Flynn Was Hiding that He Coordinated His Kislyak Call with Mar-A-Lago

One of the defenses the frothy right — from Billy Barr down to bots on Twitter — keeps making about Mike Flynn is that because he knew his calls with Sergey Kislyak would be recorded, he would know that the FBI knew what he had said during his January 24, 2017 interview, and so had no reason to lie.

Indeed, whereas DOJ reclassified stuff from an  Andrew McCabe memo that was made public last year (hiding McCabe’s concern about leaks), the only new line in McCabe’s memo they declassified served to substantiate Flynn’s acknowledgment that FBI knew what he had said to Kislyak.

Mr. Flynn, himself a former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, stated that he readily expected that the FBI already knew the contents of his conversations with the ambassador, stating: “you listen to everything they say.”

In their motion to dismiss the Flynn prosecution, DOJ used this quotation of Flynn to claim that because FBI already knew what he said with Kislyak, they had no need to interview Flynn.

In any event, there was no question at the FBI as to the content of the calls; the FBI had in its possession word-for-word transcripts of the actual communications between Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kislyak. See Ex. 5 at 3; Ex. 13. at 3. With no dispute as to what was in fact said, there was no factual basis for the predication of a new counterintelligence investigation. Nor was there a justification or need to interview Mr. Flynn as to his own personal recollections of what had been said.

Except DOJ and all of Flynn’s frothers are missing (or suppressing) something so obvious I pointed it out when Flynn’s 302 was first released in heavily redacted form 18 months ago.

Flynn wasn’t lying to hide what he said to Kislyak.

He was lying to hide that he had coordinated with people at Mar-a-Lago before speaking with Kislyak.

In the 302 of his January 24, 2017 interview, for example, FBI agents described Flynn attributing the delay in returning Kislyak’s text on December 28 (and, we now know, the Russian Embassy’s call) to the shitty cell reception in Dominican Republic.

Shortly after Christmas, 2016, FLYNN took a vacation to the Dominican Republic with his wife. On December 28th, KISYLAK sent FLYNN a text stating, “Can you call me?” FLYNN noted cellular reception was poor and he was not checking his phone regularly, and consequently did not see the text until approximately 24 hours later. Upon seeing the text, FLYNN responded that he would call in 15-20 minutes, and he and KISLYAK subsequently spoke.

After Agents circled around to ask whether he had discussed the expulsions of diplomats (which, incidentally, I think is a fourth lie, one not charged, suggesting his comments on expulsions go beyond what appears in public reports), Flynn claimed he didn’t know that Obama had imposed the sanctions at all because he wasn’t watching the news and his government BlackBerry wasn’t working (thereby confirming he returned Kislyak’s call using a device the government couldn’t obtain without legal process).

The interviewing agents asked FLYNN if he recalled any conversation with KISLYAK surrounding the expulsion of Russian diplomats or closing of Russian properties in response to Russian hacking activities surrounding the election. FLYNN stated that he did not. FLYNN reiterated his conversation was about the PUTIN/TRUMP VTC and the “Astana thing” (the Kazakhstan conference described earlier). FLYNN noted he was not aware of the then-upcoming actions as he did not have access to television news in the Dominican Republic and his government BlackBerry was not working.

When cued with his specific “tit-for-tat” comment, Flynn again claimed not to have known about the sanctions before his call.

The interviewing agents asked FLYNN if he recalled any conversation with KISLYAK in which the expulsions were discussed, where FLYNN might have encouraged KISLYAK not to escalate the situation, to keep the Russian response reciprocal, or not to engage in a “tit-for-tat.” FLYNN responded, “Not really. I don’t remember. It wasn’t, ‘Don’t do anything.'” The U.S. Government’s response was a total surprise to FLYNN. FLYNN did not know about the Persona Non-Grata (PNG) action until it was in the media.

When asked one more time about his calls that day, he again pointed to Dominican Republic’s shitty cell service to claim ignorance of the sanctions.

FLYNN remembered making four to five calls that day about this issue, but that the Dominican Republic was a difficult place to make a call as he kept having connectivity issues. FLYNN reflected and stated he did not think he would have had a conversation with KISLYAK about the matter, as he did not know the expulsions were coming.

