12:08AM May 15, 2020
Welcome to a new episode of system update. I'm Glenn Greenwald. This edition is an in depth exploration of the Sham corrupt prosecution of former Obama defense official and former Trump National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, a prosecution which the Department of Justice on May the seventh announced that it was asking a court to dismiss. There are multiple reasons why it is so critical to understand what actually happened in this case and what didn't happen in this case. To begin with. There are very melodramatic, even apocalyptic proclamations circulating in various media and political circles about the significance of the Justice Department's decision to drop the prosecution These flamboyant warnings about the critical importance of the Flynn prosecution and the cataclysmic consequences of the Justice Department's decision to request its dismissal are particularly odd since General Flynn was accused of a single crime lying to the FBI pled guilty to it. And then the prosecutor Robert Moeller and his prosecutorial team acknowledge that the crime was not particularly serious by recommending to the judge that General Flynn be sentenced to not a single day in prison, citing both the cooperation he gave to the prosecution as well as the nature of the crime. So even the prosecutors in this case, have said that the conviction that came from the plea bargain doesn't weren't a second in prison time. And yet we're hearing that the refusal to proceed with it is the end of American justice as we know it parently under this view, prior subversions of justice by the executive branch, such as The Act that I regard as the single most corrupt attack on basic justice in the United States, it's a decision by President Bush 41 to part in numerous of his closest aides implicated in crimes relating to the Iran Contra scandal, including his defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger who had been charged with perjury crimes and trials that would have likely led to the investigation and probably the conviction of President Bush 41 himself. The claim is that all of that pales in comparison to the Justice Department's decision to drop the case against General Flynn. The same is true for President Clinton's pardon of the extremely wealthy and high democratic donor Mark rich, or the Obama administration's decision to immunize the tortures of the CIA, who was part of the Bush administration tortured people around the world in order to enable President Obama's political agenda to be realized. All of this, we're being told is essentially trivial in comparison to the decision by the Justice Department to drop the case against General Flynn. There's another reason it's so important to understand what happened in this case, which is that it sheds light on and directly relates to very widespread corruption on the part of the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ and other agencies within the US security state during the 2016 election. For overtly political ends we already know of several extremely shocking revelations demonstrating abuse of power on the part of those agencies as part of the 2016 election. The molar investigation itself revealed that the two critical conspiracy theories that drove Russia gate for three years number one that Donald Trump and the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 election and that number two The Kremlin exerted all kinds of blackmail leverage over Donald Trump to effectively be able to rule the United States for the benefit of Moscow using not just compromising videotapes, but also financial leverage. We know that all of that turned out to be a myth, a conspiracy theory without basis. And we know that for all kinds of reasons, particularly the fact that the Muller investigation, after 18 months of highly aggressive subpoena driven probes into every component of those conspiracy theories ended without indicting even a single American, not one single American indicted for the crime of conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election in the Muller report didn't even hint that let alone give credibility to let alone prove that there was any leverage being exerted over Donald Trump or the Trump White House by the Kremlin when it comes to things like blackmail average or other financial leverage. So the collapse of those two core conspiracy theories by themselves, auto reveal that what happened in terms of this sweeping investigation during a presidential election under President Obama, by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and other agencies within the security state is a much greater scandal than the supposes scandal of Russia gate and Trump Russia collusion that commanded and claimed the attention of our political immediate class for almost three years. But beyond that generalized corruption, there is very specific corruption that has already been demonstrated in terms of how the investigation into Russia gate has been conducted corruption, which notably and revealingly has received very little attention. Perhaps the most egregious of it concerns the spying that was done by the FBI by the Justice Department on US citizen and former Trump advisor Trump campaign advisor Carter page. It was revealed throughout 2017 and into 2018 that the FBI had obtained Pfizer warrants to spy on the communications of Carter page. spying on the email and telephone communications of a US citizen is one of the most draconian acts that the FBI and the US government can do. And yet they did it to Carter page after shortly after he had served as an advisor to the Trump campaign yet while the presidential campaign was still underway, and for two years we heard Carter page is clearly an agent of the Russian government. He