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February 10, 2017 03:31 PM UTC

Treason

  • 62 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #2: The New Republic’s Lovia Gyarkye speculates that Michael Flynn may be headed under the wheels sooner rather than later:

Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn is being tossed under the bus. The last time we checked in with Flynn, Trump was complaining that he was overbearing and talked too much. Now it appears he is in some serious trouble, with The Washington Post reporting that Flynn, despite his and the Trump administration’s denials, did in fact discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last December, when Barack Obama was still in office. According to current and former American officials, Flynn’s communications were “inappropriate” and a “potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.”

Flynn is now backing away from his denials, telling the Post that “while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” This puts him at odds with some members of the Trump administration, most notably Vice President Mike Pence, who publicly went to bat for Flynn. Last month, Pence denied that Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian officials. Now the White House is telling the Post that he “made his comments based on his conversation with Flynn.”

—–

UPDATE: Looks like Flynn could be headed for a new role — under the bus. From Politico:

An administration official told POLITICO that Pence’s remarks came after a conversation with Flynn and were guided by that conversation — leaving open the possibility that Flynn misled the Vice President just as he repeatedly denied the allegations to the Washington Post before acknowledging the topic may have been discussed.

Privately, Pence aides expressed frustration at their boss being placed in such a position.

Even if Pence was not aware that sanctions were discussed between Flynn and the Russian ambassador when he made his comments, the episode could leave him with diminished standing, concerning those around him. For the national security adviser to mislead the Vice President on such a sensitive issue with impunity would seem to send a signal about Pence’s standing in the West Wing, a Pence adviser said.

—–

We’re going to need an entirely new name for this scandal from the Trump administration. The tradition of tacking “-gate” onto the end of a different word, as sort of a hat tip to “Watergate,” was a fine idea for awhile, but what’s happening now deserves its own title.

As the Washington Post reported late Thursday:

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, “No.”

On Thursday, Flynn, through his spokesman, backed away from the denial. The spokesman said Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” [Pols emphasis]…

…Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

All of those officials said ­Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president. [Pols emphasis]

We are rapidly approaching a point where the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States could be investigated for violating “The Logan Act,” which is intended to forbid unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in a manner that could undermine official U.S. policy.

Vice President Mike Pence could get sucked into this scandal soon as well; Pence, after all, has gone on the record denying these conversations with Russia ever happened.

We suppose it could just be a spectacular coincidence that several Republican Senators — including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) — have suddenly decided that they should start covering their respective arses by asking President Trump to get tough on Russia.

This is not some wild conspiracy theory. This is happening, and it reaches the highest levels of government.

Comments

62 thoughts on “Treason

  1. It's not like there's no precedent for incoming GOP administrations sabotaging the efforts of the outgoing Democratic administration:

    Nixon's sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that "she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should "hold on, we are gonna win."

    Or how about Reagan and the Iran Hostage release miraculously achieved on his Inauguration day?

    I just assumed treason is OK as long as you are Republican.

  2. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    Violating the Logan Act isn't treason, it's just a felony.  Folks need to get over this treason nonsense.  It's a very specific crime, not some casual label for something dickish or disagreeable.

    1. You don't own the language, psudy.  Pvt. Bradley manning was convicted of five counts of espionage, making him a traitor in my book.  The fact we are not in a declared war kept him from facing a treason charge, but not from the contempt that loyal Americans rightfully have for traitors.  I do defend Aussange from the treason charge, though.  He isn't an American.  Only the aussies can judge if he betrayed his country.  As to Trump and Cornhole, they betray American values.

      1. The word "traitor" doesn't require that the person you're describing committed the crime of treason.  I'm addressing the title of this article, which is "Treason."

        Private Manning was not convicted of committing treason. Even the charge of which she was acquitted, aiding the enemy, is not treason. Treason requires both adherence to an enemy, which aiding the enemy does not, and witnesses or admission, which aiding the enemy does not. That doesn’t mean that you can’t feel she betrayed her duty or her country, viz is “a traitor.”

  3. Still having acceptance issues?

    Try ColoPols Therapy.

    Come up with a conspiracy theory and post it.

    Does not need to be reality based, as long as it makes you feel better.

    There you go Snowflake.  Hope you feel better.

    1. So this information is a conspiracy theory?  Interesting.  You do know that conspirators will never admit that there is a conspiracy because then everyone would know.  How about an honest response if the actor in this conversation had been a Democrat?

  4. Headline: Treason

    Evidence: A private citizen may have spoken to an Ambassador and in the course of that conversation the subject of sanctions may have been discussed.

    That amounts to betraying one's country?