Three different times in this interview, Flynn claimed he did not know about the sanctions before speaking with Kislyak, and in a fourth response, he falsely attributed all the delay in returning Kislyak’s call exclusively to the shitty cell service. But according to the Mueller Report, he had found out about the sanctions from a text a KT McFarland assistant sent him, if not before.

Russia initiated the outreach to the Transition Team. On the evening of December 28, 2016, Kislyak texted Flynn, “can you kindly call me back at your convenience.”1229 Flynn did not respond to the text message that evening. Someone from the Russian Embassy also called Flynn the next morning, at 10:38 a.m., but they did not talk. 1230

The sanctions were announced publicly on December 29, 2016. 1231 At 1 :53 p.m. that day, McFarland began exchanging emails with multiple Transition Team members and advisors about the impact the sanctions would have on the incoming Administration. 1232 At 2:07 p.m., a Transition Team member texted Flynn a link to a New York Times article about the sanctions. 1233 At 2:29 p.m., McFarland called Flynn, but they did not talk. 1234 Shortly thereafter, McFarland and Bannon discussed the sanctions. 1235 According to McFarland, Bannon remarked that the sanctions would hurt their ability to have good relations with Russia, and that Russian escalation would make things more difficult. 1236 McFarland believed she told Bannon that Flynn was scheduled to talk to Kislyak later that night. 1237 McFarland also believed she may have discussed the sanctions with Priebus, and likewise told him that Flynn was scheduled to talk to Kislyak that night. 1238 At 3: 14 p.m., Flynn texted a Transition Team member who was assisting McFarland, “Time for a call???”1239 The Transition Team member responded that McFarland was on the phone with Tom Bossert, a Transition Team senior official, to which Flynn responded, “Tit for tat w Russia not good. Russian AMBO reaching out to me today.” 1240

In fact, Flynn’s specific testimony was not that he had waited to call Kislyak back because of connection issues (though that was probably part of it), but because he wanted to consult with McFarland and others first. He returned Kislyak’s call immediately after consulting with McFarland.

Flynn recalled that he chose not to communicate with Kislyak about the sanctions until he had heard from the team at Mar-a-Lago.1241 He first spoke with Michael Ledeen, 1242 a Transition Team member who advised on foreign policy and national security matters, for 20 minutes. 1243 Flynn then spoke with McFarland for almost 20 minutes to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to Kislyak about the sanctions. 1244 On that call, McFarland and Flynn discussed the sanctions, including their potential impact on the incoming Trump Administration’s foreign policy goals. 1245 McFarland and Flynn also discussed that Transition Team members in Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. 1246 They both understood that Flynn would relay a message to Kislyak in hopes of making sure the situation would not get out of hand.1247

Immediately after speaking with McFarland, Flynn called and spoke with Kislyak. 1248 Flynn discussed multiple topics with Kislyak, including the sanctions, scheduling a video teleconference between President-Elect Trump and Putin, an upcoming terrorism conference, and Russia’s views about the Middle East. 1249 With respect to the sanctions, Flynn requested that Russia not escalate the situation, not get into a “tit for tat,” and only respond to the sanctions in a reciprocal manner.1250

Not only did Flynn make efforts — by lying — to hide his consultation with Mar-a-Lago when he was interviewed on January 24, but after Kislyak relayed to Flynn that Putin had specifically taken Flynn’s call into account, Flynn took immediate efforts to hide that sanctions had come up by writing McFarland a cover email she could share with others that didn’t mention sanctions.

Shortly thereafter, Flynn sent a text message to McFarland summarizing his call with Kislyak from the day before, which she emailed to Kushner, Bannon, Priebus, and other Transition Team members. 1265 The text message and email did not include sanctions as one of the topics discussed with Kislyak. 1266 Flynn told the Office that he did not document his discussion of sanctions because it could be perceived as getting in the way of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy.1267

Flynn knew the FBI had access to the Kislyak transcripts when they interviewed him. Kislyak was a foreign target and so fair game.

But Flynn believed the FBI might not access his communications with the rest of the team (indeed, once Trump’s people discovered Mueller had obtained the Transition communications from GSA in the wake of Flynn’s guilty plea, they threw an every-loving hissy fit). Not just Flynn, but everyone else, was trying to cover up those conversations in which they had strategized the call. Indeed, even after Flynn pled guilty, the White House scripted Bannon to deny them.

