I’m working on a round-up of everything we know about #TrumpRussia – no BS, no conspiracy theories, just what we know at the moment – and I want to have it done for the 100-day marker, or at least before I head off on vacation next week, but we’ll see. It’s a lot of information to put together.
In the meantime, there’s new news. You should remember that Michael Flynn – he was the former National Security Advisor to Trump who was fired. To sum up, Michael Flynn
- got paid – a lot – to lobby for the Turkish government in Washington while working with Trump during the transition,
- got paid – a lot – to appear on Russian propaganda networks like RT and Sputnik,
- got fired for having chats with the Russian ambassador about possibly removing the sanctions against Russia for election meddling, during the transition, before he had any authority to be discussing removing those sanctions,
- failed to register as a foreign agent which he should have done because he was working on behalf of a foreign government to lobby our government,
- and is in a whole bunch of hot water legally for failing to disclose any of the payments he received from foreign governments before beginning work at the White House.
It turns out the guy Flynn was working for while he lobbied for Turkey, Ekim Alptekin, coordinated Turkish lobbying in DC with a guy named “Dmitri ‘David’ Zaikin, a Soviet-born former executive in Russian energy and mining companies who also has had dealings with Putin’s government” (1).
So Flynn… well, that dude has a lot of Russia on him, is all I’m saying.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and the House Oversight Committee are saying Flynn definitely broke the law by taking all that money from Turkey and Russia and not disclosing it, and the Oversight Committee requested paperwork from the White House last month so they could continue their investigation into the situation. The White House has refused to release that information.
I’m not going to try to draw a lot of conclusions here because I just don’t know enough about all this stuff to offer anything very intelligent. Here’s what I will tell you: this is not how innocent people act. I don’t know what all might have gone on – we don’t know what all might have gone on, yet. Just based on what’s known publicly, things look real bad.
If you’re innocent, you make a great big show of helpfulness and transparency. If you maybe did one or two things wrong, you still make a big show, to help distract and take the focus off the one or two things. If you did a whole bunch of illegal crap, then you stonewall like crazy. Especially if you did a whole bunch of illegal crap but not particularly well, because you know one guy tugging on one thread is going to pull the whole damn rug apart. And that’s what the Trump administration’s actions look like right now.
- Politico: Lawmakers: Flynn did not disclose Russia payments in security clearance application
- Politico: Flynn’s Turkish lobbying linked to Russia
- TPM: Chaffetz, Cummings: Flynn Could’ve Broken Law By Accepting Foreign Payments
- Washington Post: Flynn likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign payments, House Oversight leaders say
Meanwhile, former acting attorney general Sally Yates and former director of national intelligence James Clapper are set to testify on the Russian election diddling in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 8. They’re also expected to testify in front of an open House intelligence panel hearing sometime after May 2. I suspect we’re going to learn some interesting tidbits from those two.
- Politico: Senate Judiciary sets date for Yates, Clapper testimony on Russia
- TPM: Former AG Sally Yates To Testify May 8 In Congressional Russia Probe
And finally, to wrap things up, Trump did an interview with the AP on his first hundred days that was… good lord, people, it was just full of BS. Like, it was so full of bullshit and lies that it’s proof god doesn’t exist, because if he did, Trump would have been struck dead by lightning for lying that much all in one go. It was amazing.
Here’s the fact checkers:
- Washington Post Fact Checker: Fact-checking President Trump’s Pinocchio-laden Associated Press interview
- Politifact: Fact-checking Trump’s AP interview about his first 100 days
- Vox: 5 bizarre moments from Trump’s freewheeling interview with the Associated Press
- AP: AP Fact Check: Misfires in Trump’s AP Interview
Washington Post: Trump’s over-the-top, boastful AP interview, annotated
- Mashable: We parsed Trump’s AP interview so you don’t have to try and read it.