Trump administration will be having restless nights over Flynn testimony offer

Posted by DanielS on Monday, 03 April 2017 17:15.

                  Michael Flynn seated with Vladimir Putin and Jill Stein right.

ITV News, “Trump administration ‘will be having restless nights over Flynn testimony offer”, 31 March 2017:

Flynn was famously pictured sitting next to Vladimir Putin at a gala in Moscow in December 2015 and it was his conversations with Russian officials that ultimately led to his downfall.

President Trump and his administration will have endured a “restless night’s sleep” following Michael Flynn’s offer to testify about possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution, Barack Obama’s former press secretary has told ITV News.

Flynn, ousted as national security adviser in February following an onslaught of damaging headlines about his ties to the Kremlin, has told the FBI and Congress that he “has a story to tell” but wants assurances “against unfair prosecution”.

Josh Earnest, who served as the former president’s top spokesman for three years, said Flynn’s offer “is an indication that he is concerned about the information he may reveal”.

“My guess is that there were a lot of restless night’s sleep last night after that Wall Street Journal story posted,” Earnest told ITV News.

“Because everybody who thought they were having a private conversation with Mike Flynn in the last two years or anybody who sent an email over the last two years or anybody who has been responsible for publicly defending him over the last two months is now in a position where that information could be revealed to the FBI or congressional investigators.

“That has to be a little disconcerting to everybody - including the president of the United States.”

Trump’s young presidency has so far been blighted by the ongoing suspicion that his campaign colluded with the Russian government in its efforts to sway the election in his favour.

Flynn is one of a number of Trump associates under investigation by the FBI as part of the probe into Russian meddling.

Earnest said Trump’s decision to appoint Flynn to a role “so crucial” to America’s national security would again come under scrutiny.

“Appointing someone like General Flynn to be his national security adviser and have him resign after 24 days because he was being dishonest and now potentially has some criminal liability - it’s concerning and does raise questions about the president’s judgement in putting somebody like General Flynn into a position that is so crucial to our national security.”

Earnest, who now works as a political analyst for NBC, urged observers not to jump to conclusions over Flynn’s offer to testify, saying it was too early to say whether the retired three-star Army general would provide the “smoking gun” which directly links the president to Russia’s aggressive operation to meddle in the election process.

“He’s got a story he wants to tell - we’ll see what happens.”

Flynn was one of Trump’s closest confidantes on the campaign trail, gaining prominence for his raucous attacks on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server.

In comments likely to come back to haunt him, Flynn told NBC last September: “When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime.”

After Trump’s victory, Flynn was appointed as the new administration’s top security adviser despite concerns over his desire to forge closer ties to the Russian government.

He was famously pictured sitting next to Vladimir Putin at a gala in Moscow in December 2015 and it was his conversations with Russian officials that ultimately led to his downfall.

       
Michael Flynn, pictured above left with Donald Trump, was ousted as national security adviser in February following an onslaught of damaging headlines about his ties to the Kremlin Credit: AP

Flynn was forced to quit after a less than a month in the role when it emerged that he had discussed sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on the Kremlin with the Russian ambassador - conversations which he then subsequently lied about to the Vice-President Mike Pence.

It is one of a number of scandals to have engulfed the president since he took office on January 20.

“Everyday seems to be a day of new drama in this White House and it is part of the leadership style that we’ve seen from President Trump - he likes to preside over chaos and keeping people off balance,” Earnest said.

“It’s the way he ran his campaign and it worked; But I think we are seeing that running a campaign is a lot different to running a country. When you are running a country people expect you to be a source of stability, not chaos.”



Comments:


1

Posted by Flynn's immunity request is utterly chilling on Mon, 03 Apr 2017 23:07 | #

Independent:

“Michael Flynn’s immunity request is utterly chilling”


“Let’s be clear: Flynn’s immunity request very strongly suggests there was a criminal conspiracy at the highest levels of government.”


2

Posted by Comey appalled by Trump request on Flynn's behalf on Tue, 16 May 2017 20:15 | #

Vice, “Trump asked Comey to drop investigation into Flynn”,  May 16, 2017

President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop the agency’s investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn in February, according to a memo written by Comey, a portion of which was published by the New York Times Tuesday evening.  The memo was also confirmed by several news organizations, including VICE News.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said, according to the memo, which was reportedly written contemporaneously by Comey. Trump emphasized that Flynn had done nothing wrong, reportedly telling Comey, “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

According to the memo, Comey responded, “I agree he is a good guy.”

The FBI was investigating Flynn, Trump and his associates over potential collusion with Russia when Trump made the request. Trump reportedly summoned Comey to the Oval Office to make his case just one day after Flynn resigned over allegations that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

In order for Trump’s behavior to amount to a criminal obstruction of justice, he would have likely have to implicitly or explicitly threaten to fire Comey, said Richard Painter, George W. Bush’s former chief ethics lawyer. According to the New York Times’ reporting, the memo did not document if Trump conveyed such a threat, though Trump did end up firing Comey last week.

In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt Thursday, Trump explicitly denied asking Comey to drop the investigation.

“No, never,” he said. “In fact, I want the investigation speeded up.”

It’s currently unclear what the legal implications of Comey’s memo will be. Comey, however, kept careful memos documenting his interactions with the president.

“I don’t know if urging the FBI to end an investigation is itself a criminal act of obstruction of justice,” Painter told VICE News. “But it’s clearly an abuse of power for the president to be trying to get the FBI director to close an investigation for criminal conduct by members of his administration.”

Whether the memo’s contents are enough to impeach Trump is not a legal question but a political matter for Congress to decide, Painter said. “We know that lying about your sex life can get you impeached. That’s up to Congress, and obviously it all turns on politics.”

The White House denied the report.

“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the White House told the New York Times in a statement. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”

Politico spoke to an unnamed friend of Comey’s who described the memo: “It is very rich in detail and hopefully it will come out soon. There are other memos about his meetings too. He wrote down every word Trump said to him as soon as he could.”

A Department of Justice spokesperson told VICE News the department declined to comment.

Shortly after the New York Times published its story, FT and CNN independently confirmed the newspaper’s reporting. A source told CNN that Trump’s request so appalled Comey, he felt compelled to document it.



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