    Not much of a leap in logic?

    Any facts to fill in the blanks?

    Nope.

    1. A "private citizen" who was tapped to be Trump's National Security Advisor.

      A rather long WaPo article questioning his history with Putin & Russia.  Undermining the country's position with Russia because Putin & Trump are friendly. 

      All you have are weaksauce rationalizations.

      1. They aren’t even rationalizations man with no name.  All he can do is insinuate that this is sore loser sour grapes when he is the one who can't move on.  Of course when the cupboard is bare than there isn’t much left to do but deny that anything done by a Republican has the potential for corruption and deceit.  There are no rationalizations that could be discussed.  It's all feigned ignorance to avoid having to perform his patriotic duty to use rational intellect to provide a different perspective.  I'm still waiting for Andrew to produce a thoughtful paragraph.  I'm sure like the replacement to the Affordable Care Act, his lucid commentary is just around the corner.

    2. § 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments.

      Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

      This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

      If Flynn made the call, he did the crime, even based on the evidence you provided just now, if he even once mentioned action that might be taken on sanctions.

    3. So you are at least admitting there was a phone call between a Trump official and a Russian spy/ambassador.  That's a start Andrew.  I'm sure you were very concerned about national secrets being exposed by Hillary Clinton when it was discovered she was using a private email server.  I am sure you would agree that there was a lot of interest by folks like you in finding out what was in those emails.  Now that we have established that a Trump official had a private phone call with a Russian agent and that phone call was not recorded.  Are you concerned that our national security might have been compromised by this unrecorded phone call with a country that has been a historic enemy of democratic governments.  If you were so convinced that something sinister had taken place with Mrs. Clinton's email server then how is it that you are sticking your fingers in you ears and going la-la-la-la-la about this potential national security leak?  Are you only concerned about national security when Democrats are involved?  Seriously is that how you define a security threat?  Please give us an honest answer why you want to ignore this potential meeting in the dark with a historic enemy of American democracy.

    1. This is Comey's FBI you are talking about.  In findings that will surprise no one, they will exonerate him and recommend that he get a medal like the Order of Lenin or the Reagan Iran Contra Duplicity award.

  5. This is so fucking dangerous to the American people. It is going to require McCain, et al to take the party lead. This is so clearly the WORST fucking electoral consequence and it is NOT Hillary's fault. This administration is both corrupt and thoroughly incompetent. 

  6. Maddow has a comprehensive take on this story.

     

    I can tell that it's disturbing me because last night, I dreamed about taking babies and disabled people into a bomb shelter. Who the hell has bomb shelters anymore?

    The cold war between the US and Russia is not only over, they're practically going steady now. But somehow, it doesn't make me feel safer.

    Will anyone in power actually have the spine to prosecute and force Flynn to stand down?

    We know Gardner will talk circles around this, but will Congress actually do anything meaningful?

     

  7. Other than:

    1) there was an admitted conversation by Flynn and the Russian Ambassador; and

    2) an admission that the subject of sanctions was discussed;

    what other facts exist that take this from those two facts, to some law was violated?

    There is some WaPost fake news reporter speculation out there, but what other facts are there?

    1. The other fact is that the conversation took place on the same day and immediately after sanctions had been imposed on Russia for interfering with the elections of the United States of America.  Does that cause just a tiny flicker of thought that maybe some one in Congress should be conducting an investigation into why Mr. Flynn was calling the Russian Ambassador on the same day that sanctions were announced that would have had negative consequences for Russian interference.

      Probably the question that I would like to see Andrew answer is if he thinks sanctions were justified or does he believe that it is OK for Russia to tamper with our democratic processes so that we become more like them with an authoritarian ruler for life?  Since you have convinced yourself Andrew that you are a superior patriot to liberals, how do you feel about Russian interference in our elections?  What if Russia had supported the Democratic candidate and release video of Trump balling whores in Moscow hotels.  Fake or not would you think that kind of Russian interference was good for our democracy?  Are you at all concerned that Russia will interfere with our 2018 elections and finish destroying the concept of free and fair elections of limited service?  Flynn will or will not face consequences for his phone call the same way that Bill Clinton faced consequences for boarding the plane of the Attorney General.  The only real question is whether patriots such as Andrew believe that interference with our political processes is acceptable as long as the interfering party sides with Republicans.  So Andrew you have been far braver than Moderatus to actually come back and continue your comments.  Can you do us one last favor and let us know how you feel about interference in our political processes by a country that gave birth to Pravda and ruthlessly assassinates journalists?

      1. Excellent post,GG.

        It won't be long until people start turning up missing…accidents will happen…

        They will not succeed until our democracy is fully disfunctional, hence the blitzkreig on the court.

      2. Oh snap! The sanctions were from interfering with the elections? I thought it was Crimea sanctions or something.  I would agree the Flynn should face the same consequences as Bill Clinton for boarding the plane of the Attorney General. What happened to him again?

        1. You're not really that naive. Flynn made 9 separate calls to the Russian ambassador to discuss why Obama's sanctions would not be a problem under a Trump presidency. 

          The Russian election  hacking was deliberate, sustained, and purposeful action to sway the electorate to support a Putin-friendly candidate. It included many falsehoods and distortions of the truth, i.e. a forged letter purportedly from HRC's doctor, false  reports of sex trafficking at pizza places, and more of the same, as well as more that we don't know of because it is still classified.

          That is qualitatively different from a one-off conversation Bill had with AG Lynch on a plane. The Logan act pretty clearly covers Flynn's conversation, and pretty clearly does not cover Bill Clinton's conversation.  You understand this. Yet you're chooseing to try to spin them as of equal weight. 

          1. Hmmm…Why did you not tell Gilpin Guy the same thing? I simply agree with him:

            Flynn will or will not face consequences for his phone call the same way that Bill Clinton faced consequences for boarding the plane of the Attorney General.

             

            Duke thought it was an excellent post – Is he naive too?

            We can hash out Russia again if you like, but a forged doctor letter means nothing compared to a video of HRC collapsing 9/11. And suggesting a false sex scandal by the Russians swayed the electorate of the Clintons is comical, given the multitude of real, domestic sex scandals of the Clintons.  

             

             

             

            1. What  comedy Negev.  You voted for an known adulterer and sexual predator and then pontificate about Clinton sex scandals.  Trump was fucking Ivanka before he divorced his second wife and you're telling me that the Mrs. Clinton is a terrible person for saving her first marriage.  What the fuck does you're blind eye towards Trump's infidelity and moral turpitude have to do with Russian attempts to undermine free and fair elections in our country and the sanctions imposed on them for their deliberate actions to undermine our most sacred democratic principles?  Whose side are you on comrade?

              1. Whats comical is that Russia, in their deliberate actions to undermine our most sacred democratic principles, uses a freakin sex scandal, on the Clintons. The Clintons have had and overcome many sex scandals, unscathed. If I were a Russian, the very last thing I would consider to be an effective measure to disrupt the Clintons would be a sex scandal. You have been duped. 

                 

                1. What sex scandal Negev.  Spell it out.  I never heard of it.  Please explain and provide some evidence of this "sex scandal".

                  What I was referring to was Clinton meeting the Attorney General on a plane for a few minutes that was misconstrued as an attempt to squash the email server probe which in the end produced nothing but promulgated the narrative that vindictive Republicans would continue to hound Mrs. Clinton if she was elected.

                  You are conflating Trump's debauchery with something Bill Clinton did in the 90's.  Please provide some evidence that isn't from some White Supremacist website.

                  1. Better yet.  Why don't you just tell us if you support Russian interference with our elections?  Forget all the deflections and evasions about Clinton and sex.  Tell us if you think it is OK for foreign governments to meddle in our elections?  Simple question.  Give us an honest answer.

                    1. No. I don't think it is OK for foreign governments to meddle in our elections. That is my honest answer. Now, can you give me an honest answer? What exactly did the Russians do to meddle in our elections?

                       

                  2. No, I was using the information provided by Mama:

                    The Russian election hacking was deliberate, sustained, and purposeful action to sway the electorate to support a Putin-friendly candidate. It included many falsehoods and distortions of the truth, i.e. a forged letter purportedly from HRC's doctor, false reports of sex trafficking at pizza places, and more of the same, as well as more that we don't know of because it is still classified. 

                     

                    I don't feel in any way Mama is a white supremacist, for the record.   

              2. Negev is on one side. His own, and, by association, his guns. Otherwise, he'll smile and wave as the boxcars roll by, filled with innocents, as long as they leave him and his guns alone. You know, in case they're needed to fight tyranny.  

                  1. "when Soros starts investing in rail stocks……"  To be accurate, at least the Burlington Northern Santa Fe is owned by Berkshire Hathaway; i.e., Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger. So Soros can’t invest there.

                    Why just focus on Soros, Negev? You overlook the likes of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the Ricketts family, etc.; all of whom are big funders for the right and far right.

                    "I thought it was Crimea sanctions or something….."  Too bad you're so flippant about the thousands of Ukrainian dead as a result of Russia's interference in another sovereign country.

