil movements and countries that is working to destroy us….The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.” The unsubstantiated allegation that he presides over a “leaky” National Security Council tilting towards Russia makes no sense. The only leaks of which we know are politically motivated reports coming from the intelligence community designed to disrupt the normal workings of a democratic government–something that raises grave constitutional issues.

Flynn is the one senior U.S. intelligence officer with the guts to blow the whistle on a series of catastrophic intelligence and operational failures. The available facts point to the conclusion that elements of the humiliated (and perhaps soon-to-be-unemployed) intelligence community is trying to exact vengeance against a principled and patriotic officer…. The present affair stinks like a dumpster full of dead rats.

Note that the suspicions eagerly being raised by the media center around Trump being a pawn of Putin and Flynn secretly pledging fealty or some such absurd subordination. In other words, suspicions of treasonous behavior by the new president are being cultivated in the general public. We can expect the media to fan these flames at every opportunity.

He also explains why the Logan Act references are insulting:

Senior officials speak to their counterparts in other countries all the time, and for obvious reasons do not want these conversations to become public. The intelligence community, though, was taping Flynn’s discussions, and the transcripts (of whose existence we are told but whose contents we have not seen) were used to embarrass him.

This last point is critical. The entire “scandal” is based on innuendo. Flynn tripped over his own feet by misinforming Vice President Pence on the nature of his call, and allowing the veep to issue a too-sweeping denial of any discussion. If Flynn had said in his conversation with the Russian Ambassador that we will discuss the sanctions after Trump takes office, he might well have told Pence that they did not discuss the sanctions. And the CIA leakers could have used the appearance of the word “sanctions” in their transcript to brand Pence a liar. We don’t know, and for some reason, nobody is gaining access to the actual transcripts so that we may see the content. Perhaps the Congressional investivartions to come will gain access. But Flynn is now gone and media memes have been firmly planted int he public mind.

The Flynn Affair is a huge scandal, all right. But the media are misdirecting our attention toward the lesser dimension while they studiously ignore the real threat to our democracy.