was clearly a key cog in the conspiracy to conspire between Trump the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the election. We heard it vehemently denied that the steel dossier, the unproven unvetted mountain of allegations served as a basis for the Pfizer allegation and yet, after a very comprehensive investigation, By the Inspector General of the Department of Justice in 2019, a comprehensive report was issued that concluded that not only was there no basis for believing that Carter page was an agent of the Russian government, but the FBI lied to the Pfizer court, in order to obtain the Warrens, to eavesdrop on him an incredibly serious scandal for the FBI to spy on somebody who had been associated with a rival campaign during a presidential election, when it turned out that not only was there no basis for doing so, but that they actually lied to the court in order to obtain those warnings, and it was the molar report itself. That made clear that there was never any reason to believe, contrary to the definitive assertions of the media and political consensus that we heard for years, there was no reason to believe that Carter page was ever an agent of the Russian government. The molar report itself, concluded quote, Carter page work for the Trump campaign from January 2016 to September 2016. He lived and worked in Russia. However, the investigation did not establish that page coordinated with the Russian government and its efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. And to this very date Carter page has never been charged with any crimes relating to the investigation of Russia gate. He was never charged as being an agent of the Russian government. He was never charged with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. It turns out the key whatever you think of him, was unjustly spied upon by his own government by the United States government as part of this Russia gate hysteria. There are other aspects of the molar investigation that also reveals serious corruption on the part not of the targets of the investigation, but the investigators itself. They used a highly shady long term CIA officer They have named Steven Halper, who is most famous or infamous, for having acted as a spy for the reagan campaign in 1980. By working within the Carter administration and passing classified foreign policy deliberations and decisions on the part of the Carter presidency to the reagan campaign, it was widely believed that it was run through Reagan's vice presidential candidate george bush 41, who had previously been the director of the CIA and had all kinds of CIA contacts. But Halper was wildly discredited for his role in that spying campaign on the Carter presidency. And yet hopper pops up in the middle of the Russia gate investigation to serve as an informant on the part of the FBI essentially a spy planted within the circle of Trump campaign officials to approach George papadopolis and to approach Carter page and report back what he was hearing and finding to the FBI. Exactly what has long been claimed that the FBI had essentially planted a spy, a former CIA operative with close ties to the Bush's within the Trump campaign during the course of the presidential election. But also, it was the same Stephen Harper that first tried to raise concerns that General Flynn had should have his patriotism and his loyalties held under suspicion, because he claimed that General Flynn was speaking with and working with a Russian scholar, a woman named Svetlana le Cova, who was at Oxford, and he was concerned Stephen Harper was he said that Svetlana likova was basically a honeypot a sexpot, designed to entrap General Flynn to turn into a spy. As it turns out, there's zero evidence that Svetlana likova was anything other than a scholar studying at Oxford. She suing not only helps But also numerous media outlets that depicted her in these terms essentially as being a prostitute somebody exploiting sex in exchange for information on behalf of the Russian government. It was Halper, who did that to Flynn. It was very similar to the way that the Justice Department when they announced their indictment of the Russian citizen Maria boo Tina for having engaged in activism in the United States, which they claimed it was being done in the part of the right on behalf of the Russian government without disclosing that she was doing so not a serious crime. Washington is full of people acting on behalf of foreign governments, who don't file their disclosure forms, but because she was Russian it was made into a big deal, but the worst part was, they use the same massage monistic stereotype about Russian women claiming that she too, had traded sex for information. The media smeared her essentially also as a prostitute in headlines claiming she traded sex for information only for it to turn out that it was a complete fabrication on the part of the justice department which ultimately admitted that it was false. So we see all kinds of actual corruption on the part of the investigators themselves. And I think this corruption and how it function in the mentality that drove it is most illustrated by the Sham corrupt prosecution of Michael Flynn, which has finally now come to an end which makes it so urgent that people understand what actually happened here. There are other really important reasons why it's so critical to dive deeply into and understand fully what happened in the Flynn prosecution. Another reason is that there has been a spate of newly revealed evidence critical and incriminating evidence over the last several weeks in the form of FBI notes concerning their attempt to ensnare Michael Flynn into criminality, House Intelligence Committee transcripts that were part of their family. occation into Russia gate