Russiagate: The evidence Dems just gave Mueller against Michael Flynn looks particularly damning
Michael Flynn does not want to talk. President Trump’s disgraced ex-national security adviser
has reportedly refused a new request to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee as a witness in the ongoing Russia probe. A congressional source cited by CNN said Flynn has declined a second request to appear before the committee after citing his Fifth Amendment rights to dodge the same request back in May.
Flynn, who resigned from the White House in February amid scrutiny over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, is a key figure in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into possible collusion between Moscow and Trump’s team during the 2016 election. Flynn had earlier offered to testify before both the Senate and House intelligence committees in exchange for full immunity, though his demands were not met. Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment for the CNN report.
House Democrats sent special counsel Robert Mueller what they say is evidence that former national security adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a trip he took to the Middle East to explore a business deal with the Saudi government and a Russian government agent.
The Democrats allege the retired Army lieutenant general broke the law by omitting the trip, according to the letter they sent to Flynn’s former business partners requesting more information about his overseas travels and contacts.
The letter [click on image to right for a full-sized version] was sent by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, and New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee. No Republicans from the two GOP-led committees signed onto the letter, a copy of which was also sent to Mueller.
Democrats sought information from three American companies in June after Newsweek reported that Flynn traveled to the Middle East in the summer of 2015 to broker a $100 billion deal between the companies, Saudi Arabia and Russia’s nuclear power agency. In response, officials from the US companies provided statements to the Democrats, confirming Flynn’s trip in 2015.
When Flynn returned to the US several months later and reapplied for his security clearance, he never disclosed the trip or the contacts he had with foreign nationals as part of the trip, the Democrats say.
The Guardian emphasizes this angle of the story:
Among startling new details unearthed by investigators working for a congressional committee is that the nuclear power plan Flynn was allegedly secretly promoting, during the campaign and once he joined the White House, involved a Russian state-owned company currently under US sanctions.
To top off Flynn’s growing woes, Politico has revealed yet another apparent “Flynn-flam” while on Team Trump:
As a top official in U.S. President Donald Trump’s transition team, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn actively promoted a private-sector scheme to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle East known informally in the transition as the “Marshall Plan.” But he did not publicly disclose that backers of the plan had paid him at least $25,000.
Flynn communicated during the transition with the backers of the for-profit plan, billed as a way of strengthening ties between the U.S. and Arab allies looking to develop nuclear power capability. Meanwhile, the Trump adviser expressed his support for the plan with people inside the transition —and discussed its merits with others beyond Trump Tower, according to sources within and close to the Trump team at that time.
Flynn’s consulting work for the company has been previously reported, but not the extent of his involvement during the Trump transition, nor the full amount he was paid for it.
All of this follows yeaterday’s breaking news concerning the White House finally surrendering documents to Robert Mueller’s multiple probes of the White House, Russiagate, and possible obstruction of justice:
A team of attorneys at Jones Day, the firm representing the Trump campaign, is finding the documents that relate to Mueller’s queries of the campaign, sources have told The Daily Beast. And John Dowd, an attorney representing the president, said that the campaign is in “total cooperation” with Mueller on the matter.
“Jones Day has got a wonderful team handling the production,” Dowd said.
He added that the campaign has already turned over some documents to Mueller’s investigators and is in the process of producing more. Dowd said he has been personally delivering the documents to Mueller.
Ben Ginsberg, the longtime Republican lawyer who represents the campaign for Jones Day, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Trump campaign has previously turned over documents to congressional investigators looking into the possibility of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
That those documents have now been given to Mueller is a sign that the two investigations are covering similar ground, albeit from unique investigative vantage points.
It also suggests that Mueller’s investigation is covering a great deal of ground, and will not be completely over in the near future.