And the difference — the fact that Flynn wasn’t trying to hide his calls with Kislyak so much as he was trying to hide his consultations with the people at Trump’s resort — conclusively demonstrates why the lies were material. The FBI knew what Flynn had said to Kislyak, but on January 24, they FBI didn’t know how many calls Flynn had exchanged with others at Mar-a-Lago before calling Kislyak. The Mary McCord 302 reveals analysis of Flynn’s call records had not yet been done by February 16.

McCord’s notes (page 42) reflect that at that time, analysis of Flynn’s phone records was nearly done.

The FBI would have used those call records — of what Flynn made clear in his interview were for his personal, not his government issued (secure) phone — to identify whether it was true that Flynn had been cut off in Dominican Republic, and whether it was true that he really didn’t know about sanctions when he spoke to Kislyak.

Indeed, the FBI were still trying to understand all the details about the discussions at Mar-a-Lago until they obtained the Transition emails with a warrant, which probably happened on August 25, 2017. KT McFarland claimed not to remember the 20 minute call with Flynn in her second interview on September 14, 2017, something she would un-forget after Flynn pled guilty, though Barr’s DOJ is hiding the rest of the details about that call. And FBI didn’t get a full accounting of what happened between Flynn and Mar-a-Lago at least until McFarland started unforgetting on December 22, 2017 in the wake of Flynn’s plea.

In short, it took the FBI almost an entire year to get a general understanding of the events surrounding that call in significant part because of the lies Flynn told in the interview, lies about stuff that didn’t show up in the Kislyak transcript. For much of that time, FBI would have had reason to believe Flynn had acted on his own, giving FBI every reason to believe Flynn was secretly working with Russia (like they were coming to understand he had secretly been on the payroll of Turkey).

That’s the definition of materiality. And, as I’ve noted, Bill Barr’s DOJ is on the record agreeing, in the still-active sentencing memorandum for Mike Flynn submitted in January, that it was material precisely because FBI needed to understand who ordered him to make that call.

Any effort to undermine the recently imposed sanctions, which were enacted to punish the Russian government for interfering in the 2016 election, could have been evidence of links or coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia. Accordingly, determining the extent of the defendant’s actions, why the defendant took such actions, and at whose direction he took those actions, were critical to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.


As the Court has already found, his false statements to the FBI were material, regardless of the FBI’s knowledge of the substance of any of his conversations with the Russian Ambassador. See Mem. Opinion at 51-52. The topic of sanctions went to the heart of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation. Any effort to undermine those sanctions could have been evidence of links or coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia.

Had Trump admitted, right from the start, that he ordered the Code Red, this wouldn’t have been material. Had Mike Flynn been honest that he had coordinated his response with advisors sitting at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, this might not have been material. Had KT McFarland admitted her side of the consultations when interviewed by the FBI in August and September 2017, it might change the materiality of Flynn’s lies.

But Donald Trump and Mike Flynn and KT McFarland treated this as something to hide for almost the entirety of a year. And that’s why the lies mattered.

73 replies
  1. OldTulsaDude says:

    Quote: “Flynn claimed he didn’t know that Obama had imposed the sanctions at all because he wasn’t watching the news and his government BlackBerry wasn’t working (thereby confirming he returned Kislyak’s call using a device the government couldn’t obtain without legal process).”

    Doesn’t this also confirm that Kislyak had originally texted Flynn to call him on Flynn’s personal cell phone? Is it normal for foreign diplomats to have private numbers like that?

    • Lazlow K. Hud says:

      Doesn’t this also confirm that Kislyak had originally texted Flynn to call him on Flynn’s personal cell phone? Is it normal for foreign diplomats to have private numbers like that? this also confirm that Kislyak had originally texted Flynn to call him on Flynn’s personal cell phone? Is it normal for foreign diplomats to have private numbers like that?

      Yes. See Clinton. Hillary Clinton.

      • timbo says:

        Immaterial. Clinton was legally authorized to negotiate with foreign governments as Secretary of State. Flynn had no such legal standing when he talked to the Russian Ambassador. The record is clear that he was aware of that as he subsequently lied to the FBI about what he had talked to the Russian Ambassador about >when Flynn< was not an authorized representative of the US Government.

