Michael Flynn was the vice chairman of the transition team for Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence was the president of the team. As ABC News reports, this week’s news of Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI is not conclusive, but in fact, opens more doors than it closes. Michael Flynn is the second criminal guilty plea arising from an administration that is not yet one year old.
Included in Michael Flynn’s Statement of Offense and plea deal are terms that outline specifics in Flynn’s cooperation deal. Michael Flynn has agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI, instead of possibly much higher charges, in exchange for helping Mueller with his investigation. His plea deal notes that he will be forfeiting all monies received that are proceeds of crime, that he will engage in undercover operations to help Mueller get information, and that he will also be required to undergo multiple federal polygraph examinations.
The question that everybody is asking now is who is Robert Mueller going after with Michael Flynn’s cooperation? There aren’t many in the Trump Administration ranked higher than Michael Flynn. Mike Pence and Donald Trump are the next ranks above Michael Flynn.
What did Mike Pence know and when did he know it? He worked very closely with Michael Flynn for a long time. Also, Mike Pence was appointed to the Trump transition team by Paul Manafort, who is now under house arrest and an indictment on the charge of conspiracy against the United States.
Mike Pence’s positions previously on matters related to the Trump scandals also have been under scrutiny since Donald Trump took office. He’s also made multiple demonstrably false claims about matters related to the Trump Russia scandal. The Flynn timeline is revelatory.
It was July, 2016, when Michael Flynn spoke at the Republican National Convention for Donald Trump. He led the crowd into a chant of “Lock her up” and said, “We do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law.” Also in the summer of 2016, Paul Manafort convinced Donald Trump into taking on Mike Pence as his running mate.
Mike Pence then became head of Donald Trump’s transition team, becoming immediately responsible for everything that happened with the transition after Donald Trump took enough electoral college votes to take the Oval Office. As the New York Times reported, the day that Paul Manafort was fired from the Trump team was a busy day for Paul Manafort and the political arena.
On the same day that Paul Manafort left Donald Trump’s campaign, the emails of the DNC were hacked. In the same week, Donald Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary with the now famous, “Russia, if you’re listening” plea at a campaign rally. We now know that Paul Manafort and Mike Pence continued to talk regularly after Manafort left the team.
We do not know why they continued to talk. We also do not know whether or not that practice continues while Manafort is under house arrest for conspiracy against the United States.
By November of 2016, Donald Trump becomes President-elect and Mike Pence becomes Vice President-elect. On the day that happened, Michael Flynn penned an Op-Ed in the Hill about “Our ally Turkey is in crisis.”
By November 16, Mike Pence as the head of the transition team would receive a letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about Jared Kushner.
“It has been reported publicly that President-elect Donald Trump took the unprecedented step of requesting that his son-in-law Jared Kushner accompany him to the highly classified president’s Daily Brief, despite the fact that Mr. Kushner holds no security clearance and has undergone no vetting for access to classified national security information.”
Congress member Rep. Ted Lieu has been asking daily on Twitter why Jared Kushner is in the White House, in a close orbit to the president of the united states, without security clearance.
Pence was asked to address the “widespread confusion” on how this was allowed to happen. He has not done so.
On November 18 of last year, Mike Pence as the head of the Presidential Transition Office would receive another letter from the House Oversight Committee, this time about Mike Flynn and his lobbying efforts in Turkey.
“I am writing to raise questions about the apparent conflicts of interest of the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Transition Team, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who reportedly has been selected by the President-elect to be his National Security Advisor. “
In that letter, Flynn’s conflicts with Turkey were addressed, as was the dinner in 2015 whereby Flynn sat directly beside Vladimir Putin at an event honoring Russian state television network RT. At that dinner, according to the letter written by the House Oversight Committee, the Vice President-elect of the United States was told Flynn gave a speech where he criticized the United States.
Mike Pence got him in the Trump cabinet anyway. Mike Pence in that letter was asked for a copy of Flynn’s signed “Code of Ethical Conduct” and any statements by Flynn about his financial interests and conflicts. Pence was also asked for “a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Transition Procedures signed by you as the designated Chair of the Team.”
Mike Pence was asked to give prompt attention to the matter. He did not.
By December 2016, Michael Flynn was on the phone multiple times with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Those calls are outlined in his statement of offense but also were leaked in the Washington Post in an opinion column on January 12, 2017. One particular call is noteworthy, as Flynn says in his statement of offense that he talked to other members of the transition team about those calls and that they were about Russia sanctions handed down by the Obama Administration.
“On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called Flynn and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to Flynn’s request. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition team about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia’s decision not to escalate the situation.”
