Lindsey Graham has used the tenure of Ric Grenell to get a slew of stuff declassified, such as a George Papadopoulos transcript bragging about fucking an older woman that redacts a reference to Sergey Millian, even though the Millian reference is the entire point of the exercise of releasing such transcripts. They’re doing it in the name of “FISA abuse,” even though most of it doesn’t relate to FISA and none of the additional material shows abuse beyond the FBI’s over-reliance on informants (which Lindsey has shown no interest in reforming).
The declassified bits describe the crimes FBI was investigating Carter Page, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Mike Flynn for. Plus, there’s one other Trump person whom I’ve been told is not the person you think it is (though I understand new details about it seeing it redacted like this), the description of which is entirely classified.
For Page, Manafort, and Papadopoulos, the memo authorizes an investigation into whether they “colluded” in the 2016 election. Such a bullet point is not included for Flynn, one of many pieces of evidence that the FBI had ruled this out in late 2016/early 2017 only to discover that Flynn had called the country up that had just attacked us and told them “no big deal.”
Page was only being investigated for “collusion;” the memo doesn’t include his willingness to deal known Russian spies non-public economic information about American companies.
For the others, there were additional bullet points authorizing investigation into stuff there was substantial evidence they had done. For Manafort, the memo included two things that were ultimately charged:
- Committed a crime or crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych;
- Committed a crime or crimes arising out of his receipt of loans from a bank whose Chief Executive Officer was then seeking a position in the Trump Administration;
Though Stephen Calk is being prosecuted for Manafort soliciting a loan he had no business getting, not Manafort.
And the memo didn’t include all the things Manafort was charged or even investigated for.
With Papadopoulos, the memo (written less than a week after he’d been arrested after taking money from some Israeli) also included Israeli influence peddling.
- Committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the government of Israel;
That is, for Manafort and Papadopoulos, this memo authorized an investigation into things they were known to have done.
Which brings us to Flynn. As noted, Rosenstein did not authorize Mueller to investigate whether Flynn “colluded,” which is proof that once the FBI chased something down, they dismissed it.
The list of things Mueller was authorized to investigate includes three things that Flynn was known to have done (the italics are what Flynn was known to have done).
- Committed a crime or crimes by engaging in conversations with Russian government officials during the period of the Trump transition;
- Committed a crime or crimes by making false statements to the FBI when interviewed about his contacts with the Russian government;
- Committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent for the government of Turkey;
Flynn did converse with at least one Russian government official during the transition, though as written, this suggests there may have been more. Flynn did lie to the FBI when asked about those contacts. Flynn was still lying about his knowledge that his foreign influence peddling was for the government of Turkey, not some Dutch company.
That is, this memo (and most non-“collusion” bullet points) lays out things the person in question was known to have done.
But this detail is completely new:
- Committed a crime or crimes by failing to report foreign contacts and income on a Form SF-86 that he completed in anticipation of his being selected to serve as the National Security Adviser to President Trump;
Lindsey Graham just released a document suggesting that General Flynn lied on this SF-86 form for clearance by hiding some of his foreign contacts.
To be sure: I’ve been told Flynn told DIA of the foreign contacts that raised the most suspicion, such as bopping off to Moscow to sit with Putin at a gala for RT. That said, last year DOJ claimed that Flynn’s DIA record was actually inculpatory, not exculpatory information they should have turned over as Brady.
Request #15: The government is not aware of any information in possession of the Defense Intelligence Agency that is favorable and material to sentencing, including the information that the government provided on August 16, 2019. Specifically, the information of which the government is aware, including that August 16 production, is either inculpatory or has no relevance to the defendant’s false statements to the FBI on January 24, 2017, or to the FARA Unit.
What Lindsey Graham just released to claim there was some kind of FISA abuse suggests that the FBI — which had access to the FISA intercepts showing Mike Flynn calling up the country that had just attacked us and telling them no big deal — believed on August 2, 2017 that Flynn had not disclosed all his foreign contacts when he got a security clearance tied to becoming National Security Advisor. Flynn’s 2016 security clearance review is something Powell has raised repeatedly in her bid to get Flynn’s prosecution set aside. If she knew that Flynn was investigated because he failed to fully disclose all his foreign contacts, that may explain why.
Which is to say, Lindsey Graham thinks he’s exposing abuse. But in the case of Flynn, he’s not only showing that the FBI stopped pursuing leads once they had chased them down, but were chasing one that was previously unknown.