      • P J Evans says:

        In 2016, Flynn wasn’t part of the US government and had no authority to speak for anyone but himself. (That’s the potential Logan Act violation.)
        He *was* an unregistered agent for Turkey, which is, IIRC, one of the charges he pleaded guilty on.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      And how secure would such a device be? For a thirty-year special operator, Flynn’s idea of opsec seems remarkably flawed. Yet, Trump wanted this guy as NSA.

      • 3Monkeys says:

        Please stop calling LTG Flynn a “special operator”. He was/is not. He is an intelligence officer. Yes, he wears a Ranger Tab, but he isn’t and never was a “special operator”. His association with Special Operations are through some of his assignments but he is primarily a TOC (Tactical Operations Center) guy, collating, analyzing and and preparing intelligence for use by tactical units and major commands.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          i see the distinction in his record. He seems to have left the field by the time he made Capt. His jobs frequently included the intelligence side of joint and special ops, but he was primarily a staff officer. All potatoes, no meat, except for his attitude. Perfect match for Trump. Thanks for the correction.

      • emptywheel says:

        In one of her interviews KT actually said they didn’t discuss in depth because they weren’t on secure phones.

  2. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Yep. And this should remind everyone of the bullshit claim of executive privilege for events during the transition — which was essentially granted during in-person interviews for some of the key figures because they refused to answer.

    Some of the frothy right imply it, others say it out loud: they believe the Obama administration lost any authority to govern the day after the election, and that any use of its powers was illegitimate. To them, Flynn was already de facto National Security Advisor when he was making those calls.

    • P J Evans says:

      I recall that during the transition, Trmp was making statements like he was already in office, and I was somewhat surprised that he wasn’t told to can it at the time.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        There aren’t many states where there isn’t any kind of transition if the result isn’t in doubt — the UK is the most notable one — but there are states where the government explicitly becomes a caretaker the day after the election, and there are very clear rules about the limits to its powers.

        The US is not one of those states. The outgoing president remains in control between early November and January 20, whether one likes it or not, and if the current president is outgoing, the frothies will declare that everything that happens between the election and the inauguration of his replacement is entirely legitimate. And that won’t just be because white people are calling in the industrial shredders and doing what they can to cripple the incoming administration, but a lot of it will be,

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Frankly, I’d embrace a precedent that drives the current president out of the White House the day after the election to be replaced with a caretaker executive branch of career appointees till Jan 20, but that’s just me.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I know it will come as a surprise to Trump and his supporters, but the law is not determined by what you believe.

      • soothsayer says:

        “Do you believe in laws you can be afoul of
        I can feel something inside me say
        I really dont think youre smart enough”

        – by Sher(riff)

        O_o apologies in advance for my attempt at humor

  3. BobCon says:

    I’m a bit confused about something here — I’m admittedly fuzzy on all the details:

    “And FBI didn’t get a full accounting of what happened between Flynn and Mar-a-Lago at least until McFarland started unforgetting on December 22, 2017 in the wake of Flynn’s plea.”

    If Flynn had started cooperating a month before then, why didn’t the FBI get a full accounting back in November, instead of when McFarland started unforgetting in December?

    I can see how she could backup Flynn’s account, but did she have info Flynn didn’t? Or was Flynn holding back info even then? And if so, why did the prosecutors offer him a sweeter deal than Gates?

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think I mentioned this on another thread, but it’s routine for investigators to do their homeworking before interviewing a suspect. And some of them will have seen Rashomon, and know that witnesses to the same events rarely tell the same story. Every person’s perspective is different. What does the interviewee remember or forget, what do they emphasize or downplay? What are they hiding, who are they protecting? Why? Most of all, they need firsthand information.

    The argument that investigators would not interview a suspect because they already know what he would say is preposterous propaganda.

    • BobCon says:

      “It certainly lowers my opinion of the Los Angeles Police Department that you have such trouble understanding this, but yes, I will explain to you again Lieutenant Columbo how my video surveillance system exonerates me…”

  5. Marinela says:

    Had Trump admitted, right from the start, that he ordered the Code Red, this wouldn’t have been material. Had Mike Flynn been honest that he had coordinated his response with advisors sitting at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, this might not have been material. Had KT McFarland admitted her side of the consultations when interviewed by the FBI in August and September 2017, it might change the materiality of Flynn’s lies.

    But Donald Trump and Mike Flynn and KT McFarland treated this as something to hide for almost the entirety of a year. And that’s why the lies mattered.


    Hypothetical speaking, if Trump would not interfere, and Flynn could admit he was directed by Trump, what is the implication of Flynn making the phone call and asking Russians to not escalate, and everything else he said and did as directed by Trump that we don’t know of?
    Aside from bad press, which doesn’t stick to Trump, I see no legal exposures.
    So why lie about these activities in the first place?
    Was the concern that Obama administration would then respond?

    • emptywheel says:

      If Trump made the order it’s the quo in a quid pro.

      Remember his son told representatives of Russia they’d reconsider sanctions if they won, at a meeting that effectively became dirt-for-sanctions.

      • Marinela says:

        I see. The timeline of these investigations is in the context of the Mueller investigation, the one they could not prove conspiracy.


        • J R in WV says:

          Don’t forget, an inability to prove a crime occurred beyond a doubt is not the same as proof the crime did not happen…

          Looks to me like there was a conspiracy to interfere with actions of the government during the transition period, while B. Obama was still President and Trump was merely elected, but not yet holding any office.

          But I’m cynical and far left liberal, so I’m prepared to believe that Trump wanted to help Russia out because they pay him lots of money, which we know because Trump said so repeatedly. Not even counting Deutch Bank loans, they spend tens of millions for apartments.

      • DaveC says:

        I still don’t get it. “Trump ma[keing] the order [that’s] the quo in a quid pro” doesn’t seem damning to me with the frothy right, or to pose much exposure for Trump in the House or Senate. Trump’s bizarre kowtowing to Putin is already public. What is the cost to Trump of (re) exposure of Trump’s pre-inauguration engagement with Russion on sanctions? Why not just admit it, and stop the (political) bleeding for the Administration? Its speculation, is there something more embarrassing in the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts than confirming the Trump transition team’s pre-inauguration engagement with Russia/ Kislyak through Flynn. Almost surprising whatever that is hasn’t been leaked by now.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          “What is the cost to Trump of (re) exposure of Trump’s pre-inauguration engagement with Russion on sanctions?”
          Trump’s fulfillment of the “Pro Quo” (lifting Russian sanctions) for the “Quid” (US adversary Russia working with Trump, Flynn, Manafort, Stone, Wikileaks, etc. to interfere with and hand him the 2016 election) is a crime.

        • subtropolis says:

          It’s damning because it buttresses the charge that they’d agreed to remove the sanctions in return for help. If sanctions had not been mentioned then the calls wouldn’t be such a big deal. The coverup is so important to Trump because it looks an awful lot as though Flynn is attempting to hide the fact that Trump was fulfilling his side of a bargain which Trump denies existed.

      • Bill Donovan says:

        So its News Flash:
        Remember, the “sanctions relief” Russia desperately wanted and needed (and still suffers under) involve the hundreds of billions of dollars that got stuffed down via Magnitsky. Neither the WP nor NYT nor diplomatic folks ever refer to a series of PNG’s as “sanctions”. PNG just means an irritating changing of the guards at an embassy–it’s not an economic sanction and isn’t regarded as such international law. This particular trail doesn’t go anywhere.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah. Who knew there were so many fans of unfettered money laundering by transnational criminal syndicates? Or so many people who didn’t like democracy?

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          lolol… what happens when you follow a hydroxychloroquinated leader into the abyss! Woo Hoo!–ar-A-Laundro, here we come!

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          lolol… what happens when you follow a hydroxychloroquinated leader into the abyss… Woo Hoo–Mar-A-Laundro, here we come!

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          IANAL but I would think the issue would be conspiracy to defraud the U.S. That would not require actual sanction relief.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I’m probably missing something.
        I know at the Trump tower meeting they discussed “adoptions” (i.e. sanctions), but couldn’t Trump have said Something like:
        ‘this was no quo in a quid pro quo, I was having Flynn talk about were the “new” sanctions that Obama initiated, not the Magnitsky sanctions’

        I’m sure McConnell, Nunes, and the other boot-lickers would be making that claim. Or do the transcripts indicate he was including “older” sanctions, i.e. “Magnitsky”?

