27 April 2017

Russia Collusion Investigation and Donald J Trump

In a recent post, I outlined how intelligence agencies were gunning for the Orange Man. Every week there is a new revelation and you get a sense that the noose around his neck is slowly being tightened.

The two latest leaks are about Carter Page and Michael Flynn. And they are bigly.

Carter Page was a second-tier Trump foreign policy adviser during the campaign. He is an energy consultant who lived in Moscow for several years and has always expressed pro-Kremlin views.

His Kremlin bias was so pronounced that FBI investigated him for a while to see if he was turned by S.V.R, Russia's foreign intelligence service.

It turns out he was targeted by them and in 2013, FBI recorded a conversation between two Russian diplomat-spies in which they refer to him as an ambitious idiot who might be turned.

Subsequently, the FBI cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Last March, Sam Clovis, a professor and Tea Party activist gave a list of foreign policy experts to the Trump campaign, including Carter's. He was with the campaign for six months.

According to the dossier prepared by ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steel, last July, Carter travelled to Moscow to meet with Igor Sechin, head of the Russian oil monopoly Rosneft. As I mentioned previously, the dossier alleged that Sechin offered him brokerage on the sale of 19 percent of Rosneft shares in exchange for lifting of the sanctions.

In December, when Putin announced the sale of 19.5 percent of Rosneft Carter happened to be in Moscow. A couple of weeks later, the man who leaked the Sechin-Page meeting to Steele, Rosneft's Chief of Staff, Oleg Erovinkin was found dead in his car.

All of this picked FBI's curiosity and according to Washington Post they obtained at least two FISA warrants to monitor Carter's communications. Since FBI chief James Comey acknowledged the existence of an investigation of collusion between Trump camp and the Kremlin, their warrants place Carter to the epicenter of Russian interference allegations.

Then there is the curious case of Michael Flynn, the retired three star general and the former National Security Adviser of Donald Trump. As I mentioned in a recent post, his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were taped by the NSA. in which he maintained that once Trump was sworn in, sanctions would be lifted.

He also received over $500,000 from Turkish government to find a way to extradite aging cleric Fethullah Gulen. He even discussed with Turkish representatives other scenarios that included kidnapping and extra-legal rendering.

In both instances, Michael "Lock Her Up" Flynn did not disclose his actions and arrangements. He denied talking to Ambassador Kislyak until he was shown the recording and he did not file the forms declare his services for Turkey. He filed them after he was caught in the lie.

But last week something interesting happened. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) the Chair of House Oversight Committee announced that General Flynn may have violated federal law by not disclosing his business dealings with Russia in his security clearance forms. Lying in your security clearance is a yuge deal in the US and certainly for the National Security Adviser.

It turns out that Flynn was paid $45,000 for a speech in Moscow and he simply left it out.
In addition to making the speech on that trip — for which he received the $45,000 fee from RT, formerly known as Russia Today, a Kremlin-backed news network — Mr. Flynn attended the network’s lavish anniversary dinner and was photographed sitting at the elbow of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
I actually posted that photo. You can see that they are seated next to one another.

What is interesting about these latest revelations is the fact that they were made by a Republican (and ultra conservative) Representative.  Actually, this is how Chaffetz put it:
“As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “And it appears as if he did take that money. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for a violation of law.
Republicans never throw one of their own under the bus and certainly not someone like Flynn, a former general who is admired by both the alt-right movement and Chaffetz' conservative constituency.

The only exception to this rule is when National Security State apparatus pressures them. Then everyone is fair game.

Flynn's lawyer had earlier offered his testimony in exchange for immunity. At the time, unlike other observers, I did not think that this deal could lead to major revelations because Flynn was not accused of anything substantial. He corrected his failure to file and his dealings with Russian Ambassador took place before Trump's inauguration.

But with this new allegations refer to an incident that is two years old so a late filing is not possible. And according to Chaffetz, it constitute a violation of federal law.

To me, it means that some powerful agencies are signalling to him that they have the goods on him and more revelations will come.

The message is that if he wanted to avoid an indictment he might have to come clean on Trump's Russia connection.

Where do I get this idea?

Well Chaffetz' Committee asked to see the paperwork for the security clearance and the White House simply refused. That tells me that they are doing their best to protect the General and the only reason to do so now is to prevent him from spilling the beans.

I expect more revelations in the coming weeks and months.

Drip, drip, drip.

Now Pentagon says that they are actively investigating Flynn and his Russia connections.
Acting Pentagon inspector general Glenn Fine disclosed the inquiry in an 11 April letter to the House oversight committee, which is also investigating Flynn. The committee released Fine’s letter on Thursday. 
Additionally, newly disclosed DIA documents show that Flynn was warned of “criminal sanctions” in 2014 should he fail to obtain express official approval for accepting money for services rendered to a foreign government.

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