Russia bragged during the campaign about controlling Flynn
Donald Trump’s former nat sec adviser Michael Flynn, whom POTUS misses deeply, was considered an ally by Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, CNN reported Friday night. Conversations monitored by U.S. intelligence document the Kremlin’s bragging about their relationship with Flynn and his utility as a tool to influence the White House.
Concerns that Flynn was compromised were so strong that U.S. intelligence officials went out of their way to hide information from him. From the report:
The conversations deeply concerned US intelligence officials, some of whom acted on their own to limit how much sensitive information they shared with Flynn, who was tapped to become Trump’s national security adviser, current and former governments officials said.
“This was a five-alarm fire from early on,” one former Obama administration official said, “the way the Russians were talking about him.” Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.
The scoop echoes claims by ousted acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn was considered a Russian marionette, whom she urged the White House to fire. Yates recently told Anderson Cooper:
I think that this was a serious compromise situation, that the Russians had real leverage. He also had lied to the vice president of the United States. Whether he’s fired or not is a decision for the President of the United States to make. But, it doesn’t seem like that’s a person who should be sitting in the national security adviser position.
Flynn’s relationship with Russia developed over the course of the campaign, after he accepted $45,000 from the Kremlin-run Russia Today to attend a gala honoring the news network in December 2015. CNN reports that intelligence officials noticed an uptick in communication after the event between Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak. The romance eventually culminated in Flynn promising Kislyak during the transition that the U.S. would ease sanctions on Russia applied by the Obama administration for, among other things, Russia’s documented election interference.
Flynn’s lawyer declined to comment. A White House spokesman told CNN, “We are confident that when these inquiries are complete there will be no evidence to support any collusion between the campaign and Russia.” Flynn is one of several Trump associates under federal investigation by special counsel Mark Mueller for collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice.
Meanwhile, Trump reportedly regrets firing Flynn and is passing him “warm messages” through his staff, as one does to the person foreboding your impeachment.