On Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced his appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation with little notice given to the White House. It took ten whole hours for Trump to throw a tantrum (possibly at the urging of Jared Kushner), and meanwhile, lots of news on Michael Flynn is suddenly pouring forth, which begs the question of whether Flynn’s strategically opening the floodgates because he knows that a sinking ship can’t save him.
One of these morsels involves a leak (from Flynn?) that he told Trump’s transition team how he was being investigated for Russian ties, and the president still appointed him. Yahoo News also has a rather intriguing story that shines light on reports of Trump’s regret at firing Flynn along with White House attorneys repeatedly warning Trump not to contact his former national security advisor. Flynn was feeling down and out during a consolatory dinner with friends at a Virginia restaurant, and he let slip that Trump contacted him on or around April 25 and urged him to “stay strong.” Oh boy:
Saddled with steep legal bills, Flynn wanted to reconnect with old friends and talk about potential future business opportunities. But one overriding question among those present were his views on the president who had fired him from his national security advisor post.
Flynn left little doubt about the answer. Not only did he remain loyal to President Trump; he indicated that he and the president were still in communication. “I just got a message from the president to stay strong,” Flynn said after the meal was over, according to two sources who are close to Flynn and are familiar with the conversation, which took place on April 25.
Yahoo doesn’t reveal whether the contact from Trump arrived via phone call, text, or through some other method. However and much like Trump’s request for then-FBI Director James Comey to kill the investigation into Flynn’s Russian ties (because he’s a “good guy”), this news carries a whiff of possible obstruction of justice.
The Associated Press is now reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been speaking with Flynn’s lawyers, who have hinted that he won’t honor a subpoena that demands all records of his communications with Russians. The answer isn’t definitive yet from Flynn, but one would imagine that he’s still jockeying for the best possible leverage.
One more Flynn tidbit has dropped (so far). McClatchy DC reports that Flynn — during the transition period — “conformed to the wishes of Turkey” on a plan to fight ISIS in their stronghold of Raqqa. Flynn made the call to delay a significant operation for months during a conversation with former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who had asked for the Trump administration’s input, since the operation would have occurred (and eventually did happen after Flynn’s firing) following the inauguration. Flynn’s decision appears to have been influenced by Turkey, who paid him over $500,000 to lobby on their behalf during the U.S. election.
Oh, and the Daily Beast has published word from at least three sources who say that a “reluctant” Flynn did not want the national security advisor gig (citing a desire to keep his private life), but Trump pressured him into taking the job. It follows that Trump allegedly wants Flynn back and thinks he can rehire him after this whole Russia matter blows over. What?
Are we all caught up on Flynn? Perhaps for a few hours, yes.