and the Muller probe as well as new documents that were part of various Pfizer processes that have shed all new light on the corruption that drove not just the Michael Flynn prosecution, but the broader corruption and the very similar corruption that drove the entire Russia gate conspiracy theory as well, that makes it more vital than ever to understand exactly what happened here. And then the final reason that I think it's so imperative to spend the time to delve deeply into this question this event is that in order to justify and support the prosecution of Michael Flynn, and in order to depict the decision by the Justice Department to drop that prosecution and in order to justify the broader Moeller probe and the prosecution's that it entailed, it has been necessary for Democrats for liberals and even for people on the left to renounce jettison long held long standing principles about the criminal justice system, about the abuses of the Justice Department and the CIA and the NSA about the way in which these powers of surveillance and prosecution often are abused for improper and for political ends. It is extraordinary to hear, for example, people in the democratic party or who associated liberals are on the left saying things like, why if Michael Flynn didn't do anything wrong? would he lie to the FBI or why if Michael Flynn didn't commit a crime would he have pled guilty when for decades it has been known that innocent people plead guilty all the time because the rules of the justice system are so rigged against them that they're incentivized to plead guilty even when they've done nothing wrong. There have been law review articles written and very celebrated newspaper journal essays by judges dot documenting the reasons why the criminal justice system and the way in which it's so tilted in favor of the prosecution in the Justice Department and the FBI makes it so that innocent people routinely and frequently plead guilty because of tactics that prosecutor can use, and suddenly that all of that is cast aside in order to defend the Michael Flynn prosecution and to insist that he belongs in prison in the broader probe of the molar investigation. So I think it's really worth thinking and not just in the factual events of the Flynn prosecution, but also the principles underpinning it and the reasons why I and others believe that this prosecution has been a corrupt sham. And there's one point I think it is vital to make before delving into the facts about this entire discussion concerning the Michael Flynn prosecution, which is the following. There is nothing ideological about one's views regarding the justifiability of microphones. prosecution, just like there has never been anything ideological about one's views of the propriety of the molar investigation, or the conspiracy theories that gave rise to it. These are not ideological questions. They are evidentiary questions, which is a separation, a distinction that is crucial to understanding and talking about politics in a meaningful way. But that has been deliberately abolished at illogical questions, whether you're on the left or the right and tell things like what is your view of the proper American foreign policy? What is your view of the justifiability of particular wars or invasions or bombing campaigns? What is your view of the proper rate of corporate taxation or programs to eliminate income inequality or wealth inequality or provide help and assistance and subsidies to the neediest people in society? All of those questions are ideological, they're about policy disputes, and how you answer them determines whether you're on the left or the right and conversely, whether you're on the left or right should determine how you answer those questions. That is not true. For issues like whether you believe the Michael Flynn prosecution was justifiable, it is not true for whether or not you believe the conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia conspiring for the election, or Trump being blackmailed by Vladimir Putin, actually are supported by evidence that has nothing to do with ideology. There's nothing left wing or right wing, about evaluating whether there's evidence to support those conspiracies, there's nothing left wing or right wing, left wing or right wing, about your views on whether or not the prosecution of Michael Flynn was justifiable or whether it was a corrupt abuse of power. They're not ideological, what they are, are tribal. And this is what I think is a critical point about our politics. Our politics in the United States, have become stripped a politics of ideology, they are politics of paradox, and they become de politicized, so that now whether you're characterized as being The left or the right, or the center has almost nothing to do with your actual views on ideological and political questions, the ones I enumerated earlier, they have everything to do with your tribal loyalty, whether you're willing to say things, even if you don't believe them to advance the cause of one side or the other. Whether the prosecution of Michael Flynn was justified, has nothing to do with left wing right wing ideology. It has everything to do with your tribal loyalty. It's now expected that if you're going to be on the left or liberal or Democrat, you have to cheer for the prosecution of Michael Flynn because he's on the other side, just like if you're going to be on the right, you have to view the prosecution of Michael Flynn as having been unjustified. This is a terrible and a distorting and a deceitful and a warping and obfuscating way to think about politics. We need to get back to understanding the difference between ideological questions, what are your views on policy issues? versus evidentiary issues whether you think a claim is supported