John Ratcliffe has released the transcripts of Flynn’s calls with Sergey Kislyak. They’re utterly damning. I’m sure I’ll be writing about them for some time, but this is the key bit. Flynn raised sanctions himself — even interrupted Kislyak to do so.
And he pitched sanctions against the Russians not just for tampering in our election, but also for abusing our diplomats in Russia, as an attack on Trump.
KISL YAK: Is by security video. Secure video line.
FLYNN: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I understand. Okay, um, okay. Listen, uh, a couple of things. Number one, what I would ask you guys to do – and make sure you, make sure that you convey this, okay? – do not, do not uh, allow this administration to box us in, right now, okay? Um –
KISLYAK: We have conveyed it. And –
KISL YAK: It’s, uh, ifs uh, very very specifically and transparently, openly.
FLYNN: So, you know, depending on, depending on what uh, actions they take over this current issue of the cyber stuff, you know, where they’re looking like they’re gonna, they’re gonna dismiss some number of Russians out of the country, I understand all that and I understand that~that, you know, the information that they have and all that, but what I would ask Russia to do is to not – is – is – if anything – because I know you have to have some sort of action – to, to only make it reciprocal. Make it reciprocal. Don’t – don’t make it- don’t go any further than you have to. Because I don’t want us to get into something that has to escalate, on a, you know, on a tit for tat. You follow me, Ambassador?
KISLYAK: I understand what you’re saying~ but you know, you might appreciate the sentiments that are raging now in Moscow.
Then, when Kislyak calls back to tell Flynn that they didn’t respond because of his ask, Kislyak emphasizes that, asserting that the sanctions were targeted at Trump as well as Russia (note, it’s possible Russia intercepted the calls between Trump Transition officials where they said just this, because they weren’t using secure lines precisely to avoid detection by the US government).
KIS LY AK: And I just wanted to tel I you that we found that these actions have targeted not only against Russia, but also against the president elect.
FLYNN: yeah, yeah
KISL YAK: and and with all our rights to responds we have decided not to act now because, its because people are dissatisfied with the lost of elections and, and its very deplorable. So, so I just wanted to let you know that our conversation was taken with weight. And also …
Thus, from the very start of this Administration, Flynn willingly set up the relationship with Russia such that Russia and Trump’s Administration were allied against Democrats — and anyone else who believed it was wrong for Russia to tamper in our election.