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Justice Department Reportedly Warned Trump On Flynn

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Justice Department Reportedly Warned Trump On Flynn

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Justice Warned Trump On Flynn

By Steve Holland and Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Justice Department warned the White House weeks ago that national security adviser Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail for contacts with Russian officials before President Donald Trump took power, a U.S. official said on Monday.

Trump is evaluating the situation surrounding Flynn and talking to Vice President Mike Pence about it, Trump’s spokesman said, in a pointed refusal to make a public show of support for his embattled aide.

The U.S. official confirmed a Washington Post report that Sally Yates, the then-acting U.S. attorney general, told the White House late last month that she believed Flynn had misled them about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

She said Flynn might have put himself into a compromising position, possibly leaving himself vulnerable to blackmail, the official said. Yates was later fired for opposing Trump’s temporary entry ban for people from seven mostly Muslim nations.

Flynn had told Pence he had not discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russian officials in the weeks before Trump took office on Jan. 20, prompting Pence to defend him in subsequent television interviews.

In recent days, Flynn has acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled.

Officials said Flynn apologized to Pence twice, including in person on Friday.

“The president is evaluating the situation. He is speaking to … Vice President Pence relative to the conversation the vice president had with General Flynn and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is, our national security,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, was an early supporter of Trump and shares his interest in shaking up the establishment in Washington. He has frequently raised eyebrows among Washington’s foreign policy establishment for trying to persuade Trump to warm up U.S. relations with Russia.

Top White House officials have been reviewing Flynn’s contacts with the Russians and whether he discussed the possibility of lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia once Trump took office.

That would potentially be in violation of a law banning private citizens from engaging in foreign policy, known as the Logan Act.

“He’s not out of the woods,” said a U.S. official who is familiar with the transcripts of intercepted communications between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, in late December.

This official said Flynn “did discuss sanctions.”

While Flynn did not make any promises about lifting them, he did indicate that sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama on Russia for its Ukraine incursion “would not necessarily carry over to an administration seeking to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia,” the official said.

An hour before Spicer read his statement, Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s closest aides, had told reporters that Flynn had the full confidence of the president.

It was notable, however, that Trump did not use the opportunity of a joint news conference with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to make a public show of support for Flynn.

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer told reporters he wanted an independent investigation of Flynn’s discussions with the Russians.

“His security clearance ought to be withdrawn until that independent investigation is completed. And if he has violated any law or ethical precept, he ought to be fired,” Schumer said.

Flynn was going about his business despite the cloud hanging over him, participating in national security meetings.

He was at Trump’s side at the president’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida on Saturday when word reached the presidential entourage that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile at the same time Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

While Trump left Flynn’s status pending, he appeared to close the door on another source of speculation, as to whether Priebus might be replaced.

Appearing briefly before reporters in the West Wing of the White House, Trump said Priebus was doing a “great job.”

(Additional reporting by John Walcott; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

IMAGE: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn delivers a statement at the White House, February 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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17 Comments

  1. I Am Helpy February 13, 2017

    So Trump either hired a traitor or ordered him to commit treason. We’re in week 3 of the puppet Russian Presidency and already this is happening.

    Way to go, conservatives. Great betrayal of the nation there.

    Reply
    1. I Am Helpy February 13, 2017

      Obama managed to go 8 years without selling out the country, or even a genuine scandal – Trump couldn’t even make it one month.

    2. Thoughtopsy February 14, 2017

      Yep that’s some pro work right there.
      Treason committed before Cheeto Jesus was even sworn in.

      I think Pence knew. This is potentially to limit damage to him for going on TV and saying “Flynn never talked about sanctions to the Russians.”

      In other news, I wonder what our crew of Deplorable Trolls is going to say about this?…. I bet they are feeling great about President Snowflake selling the country out…

      1. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

        If this envelops and destroys Pence as well, I swear I will never ask for another February Christmas present (February Christmas is a thing I just invented but nevertheless my offer is sincere).

        1. FireBaron February 14, 2017

          Let’s see how this works out.
          Pence has to resign.
          Teflon Donnie has to nominate a replacement.
          The replacement has to be approved by the House (they threw this bone to them, as opposed to the Senate, when the 25th Amendment was adopted).
          Ryan dithers and delays on the nomination hearings while secretly working out “Articles of Impeachment”, completely ignoring the appearance of a conflict of interest.
          Impeachment of President Trump.
          Trial of President Trump in the Senate (McConnell is promised the #2 spot to get him to push it through), followed by his conviction and removal from office.
          President Paul Ryan is inaugurated.
          Ryan names Scott Walker as his VP Nominee. As there is no electoral college to deal with, you can have a President and VP from the same state.
          McConnell suffers a coronary and Matt Bevin appoints a Democrat to the seat in spite. In Wisconsin, a Democrat is elected to fill Ryan’s seat
          Walker’s nomination sails through the House and he is sworn in.

          In the 2018 elections people realize that there are two idiots i charge and elect overwhelming Democratic Majorities in the House and Senate.
          Hey, a guy can dream, right?

      2. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

        Also, to answer your last question: they will pretend nothing happened, as they always do. It’s how the loathsome people who put party over country invariably act.

        1. Barbarajogren February 14, 2017

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    3. FireBaron February 14, 2017

      Helpy, why accuse Teflon Donnie of something that stinks of Bannon?

      1. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

        He’s the nominal President. Obviously it was one of his handlers.