by the evidence that ought to have nothing to do with your ideological perspective, in fact, has nothing to do with your ideology. So in talking about whether the prosecution of Michael Flynn was supported by evidence, whether and talking about whether the prosecution of Michael Flynn was legally justified, there's nothing remotely left wing or right wing about that, except to the extent that as I mentioned earlier, left wing views of Criminal Justice and the criminal law, auto lead one to find the prosecution very troublesome. But beyond that, we ought to be able to engage in evidentiary questions including things like, do we believe Christine Blasi Ford Do we believe Tara Reid's allegations against Joe Biden that are also stripped free of ideology, and discuss them only as rational beings analyzing evidence independent of ideology, whether you're on The left or the right should be left to ideological questions. What are your views on foreign and domestic policy? evidentiary questions one should be free to discuss those without the stigma or punishment of being accused of having a certain ideology because one is siding with one side's interests or the other. It doesn't make you on the left to cheer Michael Flynn's prosecution even though Michael Flynn is a right wing General, just like it doesn't make you on the right to question that prosecution or believe that it was unjustifiable. It is vital that we get back to this distinction and politics to be able to have meaningful rational discourse with one another about evidentiary questions that shouldn't be determined by how one wants to be perceived ideologically. To really understand the Flynn prosecution, we need to first understand who Michael Flynn is. Michael Flynn is a lifelong army intelligence officer who during the war on terror from 2002 until 2012 became Renowned in military circles for his innovative use of intelligence, both in Iraq and Afghanistan and really built a reputation as a modern, innovative smart intelligence officer through those activities, and that led in 2012, to President Obama appointing him to one of the most important positions in all of the intelligence community, which is the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which oversees all military intelligence for the Pentagon and closely works with the CIA and the other prongs of the intelligence community. It's an incredibly sensitive and incredibly influential position. General Flynn held that position for roughly two years because almost from the beginning, he and President Obama and President Obama's national security team clashed continuously. It's really not an overstatement to say that President Obama after a very short period of time couldn't stand Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn is exactly the kind of general and exactly the kind of official that President Obama strongly dislikes. And the feeling was very mutual. General Flynn became a very blunt and explicit critic of many of Obama's core counterterrorism programs insisting, for example, that President Obama's reliance on drone strikes, which was a centerpiece of the Obama counterterrorism program was wildly insufficient, and in fact, was counterproductive. He was also very aggressively critical of President Obama's policy in Syria, particularly allowing the CIA to train Syrian rebels telling Obama over and over that those Syrian rebels were overwhelmingly Islamic extremists to belong to al Qaeda and other radical groups and that the US was there for arming and training and empowering the very groups the war on terror was supposed to be dedicated toward fighting there were personality content. Because General Flynn tends to be very assertive and very messy, whereas President Obama like cerebral and organized kinds of managers, but there were also definitely hardcore ideological and policy distinctions that ultimately culminated in in General Flynn being forced out of his position in 2014, a relatively short period of time for someone to stay in that position. And by the time they left, there was a great deal of acrimony between President Obama and his white house on the one hand, and General Flynn on the other, which really matters for the events a year or two later, regarding general flames First, the investigation of him and then ultimately his prosecution. Just to give you a sense of what an outspoken critic General Flynn became, especially once he was fired slash resigned from retired from that position with President Obama's administration in 2015. My colleague Jeremy Scahill, working with other reporters at the intercept published a brown groundbreaking Breaking expos a called the drone papers which publish large amounts of previously secret and classified information revealing the truth about President Obama's drone program, including the most incriminating fact that nine out of 10 people that are killed by President Obama's drone program were people whose identity was unknown to the US government, people they were not at all trying to kill there were huge numbers of the killings of innocent people far beyond what had previously been known. And as part of that story, Jeremy interviewed General Flynn and he was very explicit and unfettered in his harsh critiques of President Obama's counterterrorism strategy and his reliance on drones. This is what he told Jeremy quote, the drone campaign right now really is only about killing when you hear the phrase quote, capture kill. Capture is actually a misnomer in the drone strategy that we have capture is lowercase C we don't capture people anymore. Our entire Middle East policies Seems to be based on firing drones out what this administration decided to do, and its counterterrorism campaign. They're enamored of the ability of special