Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Further Debunks Trump Defenders, But Provides No Support For Claims From Democratic Partisans About 2016 Election

The known facts regarding the Russia investigations continue to contradict the claims of partisans on both sides. Michael Flynn’s guilty plea and deal with Robert Mueller further contradicts the claims of Trump supporters that there is nothing to be investigated. On the other hand, the evidence continues to either fail to substantiate or outright contradict the claims from pro-Clinton partisans that the matter is based upon a conspiracy which altered the results of the 2016 election.

While there is evidence to date for reason to continue to investigate both financial irregularities by Trump and his family, and attempts by Trump to obstruct justice to cover up the activities of his family and close associates, there has been no evidence that any votes were changed, despite attempts by Democratic partisans to claim this based upon rather bizarre logic. Some members of the media, as well as Democratic partisans, are continuing to try to twist the facts to support such claims. ABC News was embarrassed yesterday with a report it later retracted. CNN reported:

ABC News on Friday evening corrected an explosive special report that aired in the morning saying that Donald Trump, as a candidate for president, had asked Michael Flynn to make contact with Russians.

During “World News Tonight,” ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross said the source who had provided the initial information for his story later told him that it was as president-elect, not as a candidate, that Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians.

The initial report, based on one anonymous source, prompted a dramatic reaction in the financial markets, and the Dow fell more than 350 points

Several hours later, a spokesperson for the network told CNN that Ross would be issuing a “clarification” on “World News Tonight,” which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET.

“[A] clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today,” Ross said on the program. “He said the president had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign. He’s now clarifying that saying, according to Flynn, candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other world hot spots. And then after the election, the president-elect asked him to contact Russia on issues including working together to fight ISIS.”

Vox did a far better job of separating out the facts from the claims made by Clinton supporters. From their coverage:

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. It’s the biggest development yet in the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — and the legal move that poses the most direct threat to the Trump presidency itself.

Flynn pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI on or around January 24 about conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, the Office of the Special Counsel announced Friday. It’s important to note that he did not admit to colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Other reports also indicate that communications with Russia were regarding matters which had nothing to do with altering the election results, while also contradicting claims from Donald Trump. From The New York Times:

When President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions.

But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia.

While Mr. Trump has disparaged as a Democratic “hoax” any claims that he or his aides had unusual interactions with Russian officials, the records suggest that the Trump transition team was intensely focused on improving relations with Moscow and was willing to intervene to pursue that goal despite a request from the Obama administration that it not sow confusion about official American policy before Mr. Trump took office.

On Dec. 29, a transition adviser to Mr. Trump, K. T. McFarland, wrote in an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.

It is not clear whether Ms. McFarland was saying she believed that the election had in fact been thrown. A White House lawyer said on Friday that she meant only that the Democrats were portraying it that way.

While there might be legal issues with members of the incoming Trump administration trying to negotiate with Russia before Trump took office, along with legal problems arising from the cover-up of such contact, efforts “focused on improving relations with Moscow” after the election are quite different from the Democratic claims of a pre-election conspiracy to affect the election results.

The improvement of relations with Russia might be counter to the goals of Hillary Clinton and her neocon allies who seek regime change in Russia, but improving ties is hardly a sinister goal on the part of Trump.  Democratic partisans might claim that this was being done in return for support from Russia during the election. However, there is no evidence either of actions by Russia which altered the election result, or such a quid quo pro between Trump and Russia. Even if such evidence should arise in the future, it is clear that Democrats were making such claims without evidence at the time. As was revealed in Shattered, Hillary Clinton devised a strategy of blaming others, including Russia, for her loss within twenty-four hours of losing. The claim that Russia affected the election result was largely based upon the Steele Dossier. Clinton and the DNC had covered up their role in paying for this report for months, casting doubt on its reliability.

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9 Comments

  1. 1
    SocraticGadfly says:

    Ross has now been suspended four weeks without pay. By no means his first major gaffe.

  2. 2
    The Dark Avenger says:

    Mr. Bossert forwarded Ms. McFarland’s Dec. 29 email exchange about the sanctions to six other Trump advisers, including Mr. Flynn; Reince Priebus, who had been named as chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, the senior strategist; and Sean Spicer, who would become the press secretary.

    Mr. Obama, she wrote, was trying to “box Trump in diplomatically with Russia,” which could limit his options with other countries, including Iran and Syria. “Russia is key that unlocks door,” she wrote.

    She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia, and were aimed at “discrediting Trump’s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.”

    “If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote.

    Mr. Bossert replied by urging all the top advisers to “defend election legitimacy now.”

    https://crooksandliars.com/2017/12/kt-mcfarland-admits-russia-has-just-thrown

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    The above excerpt is taken out of context, leaving out the important qualifications including that"the fuller version of the McFarland quote supports her defence that she was referring to a Democratic perception that Russia threw the election to Trump, not that she was making this claim herself." 

    Taking McFarland's email out of context is analogous to the incorrect and retracted report from ABC News. Those supporting Clinton's take repeatedly wind up with "evidence" to back them which totally falls apart on full analysis. 

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Plus of course the entire case against Flynn contradicts the claims from Clinton and other Democratic partisans.  If the charges against Flynn are true, and they most likely are considering that he plead guilty, Clinton's claims most likely are not. There would be no need for Trump to have him contact Russia AFTER THE ELECTION if the Trump campaign and Russia were colluding prior to the election. Similarly there would have been no need for the attempt at setting up a back door communications channel after the election if they had been colluding prior to the election.

  5. 5
    The Dark Avenger says:

    It is not clear whether Ms. McFarland was saying she believed that the election had in fact been thrown. A White House lawyer said on Friday that she meant only that the Democrats were portraying it that way.

    But it is evident from the emails — which were obtained from someone who had access to transition team communications — that after learning that President Barack Obama would expel 35 Russian diplomats, the Trump team quickly strategized about how to reassure Russia. The Trump advisers feared that a cycle of retaliation between the United States and Russia would keep the spotlight on Moscow’s election meddling, tarnishing Mr. Trump’s victory and potentially hobbling his presidency from the start.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/us/russia-mcfarland-flynn-trump-emails.html?referer=https://crooksandliars.com/2017/12/kt-mcfarland-admits-russia-has-just-thrown

     

     

     

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Again, this provides no evidence that Russia had any effect on the election results and responds to the Democratic spin.

    Just saying there was election meddling says nothing to support Clinton’s claims. Russia has meddled in our election for decades. The United States has meddled in foreign elections even more than Russia had. Much of Russia’s actions in 2016 had nothing to do with supporting Trump over Clinton.

  7. 7
    The Dark Avenger says:

    Why were they worried about the “perception” if there was nothing behind the “perception”?

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Perception matters quite a bit in politics, regardless of whether there is anything behind it. The degree of Russia hysteria spread by the Clinton camp and her neocon allies is just one example of this.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Perception also matters quite a bit in foreign policy. The false perceptions about Russia spread by Clinton and other neocons is currently dangerous, just as the false perceptions they spread about Iraq and WMD led to war.

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