                    1. Why should Negev care about human beings?  If you'd said something about gun control in Crimea, then he might have cared.  

                    2. On the contrary, I would submit to you that if Flynn's conversation was a discussion of lifting sanctions for the invasion of Crimea, it may warrant the response you are presenting. But no, this grand violation of the Logan Act is over sanctions from stolen emails about pizza. It's really quite pathetic.

                       

            2. Nope..

              Negev…please do not confuse my praise of GGs' post with an agreement that Clintons' and Flynns' transgressions were of equal measure..they both faced consequences…no one said they should be the same.

                    1. Sticking with the inane cliches, I see.  Gonna favor us with some late 80's SNL quotes next?  

            1. Hard to quantify the impact it had.  But since you're okay with any degree of Russian interference in the election, it's safe to say your loyalty belongs to whoever Donald belongs to.   

        1. What was harmed was the Constitution of the United States.  The document of liberty that says Americans should choose their own destiny and not be pawns of a foreign power.  It is typically appalling that Republicans like you scream about how much you love the Constitution but when it gets down to defending it from threats both foreign and domestic, you line up with the enemies of America because you don't really care about the mechanisms of democracy but only the results which results in totalitarian rule for Republicans.  Who is to say what their next attempt at interference in our electoral process will produce.  What a total fool to think that tolerating interference in our elections by foreign governments is a good thing as long as the result is a Republican win.  Maybe a tiny human being like you should be more concerned with election fraud than voter fraud but like the Grinch it would require you to have a heart.

        2. What is it that makes you so eager to embrace Russian interference in American elections Pear?  If Trump and his Republican cronies lift sanctions on Russia then Tillotson's 500 billion deal will go through and Russia will have the resources to destabilize democracies around the world.  Do you like the way the Russians train for the Olympics?  Are you only disappointed that they got caught systematically cheating Americans out of medals?  Do you like the way they support despots like Assad who have no problems killing his own citizens.  Why do you love Russia and their efforts to undermine the will of the American people?  Please give a thoughtful answer.

          1. Don't hold your breath, GG. You asked for a thoughtful reply..if you get one, it will be the first one this asshat who calls himself Ponderous Poop (or something like that) has ever produced.

             

            1. I know but at least you give them a chance to write in complete sentences and articulate their positions which seems to be impossible for them to do.  I really would like to know why they love Russia and want them to interfere in American elections.  Just give me one reason why you support Russian interference and Flynn's reassurances that the sanctions won't last.

  8. Since you continue to play your one note song that nothing is wrong, how about this this piece.  The CIA has denied Flynn security clearance.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/mike-flynn-nsa-aide-trump-234923

    You didn't seem the least bit concerned about 'facts' regarding Mrs. Clinton's email server and national security.  Why are 'facts' all of a sudden your only criteria for concern. 

    I would think that when someone with the assets of the CIA says this guy shouldn't receive classified material, it should make the hairs on your arm stand up with a "Ruh-Roh. I'm supporting friends of the enemies of my country.  How could I have turned into such a total traitor in regards to national security".

    I get the feeling that you are fine with selling our country down the river because those Russians have white skins so the Russian Mafia can't be as bad as the cartels for our national security and the person in question isn't a Democrat.  Are you really that much of a partisan extremist?

    1. My mistake.  It wasn't Flynn who was denied security clearance but one of his aides.  Come on Andrew.  Use this as proof that Flynn was just talking to the Soviet/Russian Ambassador immediately after the announcement of sanctions about Psoriasis treatments.  "Move along.  Nothing to see here.  We were talking about Psoriasis".  Do it Andrew.  Show us the errors of our ways and how speaking to the Russians without a transcript is good for Merika.

  9. Treason……..no

    Logan Act violation……probably not

    Incredibly stupid move on Flynn's part……..yes.

    Andrew Carnegie defending Flynn through thick and thin……well, everybody needs a defense. That’s built into the nation’s legal system. Is Andrew being smart? Considering his statements (WaPost fake news, etc.) about the Flynn case/situation, probably not. 

    1. The fact that we're getting the silence of the lambs treatment form him regarding his opinions on Russian interference in our elections tells me that he isn't all that interested in having a robust dialogue on this website.  It is just the same old 'We're superior human beings and patriots to Democrats because we won" snark delivered in stale, drab, dullness that is a clear reflection of his thinking processes.  No rationality or reasonableness to his positions and deflection of anything that resembles a discussion of real issues like the interference of foreign governments in our elections.  Not a fucking word on what's wrong with rewarding Russia for trying to influence our elections.  That's pretty weak writing and  patriotism in my book.

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