  6. misteranderson says:

    I guess it’s obvious, but I’ll just say it out loud. Why would Trump, McFarland, & Flynn lie? Unless the truth was worse? Why would Trump obstruct Justice? Unless he had something to hide. There’s so much effort to hide something & it’s still ongoing.

  7. misteranderson says:

    Another thought. I frequently see accounts that characterize Trump as merely being upset that the Russia investigation delegitimized his election. That doesn’t ring true. He was working too hard behind the scenes from the very beginning to falsify evidence. Asking McFarland to memorialize a conversation into the record that didn’t happen. He knew very well what a Flynn investigation would uncover so he had to ask Comey to drop the inquiry. There’s too much furtive effort to conceal evidence here.

    • emptywheel says:

      Because she revised her testimony repeatedly. The same may be true for Steve Bannon and Sam Clovis.

      • GKJames says:

        Thanks. Is it entirely at the FBI’s discretion to permit someone to revise their prior sworn testimony? And why, given the Flynn investigation and the obvious connection to the transition team in Mar-A-Lago, would the FBI have let her do this?

        • Marinela says:

          My understanding, investigators could not prove conspiracy, so they wanted to memorialize the truth for the future.
          I think they allowed people to revise testimony as long as they were in the end telling the truth.

  8. orionATL says:

    i have never understood – until now – just why trump&co have expended so much energy on defending michael flynn. after all, he merely led cheers and jeers at trump rallies for the duration of a campaign and then was natl. sec. advisor for a month. but if ew keeps digging like a terrier into the overtly unexciting flynn record, and then shaking both flynn and trump&co like a terrier, we may end up legitimately using the t word in the normal (non-law controlled) way english speakers do to describe trump’s behavior in both the interregnum and the campaign.

    in any event, attny gen barr had better prepare and protect both himself and his presidential client from serious legal repercussions following from his current efforts to hide the enormity of their behavior if one who distrusts trump assumes the presidency in 2021. i doubt paper shredders will be sufficient do the job.

    • J R in WV says:

      This, also too !! These guys are dumb enough to be unaware that the paper isn’t the evidence at all, the evidence is on servers at the NSA, on servers at the DoJ, and those devices can’t be wiped because of a tweet, they’re secured and access is strictly limited.

      If they do manage to get some of that data wiped on secure servers, that is another felony on top of all the preceding felonies, and there will be a log of those new felonies. With “unmasked” IDs of those who did the wiping! They can’t stop now, they’re committed to committing more coverup crimes.

      • timbo says:

        You mean like the erased videos of torture at CIA? Seriously, just because something was once within the possession of the government doesn’t mean it can’t handily “disappear”. You see Trump firing IGs left and right the past few weeks/months? That’s about curtailing the power of the watchdogs from having any teeth when it comes to ANY action taken by Twitler and his gangsters using the US government to aid/abet/obfuscate ANY crimes they might have or may commit.

  9. Eo says:

    Hey, I work in IT for the National Guard, and there’s something you should know: Prior to giving officers and VIPs iPhones and Androids (like the DoD does today), they used to give everyone Blackberries. I’d say a good 50% of my users (especially the Flynn-aged ones) still refer to their government-issued smartphones as “my Blackberry.” Old habits die hard. This doesn’t mean he used a personal device.

    • subtropolis says:

      All of the reports that I’ve seen specify that it was a blackberry that had been provided by the government. The question of a personal device arises because Flynn had been in communication with Kislyak at the same time during which he claims the blackberry was not working.

    • orionATL says:

      i think it’s generally accepted that a series of u.s. sanctions against the russian government since 2014 have had a substantial impact on the russian economy. certainly the russians have thought so. that was the basis of the deal offered to trump campaign officials in the notorious trump tower meeting of june 9, 2016.

      • Rayne says:

        First, the two links you cite don’t actually quote any Russian officials, economic developers, or business persons about the impact of sanctions. You also call them U.S. sanctions when they are also EU sanctions, particularly with regard to the global Magnitsky Act.

