Trump hits FBI, Clinton as debate Over Mike Flynn plea intensifies

Ceria Alfonso
Diciembre 7, 2017

"Flynn was in no position to request anything of Sergey Ivanovich [Kislyak, Russia's former US ambassador] let alone to expect any requests to be relayed to Vladimir Putin - the whole thing is completely absurd, " said the Russian President's press secretary Dmitry Peskov during a media briefing in Moscow.

The tweet provoked a firestorm of reaction, particularly in light of former FBI director James Comey's assertion under oath that Trump asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn's conduct. It says Flynn falsely claimed that he had not asked Kislyak on Dec. 29 "to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the U.S. had imposed against Russia", and that he didn't recall Kislyak telling him Russia had decided to moderate its response as a result of his request.

"The other possibility - and I'm stunned that this hasn't gotten more attention - is that this is typical Trump braggadocio", he said.

Trump has been publicly dismissive of Comey and of special counsel Robert Mueller's continuing investigation, and was often generous in his appraisal of Flynn, except to say his adviser could not stay on the job after misleading his vice president. Although Trump denied that he knew the substance of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak, tweets he posted on Dec. 30, 2016 - praising Putin's decision not to expel U.S. diplomats - suggest otherwise.

Meanwhile, the Mueller probe took a hit after he removed an FBI agent found to have sent texts that were anti-Trump and favored Hillary Clinton. He has pleaded guilty to those lies.

The president also employed this "what-about-Clinton" strategy over the weekend, attacking the FBI as an institution in "tatters" because of the way it investigated his former political rival.

"So we don't have any reason to believe that Trump had a read on what the FBI's judgment about the Flynn interview was", he said.

"Even if we assume that Trump knew that Flynn lied to the FBI, Trump had the right to weigh in on the investigation", he said.

The White House has argued that the incoming Trump administration was merely engaging in "normal outreach" with a foreign power. Lawyers routinely draft public comments in a client's name and often have the authority to do so without even clearing the language with the client. Comey refused, and Trump fired him, too.

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The meddling by Flynn, designed to soft-pedal the meddling by Russia, was gravely consequential on its own. For now, at least, the House is run by Republicans.

This is the complex process and very high threshold to keep in mind when looking at President Obama's actions against Russia last December.

As Flynn's plea deal reveals, the Trump transition team immediately made a concerted effort to undermine the signal that the United States was sending.

Dowd, who says he drafted Trump's Saturday tweet about Flynn, also declared: "The tweet did not admit obstruction".

The group is the latest in a series of federal climate-related bodies to be altered or terminated since Trump took office.

Back at Axios, Allen notes, "The Articles of Impeachment against Nixon began by saying he 'obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice'".

"My take is that the idea that Dowd should be disbarred is nonsense".

"If there was coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians I can't think of a person who would know more about that than Flynn", Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CBS News.

Pence, who served as head of Trump's transition, has not publicly commented on Flynn's plea.

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