  2. Nativegrammy February 14, 2017

    Flynn just resigned, clearly lying for a number of months about his cozy relationship with Putin and Russia and paving the smooth path for Russia to heavily influence Trump when he became President. Anyone who believes Trump was not informed of these contacts and the information exchanged with Flynn and the methods and actions the Russians took to insure their desire to have Trump elected over the weeks prior to the election and after is an blathering idiot. Simply taken, what Trump said time after time against all other factual evidence from the Intel Community of Russians involvement, influencing our election there too much going on here that stinks. Trump’s constant support and praise of Putin is obvious proof of not only the Russians and Putin having something on Trump to blackmail him with, it is just unbelievable that with Flynn’s involvement with the Russians along with Manafort currently being investigated along with his minions for their involvement with the Russians is a disaster of epic proportions! It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to believe that Trump and Bannon, DIDN’T know WHAT information was being exchanged between ALL THESE CHARACTERS surrounding Trump…Why did Trump constantly support and never equivocated from his support and praise for Putin and couldn’t even agree Putin has had so many killed or imprisoned in Russia….. WITH THE CONSTANT LYING from Trump on down to every member of this power mad group of idiots I believe NOTHING that comes from this wretched group. God Almighty how America is being embarrassed and shamed by everyone in this ridiculous group of charlatans, know-nothings and Amateur Hour fools on steroids.. Very dangerous for us ALL.

    Reply
    1. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

      I’m not saying there’s a pattern here, but I got to ask how many “Experts warned Trump of a problem, he ignored them, problem occurred and worse than even pessimists expected” stories do the GOP think the American public will stand for?

      1. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

        And, again – we’re not even ONE MONTH into his puppet regime.

        1. Nativegrammy February 14, 2017

          WHAT utterly sickens me is the silence from Republicans in the House and Senate and their dismal leadership, lack of integrity, morally bankrupt McConnell and Ryan!!! Just appalling. I hope this destroys Republicans chances in 2018 and forever more. It should be crystal clear by now the ONLY thing Republicans want desperately is POWER for POWER’S sake and to that end, to make real their desire to destroy all the important programs that have saved Americans and made the “golden years” tolerable over a span of 80 years from living in dire poverty and illness with the advent of Social Security, Medicare and now the ACA, as well as Republican disgusting ideology of PRIVATIZING any and all services where PROFIT SHOULD NOT be a means to an for the filthy rich looking for another way to fleece the American people. As long as they have their “Republican” joke of a president, God knows what will happen since the Tangerine Twitter’er in Chief will sign anything put in front of him while camera’s are clicking away!

          1. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

            “Party above Country” is just a nicer name for treason.

          2. I Am Helpy February 14, 2017

            ALSO – the Army is apparently now investigating possible payments from the Russians to Flynn. He’s a flag officer, and is covered by the UCMJ – which (thanks to Ronald Reagan) still has the death penalty for at least two of the possible charges involved here (it’s not likely, but I like to dream).

            And there’s nothing that any of Trump’s people can do unless the CAAF decides to let them after appeal.

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 14, 2017

    The ongoing revelations the state of decay of a system of the system of governance are mind-boggling, Many members of the GOP might be complicit as well due to their obsession with power and drawing lucrative salaries and all the extra perks that come with being a politician. Hiding the truth about Russian liasons works for both sides of the Atlantic, being hypocritical about Hillary’s emails and her private life while covering up Lord Trump’s dealings and affairs are a case in point of the extent of the decay of American government.

    In some of his letters written to the American Baha’i community around 1938, Shoghi Effendi, the then head of the Baha’i Community, had foreseen the state of affairs shaping up in America and the travails yet to come, as his grandfather, Abdu’l Baha, had knowledge of before Shoghi Effendi’s birth. Many American Baha’is from that time on, and other Baha’is across the globe have come to an awareness of the deplorable rot infecting the moral fiber of America—Trump being Exhibit A, the the GOP Exhibit B.

    If I may, let me give you some excerpts of some of Shoghi Effendi’s insights.

    “It is precisely by reason of the patent evils which, notwithstanding its other admittedly great characteristics and achievements, an excessive and binding materialism has unfortunately engendered within it that the Author of their Faith and the Center of His Covenant have singled it out to become the standard-bearer of the New World Order envisaged in their writings. It is by such means as this that Bahá’u’lláh can best demonstrate to a heedless generation His almighty power to raise up from the very midst of a people, immersed in a sea of materialism, a prey to one of the most virulent and long-standing forms of racial prejudice, and notorious for its political corruption, lawlessness and laxity in moral standards, men and women who, as time goes by, will increasingly exemplify those essential virtues of self-renunciation, of moral rectitude, of chastity, of indiscriminating fellowship, of holy discipline, and of spiritual insight that will fit them for the preponderating share they will have in calling into being that World Order and that World Civilization of which their country, no less than the entire human race, stands in desperate need….”
    (from pg 19 from “The Advent of Divine Justice, written to the American Baha’is on December 25, 1938).

    As you can see, one of the purposes of his observation was to inform the American Baha’is then, and Americans as a whole itself by extension, of the extent of damage already having taken place. And that he is expressing the hope that Baha’is here, and eventually their fellow American compatriots, will arise to counter the forces of moral laxity so evident in Donald, the GOP, so many ordinary American citizens today as was evident in the past. By us making a conscious effort to show more signs of the nobility within us, still hidden behind the dross of materialism and a centrist outlook, we will be able to influence others in the world to make corrections along the same lines in their respective regions. Thus helping to bring to fruition as foreseen by Jesus, Isaiah, Muhammad, Buddha, Black Elk, Luqman, and Others, the establishment of a “New Garden” for the planet.

    Reply
  4. FireBaron February 14, 2017

    They didn’t warn Teflon Donnie, they warned “the White House” which means that either Reince Priebus or Steve Bannon (or both) knew about this and did not pass the word up to their boss. Could this be why the two of them ended up on the NSC while Flynn and the SecDef were bypassed? Was it in anticipation of this “revelation”? Please let there be a Senate Hearing! Please let Bannon plead “executive privilege”!

    Reply

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