operations in the CIA to find a guy in the middle of the desert in some shitty little village and drop a bomb on his head and kill him. He continued in that same vein charging the White House relies heavily on drone strikes for reasons of expediency rather than effectiveness. He said, quote, we've tended to say drop another bomb via drone and put out a headline that quote, We killed a blue bag of doughnuts and it makes us feel good for 24 hours. And you know what, it doesn't matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder. Now, it's important to point out here that General Flynn was not a critic of Obama's drone program, for the same reasons that many people on the left were quite the contrary, he disliked President Obama's reliance on drones because he wanted other kinds of more aggressive counterterrorism programs, including capturing people detaining them in Guantanamo, rendering them to foreign countries and harshly interrogating them. Because he thought that drones precluded the ability to interrogate them the more valuable way of dealing with terrorists to gain information, because it was simply an easy way to just kill them without expending any resources. So he was oftentimes critical of Obama from the right. And I want to make clear that in a lot of the differences, many probably most of the differences on ideology and policy between General Flynn on the one hand and President Obama on the other side with President Obama, I have very little ideological compatibility with General Flynn when it comes to things like the war on terror. The important point here is that despite the fact that he's most definitely rightly in general and was criticizing President Obama from the right, he wanted a more hawkish and more aggressive oriented program. That was why he disliked drones because he thought it was just a symbolic and cheap way of dealing with terrorism. What was important and what is important for the subsequent events is the fact that President Obama seeds But seeds was contempt for General Flynn and the feeling was very mutual. After General Flynn left the administration, he started a consulting firm along with his son whose name is also Michael Flynn. And they represented numerous clients as people who leave the military and intelligence world often do, including foreign governments, including interest connected to the Turkish government, and that consulting work that General Flynn did at times was not properly disclosed, as it is very common for consultants not to disclose their work. But that was the work that he was doing between 2014 when he left the Obama administration and 2016 in the middle of 2016 when he became an important surrogate for the Trump presidential campaign. In fact, Donald Trump was so comfortable working with Michael Flynn that he began seriously considering him to be his vice president and Michael Flynn played an increasingly important role as the presidential campaign. progressed in being a national security surrogate for Donald Trump and his consulting work, including ones connected with foreign governments continued even as he was an important campaign started getting an important campaign official for the Trump campaign. What we now know because of an inspector general's report in 2019 issue through the Justice Department is that in the middle of 2016, when the FBI and the Department of Justice and other agencies first began investigating ties between the Trump campaign on the one hand and the Russian government on the other a camp, an investigation that we now know was launched in the middle of the presidential campaign, overseen by James clapper and by Jim Comey. One of the targets of that investigation was General Flynn despite the fact that he was a lifelong army intelligence official in very sensitive positions. The FBI was actually investigating Whether he had corrupt or improper or even treasonous ties to the Russian government.
But as it turns out, the FBI found nothing to support those suspicions. And in early January of 2019, obviously once Donald Trump was elected, and then chose Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser, the FBI decided that it would close its investigation of General Flynn with regard to whether he was engaged in any improper dealings with the Russians. That was the criminal probe. The FBI launched against fun in 2016. That ended in early January because no evidence was found to support the suspicions that fueled it in the first place. Shortly after President Trump's 2016 election victory in early November, it became circulated because the Trump campaign circulated it that the now President Elect Donald Trump was strongly considering choosing Michael To be his national security adviser or to serve in some other high level position on his national security team and President Obama met with Donald Trump after Trump's victory, and one of the things he told Trump he urged him not to hire Michael Flynn, insisting that he was unreliable, that he was unstable, that he was an ideologue who couldn't be trusted, indicating demonstrating that this acrimony that Obama harbored for Flynn continued for at least two years after General Flynn leftism ministration. But Donald Trump being Donald Trump disregarded President Obama's advice and announced on November 17 that Michael Flynn would become his national security adviser The following month in December, as the Trump transition team was preparing to take over as of the January 20 inauguration. General Flynn was obviously an important part of that transition team being that he was going to be the national security adviser and on December 29. President Obama, the Obama administration announced a new series of sanctions, as well as the expulsion of various diplomats aimed at Russia