Flynn Friday may yet prove to be the most significant day in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s election campaign team. Less than one month after Mueller laid charges against three other members of the Trump campaign team, General Michael Flynn has been indicted. Trump’s former national security advisor appeared in court to enter a guilty plea on a charge of lying to the FBI. In a statement, made after Flynn’s guilty plea, he indicated that he was “fully cooperating” with the Mueller investigation.
In court documents related to the charge, Flynn admits that a “very senior member” of Donald Trump’s transition team had directed him to make contact with Russia officials. As reported by Vox, Flynn was ordered to get the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to help stop a United Nations Security Council vote on Israeli settlement policy in late December 2016, a month before Trump’s inauguration.
CNN claims that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the man who passed down that instruction. Kushner is President Trump’s closest advisor, and Flynn’s court documents provide the clearest indications yet that senior members of the Trump campaign and transition teams were speaking to Russian officials before Trump took office in January.
In yesterday’s court hearing, prosecutors outlined the details of telephone calls made by Flynn to a senior member of the team who was with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Flynn says that those calls were to discuss his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. The court documents reveal that Flynn falsely told the Mueller investigation that he did not ask Kislyak to delay the vote on the UN Security Council resolution.
Bloomberg also claims that Kushner was the man directing Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials. They cite two unnamed former members of Trump’s transition team who said that “Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the U.N. Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution [on Isreali settlements].”
These claims add up to very bad news for Jared Kushner, they seem to remove any doubt that Kushner, and other senior members of Trump’s team, were in negotiation with Russia before Trump took office. That put simply is a felony, and if Kushner was directing Flynn’s illegal activity, it is impossible to believe that President Trump was not aware of what was going on. Indeed, ABC News claims that Flynn is prepared to testify that “Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
They claim that a source has told them that “Trump phoned Flynn shortly after the election to explicitly ask him to ‘serve as point person on Russia,’ and to reach out personally to Russian officials.” Let’s be absolutely clear here, it is illegal for a private citizen to negotiate on behalf of the United States with a foreign power. If Flynn is telling the truth, then Donald Trump personally instructed Flynn to break the law.
Admittedly, nothing that has come out of the Mueller investigation so far proves that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of last year’s presidential election. However, it is increasingly clear that President Trump’s team were deeply involved with Russia, Israel, and Turkey before Trump took office. The stench of scandal is never far from Donald Trump, but it looks like Robert Mueller has his measure.
Mueller has treated the Trump-Russia probe like an investigation into an organized crime family. He has taken out and flipped low ranking “foot-soldiers” like George Papadopoulos and is now focused on Trump’s “Capo’s.” Flynn has already fallen; it looks like Jared Kushner will be next, but make no mistake, Mueller has the biggest prize of all in his sights, President Donald Trump.