        Second, the CNN piece said the drop in oil prices in 2014 had a greater impact — that would have happened when the P5+1 deal was signed and Iran’s oil production was back on line for re-entry in to the market. From CNN:

        Measuring the impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy is not an exact science, and different experts have different opinions.

        But what seems clear is that the price of oil — which Russia’s economy depends on — has had a far greater impact than sanctions

        Because some of us need a picture:

        Third, corruption has long been a MASSIVE problem in Russia, increasing prices for goods and services between 20-50%. How much of the effects of sanctions and the drop in oil price haven’t actually been felt by the average Russian citizen but by Putin and his plausibly deniable Russian mafia, diluted and obscured by a countrywide unwritten system of corruption?

        The deal in the tower was some corrupt bullshit not only about the sanctions but about oil. Hello, Rex Tillerson, one of the first appointments in the new Trump administration. And perhaps trading weaponry including nuke technology to Saudis to keep them from mucking up the oil market.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          What is the history of Glencore? Makes for interesting reading.

          Founded in 1974 as Marc Rich + Co AG, [YES, THAT Marc Rich] what is now Glencore originated as a metal, minerals, and crude oil marketing and trading company. During the 1980s, it expanded operations to include agricultural products and began producing and processing commodities.
          Born Marcell David Reich
          December 18, 1934
          Antwerp, Belgium
          Died June 26, 2013 (aged 78)
          Lucerne, Switzerland
          Citizenship Belgium, Bolivia, United States, Israel, Spain

          Johannesburg-born Ivan Glasenberg, the Glencore Xstrata chief executive who owns 8.4%, the largest share of the company, received dividend payments of $173-million in 2012 and $182-million last year. When Glencore listed in 2011 it was owned by just 480 people, all employees.Mar 19, 2014

        • orionATL says:

          rayne –

          to the extent your comment and cites add to this discussion i appreciate them.

          to the extent they are nitpicking criticisms directed at me i don’t appreciate them.

          i was not trying to do a dissertation or prove just how smart i was, i simply wanted to provide some background to readers of this article for a criticism made by reader bill donovan. i did that effectively where others, yourself included, had not.

          i note that your initial response to donovan – at 3:06pm – was CRYPTIC and TRIVIAL and did little to inform a reader. i on the other hand took the trouble to look up info that was directly relevant and post it. you had an opportunity to do the same. why did you not do so rather than wait to criticize my effort as lacking? or alternatively simply post your comments attached to or following mine?

          this particular comment of yours is an outstanding example of intrusive, destructive monitoring.

        • Rayne says:

          Your reply to your own comment constituted a sweeping inaccurate generalization.

          I said what I did to that particular commenter — a drive-by first timer who was trolling and understands EXACTLY what I meant — and didn’t need your mansplaining assistance.

          You don’t like the way comments run here? You are free to leave.

        • orionATL says:

          well, aren’t you a clever lass, rayne. you force in the sexist – and manipulative – “mansplaining” where it had no business at all in a comment. you are manipulating the hard earned diversity of this blog. that’s more monitor incompetence in my view. my critivism of your failure to contribute, together with your failure to fairly and competently monitor was sell warranted.

          i understand what your’re up to and i can tell you this, i will leave the day my comments are routinely erased and banned. until then you will get from me as least as good as you give. i would have thought you might have figured that out by now.

        • Rayne says:

          I might have let it slide until he had to add the dig about “hard earned diversity” to a multi-racial woman. Nope. ~smh~

        • Rayne says:

          Okay, you asked for it. Could have simply gone about commenting on the topic but no. Not the first time you’ve been put into time out around here.

          EDIT: Since it appears it needs to be repeated yet again even for a long-time community member —

          Things frowned upon here include but not limited to: deliberate sockpuppeting, ad hominem attacks on contributors and/or commenters, (far-fetched) claims without substantiation, behavior denying other commenters’ use of comment thread, behavior undermining site integrity and/or or users’ security.

          Lisa Williams once explained that her blog was like her living room; she expected commenters to behave as they would in her living room. This seems a perfect rule of thumb — not overly specific but easy to understand. This might be a fairly raucous living room but hosts and guests alike don’t care for the jerk who does something nasty in the punch bowl.