in order to punish Russia for what the Obama administration said was Russia's interference in the 2016 election. It was Obama's last one of his last acts on the way out the door was to give democrats what they wanted by sanctioning Russia, imposing imposing new sanctions on Russia and expelling Russian diplomat bats as retaliation or punishment for what they claim was Russian interference in the 2016 election. One of Donald Trump's core foreign policy planks when he was running for office was improved relations with Russia. His argument was we don't need to be at odds with Russia in Syria because we need neither of us have an interest in toppling Bashar Al Assad. We all have an interest jointly Russia, Syria, United States in working to defeat al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. He wanted to work with Russia and other parts of the world to strategically instead that the confrontation between the United States and Russia was not an American's interest and therefore, he wanted positive relations with Russia. For that reason, once the Obama administration announced the sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats, General Flynn pay ready to take office as National Security Adviser called the Russian ambassador to the United States surged Kislyak on two separate occasions on that day, December 29. When these new reprisals were announced, essentially to tell him Look, there's no reason for you to overreact. There's no reason for you to retaliate. We're about to take office in three weeks, we're going to improve relations with you, we're going to have a whole new relationship, so there's no reason for you to do anything now that will force us in turn to retaliate. He was essentially trying to tamp down tensions to lay the groundwork for one of President Trump's President Elect Trump's campaign promises and foreign policy objectives which was to improve relations with Russia, it is extremely common for transition teams and for national security officials who are incoming and an administration to reach out to their counterparts to try and create a new positive relationship. And that's what General Flynn did by twice calling Ambassador Kislyak, whom he had known from his experience working as director of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency on December 29. Now those two conversations that General Flynn had with Ambassador Kislyak were being monitored and recorded by the National Security Agency something that is extremely common is standard practice, as General Flynn knows and knew, because the NSA monitors and records the calls of as many officials as they possibly can, particularly in governments they consider to be adversarial such as Russia. That was part of what we did with the Snowden reporting which showed how many officials from foreign Governments even allied ones like the German Chancellor on Gong Gong Gong Merkel or the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and so many others the NSA was spying on so General Flynn obviously knew and he later told the FBI that he knew that those conversations were being monitored or recorded, but they were being monitored and recorded because the NSA had successfully obtained access to Ambassador Kislyak x communications knowledge of those two telephone calls that Michael Flynn had with Ambassador Kislyak made its way to two particular officials with the FBI, Peter struck, and Lisa Paige who became very controversial later on both because they were having an affair with one another, an extramarital affair, but more importantly, because there were all kinds of email exchanges between the two throughout the 2016 presidential election as they were participating in the investigation of the Trump campaign, where they were explicitly talking about the need to make certain that Donald Trump lost and then the need once he wants to impede him to damage him and to try and undermine him any way that they can. So it was these two FBI officials who discovered these conversations that General Flynn had with Ambassador Kislyak. As I indicated earlier, James Comey and the leadership of the FBI had decided to close the only pending investigation that the FBI had into General Flynn, which was part of the operation hurricane investigation the investigation about improper ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government James Comey and the FBI leadership I concluded there was no evidence to believe that General Flynn had any improper contacts or connections with let alone had conspired with the Russian government during the election and as ordered that investigation closed and filed the paperwork in early January. But when Peter struck and Lisa page got hold of these conversations that Ambassador Kislyak had had with General Flynn and decided they wanted to investigate him for it and use it against him. They discovered in early January That the order that James Comey and FBI leadership had given to close the investigation against Michael Flynn never was finalized because of a bureaucratic snafu. That investigation contrary to the decision that the FBI had remained open and what the newly discovered documents reveal, among other things, is that Peter struck and Lisa page celebrated. The bureaucratic snafu was good luck because it meant that there was now a still a pending investigation that was supposed to have been closed into General Flynn, who they could latch on to and hook on to in order to try and investigate him. Now because of these new conversations that he had with Ambassador Kislyak. Once these conversations were discovered between Flynn and Kislyak, the FBI and the DOJ had what you could call an inter nice in war, about how they should be handled. James Comey wanted to investigate General Flynn. He