What did Trump Know About Flynn’s Talks With Russia, and When did He Know it?

by Mark Sumner –

There’s something about the words “full confidence.” In any administration, the fact that someone has to come out and say that a cabinet officer has the full confidence of the president is enough to let you know that there are very good reasons for that position to be in doubt. When the person on the receiving end of that “confidence” is carefully hiding out of public sight, then it’s a pretty good bet there are packing boxes being unfolded.

For Michael Flynn, it was Kellyanne Conway who delivered the full confidence speech following his heartfelt apology — pointedly delivered over the phone — to Mike Pence. So what was coming next seems almost obvious.

On the surface, Flynn’s apology should have been enough. If the extent of his sins was bobbling his statement to Pence, when he had given some vague response to a question on the topic of sanctions, it would have been enough. But clearly Flynn did more than mutter a “we can talk about that later.” The frequency of his communication, and the cluster of contacts around the time new sanctions were discussed, indicates it was more than a fly-by discussion. It was a focus of their talks.

When did Donald Trump know that Mike Flynn had been discussing sanctions—and other topics—with the Russian ambassador? Long enough for this …

The resolution had been heading this way for three days, an administration source told CNN.

What else did Flynn discuss with Russian officials? How much of that discussion was known to Donald Trump? When did Donald Trump know that Flynn’s public statements were untrue? How much did Flynn communicate with Putin while in Moscow? Or during his visits with the state-owned RT?

Trump may claim that he can shoot people on 5th Avenue without losing support, but he definitely has a sore spot, and that sore spot is Russia. Paul Manafort was ousted as Trump’s campaign manager when the extent of his Russia connections began to become clear. Carter Page was pushed into the “don’t know him” corner after his dealings with Russian oligarchs broke into the public. And now Michael Flynn is out for his communications with the Russian ambassador.

The question isn’t just what Trump knew about Flynn. It’s what he knew about Manafort, and Page, and Flynn — and what they know about Trump.

After all, it wasn’t just Michael Flynn telling the Russian ambassador not to sweat a response to the Obama-issued sanctions. It was also Donald Trump praising Putin for staying cool until help could arrive.

Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos