In very exciting news that broke Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has hired as his new attorney none other than former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, a longtime critic of Mueller henchman Andrew Weissmann. I can’t imagine a better person to represent Gen. Flynn, a patriot who was thoroughly wronged by our Justice Department.
From all appearances, Flynn was set up for a perjury trap by the Justice Department after having perfectly appropriate phone conversations with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition period, as he was getting ready for his new job as national security adviser. Sally Yates set it in motion at the DOJ by bringing up a possible violation of the Logan Act by Flynn. Even if the Logan Act were ever prosecuted (it’s not), Flynn’s conversations were most definitely not a violation. It was the proper thing for him to be speaking to foreign ambassadors.
That’s just the start of what they did to trap Flynn; we’ve been all over it. Recall that he was even told their questioning was just casual and that he didn’t need to have a lawyer there. (Word to the wise: if anyone ever tells you that, call a lawyer, fast!) And now that he knows what was done to him, he’s reportedly considering withdrawing his guilty plea. It appears that he pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators to get the process to stop after he ran out of money, and they said afterwards that they didn’t even think he was trying to be deceptive.
Anyway, Flynn’s new attorney says she’ll need about 90 days to go through his entire case file, so that delays his sentencing hearing and could signal a whole new direction. This is great news for Flynn.
From the archives, here’s what she had to say about Andrew Weissmann at the time he was hired for the special counsel team by Robert Mueller. It is not positive.
In other breaking news, The New York Times reports that Attorney General Bill Barr wants to talk to intel sources at the CIA about how it drew its conclusions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which supposedly was to aid Trump and damage Hillary, and also to look at “intelligence pathways” between the CIA and FBI in mid-2016. The NYT story says this has “provoked anxiety” at the CIA. (Perhaps the source of the leak to the Times is some especially anxiety-ridden CIA operative.) Specifically, Barr wants to know what roles top CIA officials played and how they came to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered operatives to discredit Hillary Clinton.
Normally, I might not run so quickly with an NYT story, but, really, it would be odd if Barr WEREN'T doing this. He would be derelict in conducting this investigation if he failed to do it. (Gosh, it would be like Mueller failing to look at Hillary's Russian contacts. Oh, wait...) Counterintelligence was used against Americans, apparently ON FOREIGN SOIL, to spy on a political campaign, and even we out here in “Unclassified Land” have knowledge that then-CIA Director John Brennan was working behind the scenes to spread the dossier.
CIA Director Gina Haspel has reportedly told senior DOJ officials that her agency will cooperate. U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is heading the investigation, will conduct the interviews.
The President made more “Russia” news by allowing George Stephanopoulos to interview him in the Oval Office on this subject. (It was released right after his Wednesday signing of an agreement with the president of Poland to boost our military presence there, not what I would call a pro-Putin move.) When asked if he would take information about a political opponent offered by foreigners or call the FBI, Trump answered, “I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen...there’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called, from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent’...oh. I think I’d want to hear it.” When pressed, he said, “It’s not an ‘interference’; they have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI.”
That sounds refreshingly honest to me, though Democrats are screaming. Keep in mind, these are people who think Trump was serious when he jokingly asked the Russians to find Hillary’s 33,000 “lost” emails. They also seem to have no problem with what we know Hillary and the DNC did to “collude” with Russian sources. Does anyone –- let’s ask those Hillary supporters out there –- believe that ANY candidate, regardless of party, wouldn’t be interested in finding out something, anything, about his or her opponent? How far do you think HILLARY would go to get it? I shudder to think.
In case you ever run for office, here’s how to handle such a situation: First, find out the nature of the information and whether or not the source is credible; then, determine if it might be motivated by something shady (like a quid pro quo), in which case ALL details of the contact should be taken to law enforcement.
Shannon Bream had a great guest on her FOX News show Wednesday night, Houston talk show host Jesse Kelly, who skillfully used sarcasm to make a point: “Well, I was MORTIFIED by what he said, Shannon. Everybody knows we have a precedent for receiving foreign intelligence and using it against your opponent. For one, you need to be a Democrat. Two, you need to include it in a ‘dossier’ --- call it a ‘Steele dossier.’ Then you just take it to the FBI. They’ll in turn take it to the FISA court, and they’ll investigate your political opponent. We just had this happen, so we have a precedent for how this is done.”
In more “Russia” news, Donald Trump, Jr., testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday behind closed doors to discuss any interaction he might have had with Russians relating to the election of 2016. He’d already testified on this for 27 hours, and according to Sara Carter, he said he’d give exactly the same testimony he gave before, even if it took another 27 hours. They must have asked fewer questions this time; it ended up taking about three.
Finally, with this deluge of breaking news, we wouldn’t want to overlook Andrew McCarthy’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee. He’s one of our favorite legal experts, and he did not disappoint on Wednesday. At the link is a transcript of his long written testimony (all great) concerning the FISA law and counterintelligence. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, I hope you’ll at least scroll down and read his eight summary points.
Ranking committee member Devin Nunes was in attendance, of course, and he said later to Sean Hannity that he was struck by the demeanor of the two retired FBI agents who were also there. He said they were expressionless as they heard the accusations against the FBI of targeting a political campaign, adding that it seemed to him as though they'd been coached (by Democrats on the committee?) not to say anything bad about what had occurred at the FBI. Apparently, their nonchalance backfired big-time.
Nunes also told Hannity that he finally HAS SEEN the so-called scope memo, which outlined what the special counsel was supposed to investigate. This is still classified (for now), so he couldn’t get into specifics, but he pointed out that we know by the report itself that it was “probably largely based” on what was in the ‘dossier.’
You really should see the magnificent opening statement Nunes gave during that hearing. Video of the entire meeting is at the link below; Nunes starts a little over nine minutes in.