wanted to do what he could use these newly discovered calls Against General Flynn, but the Justice Department then led by acting director, acting Attorney General Sally Yates, believe that it was improper to investigate what was about to be a high level White House official without notifying the Trump transition team and then the Trump White House that the FBI was investigating what was seemed to become a very high level official, and they thought about it and they thought about it until James Comey without notifying the attorney general or the Justice Department officials who were opposed to it sent FBI agents to general Flynn's office with the intention of questioning him about the telephone calls that he had with the Russian ambassador, one of the most significant new documents revealed just within the last couple of weeks, that has notably received very little attention and precisely those media outlets that most vociferous Lee pushed maximalist Russia gate conspiracy theories for three years and that have been most vehement about denouncing the DOJ is attempt to destroy Missed the prosecution against General Flynn are handwritten notes by the FBI counterintelligence t bill pre staff on January 24. The day that FBI agents including Peter struck were sent to General Flynn to interrogate him about the calls that he had with general kiss boys, Ambassador Kislyak, and those handwritten notes made clear that the FBI was overtly flirting with an entertaining if not outright, executing an interrogation with corrupt and improper motives specifically to purposely induce General Flynn to lie to them so that they could use those lies to then punish him or turn him into a criminal to handwritten notes from the FBI official bill pre step specifically explicitly state quote, what's our goal truth slash admission or to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired?
This is revealing that the FBI had no real interest in interviewing General Flynn about what he said to Ambassador Kislyak because they already knew what he said since they had the transcripts of those conversations the result of the surveillance that was done on those calls, the only conceivable objective to go and interview him was to purposely induce him to lie not show him those transcripts, asked him what he talked about in that conversation that he had almost a month earlier, and the hope of getting him to lie so that they could get him fired. Not exactly a legitimate FBI objective, or turn him into a criminal create a new crime by using their power of interrogation to induce him to lie and then charged him with lying to the FBI. Whatever the ultimate motive was, these notes are highly incriminating about what the FBI his real intentions were. When they went to go and question him about those calls. Now it took place in the interim between those two episodes between the discovery by the FBI Lisa Peter struck in early January of the two conversations between Flynn and Kislyak. In January 24, when the FBI over the objections of the Justice Department without even the knowledge of the Justice Department sent agents to interview General Flynn about those conversations. The events in the interim are critical to understanding just how severe is the abuse of power on the part of the security state agencies. Those events are critical to begin with, it was in that first week of January, when the FBI Director James Comey went to New York to brief then President Elect Donald Trump in the Trump Tower. I'm what we now know is the steel dossier to claim that there was a dossier compiled, claiming that President Putin of Russia and the Kremlin had in its possession highly compromising information about President Trump about the financial and sexual nature that would enable the Kremlin to blackmail the new US president and that briefing and that dossier was leaked by someone, obviously wanting the public to then know about it to CNN and CNN on January 10, reported that the director of the FBI had gone and briefed President Elect Trump to inform him of highly compromising information in the hands of the Kremlin. But this but cnn said that they weren't going to describe the nature of that compromising information because they hadn't been able to vet it or determine whether or not it was really true. But that was a limitation that BuzzFeed quickly decided that they were not going to be constrained by him so very predictably, and almost certainly intentionally from the perspective of whoever leaked this briefing. BuzzFeed then published what is now called the steel dossier. And that forever altered the course of Russia gate those allegations those scurrilous and ultimately unproven allegations in the steel dossier. About the Kremlin holding blackmail information over Trump about the Sexual and the financial nature and all of the other highly inflammatory inflammatory material ended up shaping what became Russia gate and at least the first two to three years of the Trump presidency leaked by the very, very same people who were in the process of now exploiting the failure to close the Flint investigation to also investigate. General Flint warning president like Trump is responding more firmly this morning to claims that Russia has compromising personal and financial information about him. CBS News has confirmed FBI Director James Comey personally briefed the president elect last week about the claims sources say Comey did not mention all the salacious details from a 35 page report. The dossier was produced by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. He worked for an investigative firm in London called Orbis business intelligence. Steel's investigation was commissioned by fusion GPS a Washington research company and unidentified client requested the