DOMINO EFFECT: After Flynn’s Fall, Kushner And Pence Could Be Next To Collapse In Mueller’s Russia Probe
On Friday, Michael Flynn entered into a guilty plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. The move is extremely bad news for President Trump, who is now worried about what the man who was his closest national security aide has told federal prosecutors ramping up their probe into the Trump team’s possible collusion with Moscow during the 2016 campaign.
Flynn plea bargain could also be a major problem for Trump’s own son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner and for Vice President Mike Pence.
Afer Friday’s bombshell report that Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, it was revealed that one of the alleged falsehoods that led to Flynn’s indictment puts Kushner at the center of an elaborate, multinational effort to undermine then-President Barack Obama at the behest of then-President-elect Trump.
In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council was nearing a vote on a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Obama administration, then in its last full month in office, had decided not to veto the resolution, a landmark shift in U.S. policy toward Israel.
It now appears that, behind the scenes, members of Trump’s transition team may have pressured other countries to delay the vote until Trump took office.
Flynn said “a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team” ordered him to call officials from foreign governments in an attempt to block the vote, according to court records. Sources told several news outlets that Kushner is that senior official.
“Jared called Flynn and told him, you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote,” a Trump transition official who was in the room with Flynn at the time of the call told Bloomberg News, adding that Kushner described the issue as “a top priority for the president.”
Such coordination could be a violation of the Logan Act, a federal law passed in 1799 that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.
Additionally, a Reuters report claims there were two phone calls between Kushner and Kislyak during the campaign, though Kushner’s lawyer said he had no recollection of these.
That’s not all. A report from McClatchy’s Peter Stone and Greg Gordon also suggests that investigators are taking a close look at the Trump campaign’s digital operation, which Kushner oversaw, with an eye toward whether there was any collaboration with Russian cyber operatives and bots targeting voters in key states or precincts.
Finally, it’s also worth noting that when President Trump was considering firing FBI Director Comey back in May, Kushner was reportedly one of the most prominent advisers arguing that he should go ahead and do it. That disastrous miscalculation led to the appointment of Mueller, the man who could eventually indict Kushner and other top Trump aides.
Flynn’s guilty plea is also scary news for VP Mike Pence.
Pence has managed to stay out of the Russia controversy by claiming he didn’t know about Flynn’s ties with the Russian government before the disgraced general was forced to resign in February.
But as Flynn cooperates with special counsel Mueller, the likelihood that Pence could be dragged into the mud grows by the minute.
As we reported before, Mueller is reviewing Sally Yates’ testimony before Congress, in which she raised questions about “Pence’s role in the widening Russia scandal.”
Yates told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she “warned the White House counsel twice” that Mike Flynn, the national security adviser, appeared to have been compromised by Russia and vulnerable to blackmail.
The Trump administration fired Yates on Jan. 30, four days after first alerting the White House about Flynn, who stayed on as national security adviser for another 18 days.
“The story Mike Pence has been telling the American people about Flynn does not add up or make sense,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said recently.
Vice President Mike Pence, he was the head of the transition when the transition was notified multiple times, including in person twice by Flynn’s lawyers, and in writing by Congress, that Mike Flynn had taken foreign payments.
Foreign payments were the subject of multiple press reports. NBC News reported that the Trump transition had direct knowledge of Mike Flynn’s payments from foreign sources, but nevertheless, Vice President Pence, head of the transition, proclaims he was perfectly ignorant of that fact until weeks after Mike Flynn was fired.