Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Trump's Russian Ties Getting Tighter by the Day

Well, that didn't take long. I'm now writing my first stand alone critique of the Trump administration.

Just 25 days into the Trump administration, a cabinet member has resigned in disgrace. General Michael Flynn, whose son was fired from the transition team for pushing the Comet Ping Pong PizzaGate conspiracy among other fake news stories, has resigned.

General Flynn, while still a private citizen, called a Russian official the day before President Obama levied sanctions against Russia for their interference in our elections. It's illegal for private citizens to communicate with foreign governments in this way. However, conviction for such a crime is extremely uncommon.

As we might expect from this administration, which has demonstrated zero integrity, Trump and his surrogates took to the airwaves to defend Mike Flynn from the accusations that his calls were inappropriate. Flynn claimed not to have discussed the sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Even Vice President Mike Pence went on record to state that Mike Flynn had not discussed the sanctions.

Of course, that was not true. Mike Flynn did discuss the sanctions. Either he did not inform Pence or the administration knew he spoke about the sanctions and decided to lie to cover for him. My suspicion is the former. I don't think Pence knowingly lied for Flynn. I think Flynn was not forthright with Pence (who knows about other members of the administration) and Pence ended up embarrassed.

Remember Sally Yates? If you don't, it's not surprising, because the administration's still behaving like a 5 year old on a sugar high in a room full of musical instruments. Sally Yates was the acting attorney general who was fired by Trump on January 30th (16 days ago) for refusing to enforce his now deemed illegal Muslim Ban executive order.

Turns out Sally Yates, who emerged as the first hero of the Trump Resistance, warned the White House that Mike Flynn may have been compromised by the Russians. When did she do this? Sometime between January 23rd (23 days ago), when she finally got James Comey to agree to informing Trump, and January 30th, when she was fired.

So the White House new for more than 2 weeks that Flynn may have been compromised by the Russians due to a series of communications with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and transition. And yet Flynn was still in top secret briefings until ... yesterday.

Remember Paul Manafort? He was the Trump campaign chairman who resigned on August 19, 2016. Why? Turns out he failed to disclose that he was working as a foreign agent, covertly lobbying to sway American favorability for the pro-Russian Ukrainian government. But wait there's more, Manafort's name appeared in secret ledger of recipients of cash paid by the same Ukrainian government. How much was he paid? $12.7 million.

While we don't yet know the depth or extent of Trump's Russian ties, this is not going to end well. For any of us.

Until next time I remain, a concerned citizen.

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