It didn’t take long. Yesterday, the names of those who’d called for the unmasking of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s name were made public, and they were mostly the usual suspects --- and more, to total about two dozen. Of course, then-FBI Director James Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan are there, from even before Flynn and Sergey Kislyak had “the” phone call they were all so interested in.
Though presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday from his basement that he knew nothing” about the investigation of Flynn and then –- later in the same interview, with George Stephanopoulos –- admitted he “was aware” of the investigation but nothing more, it turns out he personally had requested the unmasking of Flynn’s name. And when did he do that? January 12, the very day that David Ignatius at the WASHINGTON POST published a column not only mentioning the call with Kislyak but talking about the Logan Act. Seems Biden was a wee bit more involved in the case than he’s let on.
Of course, there will be jokes and possibly even serious comments about Biden actually not being able to remember this. What does it tell you about your candidate when your defense for his lying is to call attention to his obvious mental decline?
Keep in mind, it’s not against the law for officials to request the unmasking of a name. But to do it for political purposes, which would certainly include leaking to the media --- that is very much illegal. And, boy, was this political. Somebody leaked it to WAPO, and that might have been part of a conspiracy by a number of these people. If it were being done for legitimate national security purposes, it wouldn’t have leaked. Besides, there was never any evidence that Flynn was involved inappropriately with Russia. So, please, Mr. Durham, throw the book at them. I’d be happy to file an “amicus” brief on why this needs to happen.
Goodness, there was soooooo much interest in Flynn’s phone conversations, and, yes, it predated the Kislyak call of December 28, 2016, that prompted so much attention from the FBI. We know Obama had wanted him gone for years, for reasons we’ve elaborated, and the intel community seems to have been trying to set him up since 2014. Here are a few more highlights from all the unmasking that was done on Flynn’s calls:
Kislyak called Flynn on December 28 and spoke to him about a U.N. Security Council resolution to condemn Israel (not surprisingly, coordinated by President Obama). On THAT DAY, U.N. ambassador Samantha Power made an unmasking request on the transcript. This wasn’t the only time she’d called for the unmasking of Flynn’s name, either; it was the sixth. In fact, she was the very first person to request an unmasking on Flynn, on November 30, 2016, which was ten days after Trump named him national security adviser. (Imagine how crazy it must have made this whole crew to know Flynn would be serving Trump as his national security adviser!)
When Power was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in October of 2017, she got a Biden-style brain freeze and said, “I have no recollection of making a request related to General Flynn.”
On December 28, which was after Obama announced new sanctions on Russia for “election meddling” --- blustering a lot and sending the Russian diplomats packing --- Kislyak contacted Flynn again. On THAT DAY, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made an unmasking request on the transcript. This was one of three such requests made on Flynn’s name by Clapper.
When Clapper was asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley on May 8, 2017, if he had ever made any unmasking requests of “Mr. Trump, his associates or any member of Congress,” Clapper took a loooooong pause and finally said, “Um...yes…in one case I did, that I specifically recall, but I can’t discuss it any further than that.”
Of course, we all know about the January 5 meeting in which Obama surprised Sally Yates with his knowledge of the Flynn surveillance and the particular call between Flynn and Kislyak. According to her own testimony, she stood there while Obama and Comey chatted about it and as Comey brought up the possible violation of the Logan Act. On THAT DAY, after the meeting, Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, made on unmasking request for Flynn’s name from that transcript.
Kyle Smith has a great commentary at NATIONAL REVIEW on the way these people abused their power.
As for D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s joke of a courtroom, here’s a great opinion piece posted at ZeroHedge that will give you the bizarre backstory on his rulings and contradictory statements in this case and also tell you about his latest big idea: to appoint retired Judge John Gleeson to write an amicus brief “to present arguments in opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss.” That’s right, Sullivan wants to argue against the attorney general’s decision to drop the case. It gets worse: the brief is also to “address whether the Court should issue an order to show cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury,” presumably because he pleaded guilty when he wasn’t.
The other day, we made a joke about how this Spanish Inquisition-like reasoning makes Flynn guilty either way: either he’s guilty because he pleaded guilty (“Burn him!”), or he’s guilty because he says he’s not guilty (“Burn him!”). This actually is being done to him.
So why did Sullivan pick Judge Gleeson, a litigator perhaps best known for being the lead prosecutor in the murder and racketeering case against mob bosses John Gotti and Victor Orena? We looked at his bio page on the website for his law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, and saw that in 2008, he wrote a paper for Hofstra Law Review called “The Sentencing Commission and Prosecutorial Discretion: The Role of Courts in Policing Sentencing Bargains,” and various others having to do with sentencing and, by inference, guilty pleas. (Might make some illuminating weekend reading if we can find them!) As you know, Judge Sullivan had already announced he’s soliciting amicus briefs from any outside groups who want to make arguments against dropping Flynn’s case.
But maybe he chose Gleeson because of something this judge has very recently written. Thanks to Laura Ingraham for turning this up, from Monday’s WASHINGTON POST, written by John Gleeson, David O’Neil and Marshall Miller. Headline: “The Flynn Case Isn’t Over Until The Judge Says It’s Over.” I think we already know what his amicus brief is going to say. Sol Wisenberg, appearing on her show, says Gleeson is wrong and cited case law. His theory is that Judge Sullivan is trying to force President Trump to issue a pardon if he wants Flynn to go free, “and that’s not right.”
If anyone should write an “amicus” brief on this case, it’s Alan Dershowitz, who wrote this just a few days before Judge Sullivan’s latest stunt.
Or perhaps Andrew C. McCarthy, who wrote this for Wednesday’s NATIONAL REVIEW.