  10. Ginevra diBenci says:

    Yes! It has always been about Flynn’s coordinating his message with the team. But who supposedly helmed that transition team? VP-to-be Mike “I was lied to” Pence. As this post implies, Pence had to know. Which means that Flynn’s *later* denial to him was itself just part of the elaborate cover-up: Lie to me now, General, so I can go tell America I was lied to. Jesus Christ, the passive voice exists for these cynical conmen.

  11. civil says:

    So here’s what I don’t understand: Flynn made additional material false statements in his FBI interview (e.g., whatever he said corresponding to “FLYNN noted he was not aware of the then-upcoming actions,” “FLYNN did not know about the Persona Non-Grata (PNG) action until it was in the media,” “he did not know the expulsions were coming”), so why weren’t those additional false statements identified in the plea? Mueller’s team should have been aware of those lies by the time they reached a plea agreement with Flynn, so it wouldn’t be a matter of them not yet having discovered them. If Flynn was mostly lying in order to hide that he coordinated with people at Mar-A-Lago, why not focus on that in the plea? Seems like omitting this from the plea is a key reason that it hasn’t been a bigger part of the subsequent public discussion.

    • bmaz says:

      So, here is “what I don’t understand”. Where did you bevy of trolls come out of the bog? Just smart enough to pitch disingenuous bullshit that does not look as stupid as Tucker Carlson, but patently disingenuous. Are there any of you that actually have a clue as to how government agents work? Never mind, I know the answer. I’ll tell you what, come back when you are championing a black or brown guy caught up in false statements, perjury and fraud against the United States. Until then, get out of here.

      • civil says:

        Wow. I’m not a troll, and I wasn’t being disingenuous. I asked a question that I do not know the answer to, hoping that someone here had useful information. (Clearly no one but Mueller’s team can say for certain why they didn’t include those false statements, but I hoped someone here had an informed conjecture about it.)

        “Are there any of you that actually have a clue as to how government agents work?”

        I know very little about how they work. I also don’t understand how your question is relevant to my question about why they didn’t identify all of Flynn’s false statements in the plea, only some of them. Ms. Wheeler notes this above: “I think [this] is a fourth lie, one not charged, suggesting his comments on expulsions go beyond what appears in public reports.”

        Just to be clear: I think Ms. Wheeler’s argument about why he was lying makes a lot of sense. If you thought I was “championing” Flynn, you’ve totally misinterpreted my comment. Regardless, flying into such a hissy fit in response is silly. Look, I get that there are plenty of commenters who troll, and it’s tiresome to deal with them. But assuming someone is a troll for no good reason isn’t productive. I’m new here, but you should be able to see from the few other comments I’ve posted on the site (e.g., ) that I’m not trolling.

        All of that said, do you have a good conjecture as to why those lies weren’t part of the charges in the plea deal? If so, I’d appreciate your sharing it.

    • Eureka says:

      To protect the parts of the investigation that were then-ongoing (including Trump, personally, wrt conspiracy).

      Go back and look at the early date of Flynn’s plea vs where other aspects of the investigation stood (and what else he may have been/ was supposed to be ‘cooperating’ on).

      • civil says:

        Thanks Eureka.

        But Flynn signed both the Statement of the Offense and the Plea Agreement on the same day, 11/30/17, and he declared under penalty of perjury in the former that the following is true:
        “On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team official, who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the US. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals. The PTT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.”

        Since the above was already part of what he was stipulating to, why not also include as part of the False Statements that Flynn had denied knowing about the “then-upcoming actions”? (Was the FBI distinguishing between the economic sanctions — using “sanctions” only for that — and the expulsions? I’ve always thought of both of those as part of the sanctions against Russia in response to their interference.)

        At first I wondered whether they just didn’t think it important to single out that he’d lied about knowing of the upcoming actions, as his denial of discussing sanctions with Kislyak was more significant. But it seems to me that it’s still a material lie, as it helped to hide that he conferred with the transition team before talking with Kislyak.

        Thanks again for your response. Composing this reply prompted me to look again at the Statement of the Offense, and at least I’m getting clearer on what’s puzzling me (if that makes sense, LOL).

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