information after the leaking of the seal dossier first to CNN and then the publication of it by BuzzFeed. And during the interim when the FBI was planning to go in interrogate General Flynn about his two innocuous conversations with the Russian ambassador, other leaks began being deployed in order to subvert and undermine what had been the Trump administration before it even became the Trump administration before President Trump's inauguration on January 12 of 2017. The Washington Post David Ignatius, who has built a career, receiving leaks from the CIA and publishing what the CIA wants him to publish published a column in which he revealed for the first time that the NSA had monitored the conversations between General Flynn on the one hand and Ambassador Kislyak on the other and after that, the contents of the communications between General Flynn Ambassador Kislyak were elite to both the Washington Post and the New York Times, which published in detail what those communications were. Now the reason that's so striking is because under the law, it is a crime, obviously, to leak classified information of any kind, any information that's classified, if somebody inside the government leaks it to a journalist, that's a crime. But there's only a narrow number of types of information that can become a crime for the journalists to actually publish it. The most serious kind of information is not only a crime for that leaker to leak to the journalists, but for the journalists to publish it. And one of those types of information is exactly the type that people inside the intelligence community leaked in order to destroy the reputation of General Flynn, namely intercepts by the NSA, of the communications of foreign officials. And the reason that the intelligence community in the law regards leaks of that type. So scraped is such a grave offense is obvious because it has the potential to ruin the ability of the NSA to continue to monitor that information by alerting the adversary that they have access to that communication. If you look at the relevant law, which is title 18 of the US Code Section 798 that specifies when it's a crime not just to leak classified information, but for a journalist to publish it. It specifies exactly the kind of information that people inside the government are leaking against General Flynn that's how far they were willing to go that law reads quote, whoever knowingly and willfully communicates or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person or publishes any class government shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. Now, you can see it explicitly provides that the crime is not just leaking. But publishing it's one of the few types of leaks where you can actually criminalize the journalist now I'm against this law. I don't Think that leakers or journalists should ever be prosecuted, but under the law, most leaks do not are not criminalized when they're when they're published by the journalists. But this type of leak is so sensitive, leaking the private communications of a foreign government official, and somebody else at the NSA monitors that it's even a crime under the US code for a newspaper like the Washington Post The New York Times even to publish it, but they did publish it because it was leaked to them, which shows how far the intelligence community was willing to go now look at what was being done. Just look at what was being done. Inside the US security state, the intelligence community and the Justice Department and homeland security in the CIA and the NSA. They initiated investigation of the Trump campaign in the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign. They targeted a US citizen who had been affiliated with that campaign, with Pfizer warrants that were filled with and based on lies and based on an invented dossier provided to them That was the steel dossier. They used informants an informant who had an tereus record of having spied on the US government to benefit the Reagan administration in order to act as informants against officials of the Trump campaign. They targeted General Flynn with claims that he was maintaining a sexual relationship with a Russian scholar at Oxford to call into question his patriotism. They were leaking highly scurrilous information that was unvetted and unproven to try and make Americans have a vision of the president elect as somebody who had been in the Moscow Ritz Carlton having prostitute to urinate on him to the point where he was a blackmail victim of a foreign power and they were launching an investigation against the general for innocuous cause by exploiting a bureaucratic failure to close the investigation that had been opened against him. Because there were no there was no evidence to To support the legitimacy of that investigation, look at how concerted was the effort to target these members of the Trump campaign and then the Trump transition team to subvert the incoming president to create crimes where none had exist to leak in a way that was criminal in order to dirty the reputation. The key context for all of this is not just the abuse of power, the Pfizer process leaking the ability to open investigations against people in the middle of a presidential campaign. The key contacts is what Chuck Schumer told Rachel Maddow after Donald Trump had criticized the CIA for having gotten w MD so wrong. As part of the Iraq War. He warned President Trump on Rachel Maddow Show that if he stood opposed to the intelligence community if he tried to force their policy interest or criticize them in any way, they had multiple weapons that they could use and would use to destroy him. Listen to Chuck Schumer himself, explaining How he views the intelligence community willingness and willingness to abuse their own power.