Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has been on a tear lately, and the fun reached a new level today. Those who have followed the story of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn have long inferred that the General had a target on his back right from the beginning of the Trump administration, even going back to the end of the Obama administration. Anyone naive enough to believe the problems with Flynn began with his entrance to the White House have been disabused of that notion today in black and white, as a very telling email from former NSA and Benghazi propagandist Susan Rice has now been declassified.
You’ll recall that Flynn was effectively entrapped by James Comey’s FBI—at the direction of Comey himself—by sending agents over to the White House during the chaotic transition period in order to pull a fast one. No lawyers were present and the agents themselves assured Flynn that none would be necessary.
If he only knew.
The agents, including overtly corrupt counterintelligence man Peter Strzok, hadn’t informed Flynn that they were in possession of transcripts of his calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. There was nothing inherently suspicious about Flynn’s calls to Kislyak, of course. As an incoming NSA, it was literally his job to communicate and coordinate with foreign counterparts. Indeed, building a relationship with a rival nuclear power is among the most important duties of the president’s chief national security voice.
All the same, the transcript of that communication, while itself suggesting no illegal activity, became the primary tool of a permanent state looking to collect the scalp of a high ranking administration official, one that would help to create a spooky Trump/Russia narrative that would be conveniently used by the media to drag down the new president’s first term at every turn.
Today’s revelation, while not new, helps to illuminate where and when the whole Flynn operation began. We now know with certainty that on January 5, 2017, Barack Obama met with his top intelligence and national security officials where the topic was how to protect the ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation, one that we should note hadn’t produced anything in the way of substantive evidence despite having been in full swing since at least the previous July. Despite having little to no ground to investigate the incoming administration in the first place, the FBI and White House were preoccupied with figuring out how to keep it going without said administration finding out — the very administration under which that same FBI would soon serve.
Bearing witness to the birth of an operation that was seditious by its very nature, Susan Rice decided to take what she felt was the smart, safe move: memorialization. Apparently, Rice felt it necessary to remind herself several times in a personal email that that President Obama needs everything done “by the book.” If doing things the right way was suddenly important enough to write down, one wonders what standards were being adhered to theretofore.
One needn’t conduct a deep dive analysis to understand that Rice was conducting a standard CYA maneuver. The lady doth protest too much — way too much.
To her credit, Rice acknowledged that no evidence of impropriety, such as the passing of classified intel, has been discovered as of her writing, citing a statement by Comey himself. Yet extraordinarily, she notes that Comey informed the president that there was “potential” for such shady actions from Flynn, his only evidence being a self-perceived “unusual” level of communication.
That an FBI Director would suggest that Gen. Flynn— a man whose job was to use our nation’s most sensitive information to provide guidance to the president—should be looked at with a side-eye or even denied certain information based on his own idea of what constitutes an “unusual level of communication” is not only asinine, it’s an insult to the intelligence of anyone who desires the truth about this investigation. It’s the type of excuse that is made by someone who has no excuses to give; a defense of the indefensible.
That this email even exists shows that everyone meeting with Obama in the West Wing that day understood that was happening was not kosher, and that outside observers would conclude the same. Of course, the email has done nothing to change that appearance, but that’s not the point. The law is not about what is known, but what can be proved. And given the broad investigative powers of the executive branch, that fact becomes all the more potent. Put another way — Team Obama doesn’t need a good excuse for what they did, they just need an excuse, period. And if the Almighty James Comey told the president that Flynn was not to be trusted, then by golly, they had no choice but to rein him in. You know, national security.
Many things were done under the banner of national security in Obama’s final days. The communications of American citizens, some of them members of an incoming administration, were intercepted and scanned on a daily basis by members of the Obama administration. The number of people with their ears to the ground of the Trump orbit remains unknown, as does the number of people who were spied upon. Given the information trends thus far, we can expect both those numbers to rise with time and declassification.
As for justice, well, that’s much trickier. As noted, the president has a wide berth when working under what is deemed a national security matter. Absent hard signals intelligence (SIGINT) of the president issuing illegal orders and conveying illicit intent, it’s extremely difficult to charge a POTUS with a crime. As noted by AG Barr this week, an abuse of power isn’t necessarily a crime. And no one knows how to skate that fine line like the Obama administration.
That does not, however, mean that no indictments are forthcoming. There are many more issues to be addressed regarding this corrupt CI investigation, especially as it relates to FISA warrants. There are also reports of official documents being changed, namely 302’s, which is absolutely a felony.
While we all pine for swift and public justice, the mission as of now is to inject as much sunlight as possible into an administration that flourished for 8 years in the protective shade of a compliant media. That media may still largely be in Obama’s back pocket, but the Intelligence Chief isn’t.
Assuming the promised subpoenas for the Comey crew come to fruition, answers will still need to be given on the national stage, just before an election no less. And this time, we’ve got the transcripts.
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