As Flynn was the vice-chair of the transition team, the only members more senior than him would be Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
On January 22 of this year, Michael Flynn was sworn into the Trump inner circle. It would be two days later when he lied to the FBI about those conversations with a Russian ambassador. FBI agents typically tell their interviewees that lying to the FBI is a crime.
By January 26, acting Attorney General of the United States Sally Yates is warning the White House that she has reason to believe that Michael Flynn is compromised. As Attorney General, she would have been privy to the interviews conducted by the FBI with Michael Flynn.
We know now that Sally Yates attended an emergency meeting at the White House on January 26 to express her concerns. We also know that the Vice President was at the White House on that day as well, according to his Twitter timeline.
Mike Pence has since said he knew nothing about the Sally Yates meeting that day. That means, Mike Pence is telling the American people that the acting Attorney General was warning the White House about a Cabinet member compromised by Russia, who worked beside Pence in the transition, and Mike Pence claims he knew nothing about it.
On January 27, Donald Trump had dinner with FBI Director James Comey. This is what James Comey testified happened at that dinner, when Donald Trump told Comey the following.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go. I hope you can let this go.”
On January 30, Sally Yates was fired.
NBC News reports that in February 2017, Mike Pence was suggesting that he was kept in the dark about the whole thing. His press secretary Marc Lotter reportedly said that Mike Pence did not find out about the warning about Flynn until February 9. But this is demonstrably false because Mike Pence received a letter in November 2016 from the House Oversight Committee explicitly warning Pence about Flynn.
Flynn’s own statement of offense also reveals that he’s not revealing everything in this deal to the public at this time.
“It [this statement] does not include all of the facts known to me regarding this offense.”
After Michael Flynn was fired, Donald Trump said Flynn was treated unfairly and he would later say he didn’t think he did anything wrong. He said the Trump Russia scandal was due to the fact that people still couldn’t get over the election loss.
Sally Yates testified about her concerns to Congress as well.
“We weren’t the only ones that knew all of this. This was a problem because not only did that mean that the Russians knew this, but that they also likely had proof of this information, and that created a compromised situation. A situation where the national security adviser could essentially be blackmailed by the Russians.”
Sally Yates was the Acting Attorney General when Mike Flynn was first interviewed by the FBI. At the time, Sally Yates believed that Mike Pence had just been told the story about holiday greetings by Flynn in his calls related to the Russian ambassador.
We know this now because Michael Flynn’s plea deal requires him to be truthful, or his deal is off. In his statement of offense, he said that he told the senior members of the team that he was very clear to them that his calls with the Russian ambassador were about removing sanctions placed by Obama.
After these warnings, it would take Donald Trump 18 days to fire Michael Flynn, and three days to fire Sally Yates. Then FBI Director James Comey was fired.
It would then come out that Michael Flynn had failed to register as a foreign agent in Turkey. Vice President Mike Pence said the following.
“Let me say, hearing that story today, was the first I had heard of it.”
This is demonstrably false. In the November 2016 letter to Mike Pence, he was told explicitly of these actions of Michael Flynn and hired him anyway. By April 2017, Mike Pence was on Fox News to talk about Susan Rice, after Trump accused her of unmasking a wiretapping subject.
“Well, I think the American people have a right to know what was going on. And we have every confidence that intelligence committees in the House and the Senate will get to the bottom of these allegations. And the fact that it involved our campaign and our transition should be deeply troubling to anyone that cherishes civil liberties in this country.”
It would later come out that it was Carter Page, another member of the Trump transition team, who was being wiretapped. Susan Rice was not committing a felony, as Trump and Mike Pence suggested. She was doing her job.
Another important piece of the Flynn timeline is the Obama warning. Michael Flynn worked in the Obama Administration but was fired for reasons that remain unclear. CNN reports that on November 10, President Obama warned Trump against hiring Michael Flynn. Trump hired him anyway.
In a statement released by the White House after the Flynn plea deal Friday, Huffington Post reports that the White House attempted to deflect the Flynn problem onto Obama, calling him a “former Obama official.” But Obama did warn the White House about Flynn and told them not to hire him.
It raises the question of whether or not President Obama will be questioned by Robert Mueller.
We still don’t know why Flynn lied. And that could be the most critical piece of this Trump Russia puzzle. Also critical is the reason behind why Mike Pence appears to have two stories for the major aspects of the Flynn timeline. Donald Trump does as well.
At the Republican National Convention, Michael Flynn said he was “As a guy who knows this business if I did a tenth of what she did I would be in jail today.”
Michael Flynn is now facing jail time. He is the fourth Trump official to be facing criminal records in less than one year. He worked right beside Mike Pence for many months.
Is it conceivable that Carter Page knew more about Michael Flynn than the vice president of the United States? What does Mike Pence know and when did he know it is a critical question likely being examined with Mueller scrutiny.