Morning Briefing: Trump Tweets, Mike Pence Now Ensnared In Michael Flynn Scandal
Donald Trump has finally broken his Twitter silence to … whine. He really needs to work on how to spell counsel.
With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
It’s telling that he’s calling out supposed “illegal acts,” as if saying, “Yes, we committed illegal acts, but so did Obama and they didn’t get a special counsel. WaaaaaaAAAAaaah.”
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
Oh shut the fuck up Donny.
It’s worth remembering in the midst of all this, that Trump is still threatening to leave NATO.
As far as White House gossip goes, Kimberly Guilfoyle is accusing Sean Spicer of putting out a hit piece on her, after she reportedly interviewed for his job.
Sources close to Kim Guilfoyle believe @PressSec planted a D.C. Examiner hit piece on her today - and say she thinks it's "sad!"— Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) May 18, 2017
Why would Guilfoyle even want that job at this point?
But here’s what we’re here to talk about this morning: Michael Flynn.
We have learned since last night a few more things, namely that Flynn and other Trump campaign officials were in contact with Russians at least 18 times during the campaign, including six conversations between Flynn and Sergei Kislyak.
Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.
This, of course, contradicts Mike Pence’s own statements that the campaign had no contact with Russia. Is Pence so out of the loop that he wouldn’t have known about repeated contacts with the Russians? Or is that evil bastard lying, too?
Meanwhile, we’re also learning that Michael Flynn asked Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice to hold off on a planned military operation, an operation the United States was keen to push ahead but that went against the wishes of Turkey. Flynn had been paid $500,000 to represent the interests of Turkey.
The decision came 10 days before Donald Trump had been sworn in as president, in a conversation with President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who had explained the Pentagon’s plan to retake the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa with Syrian Kurdish forces whom the Pentagon considered the U.S.’s most effective military partners. Obama’s national security team had decided to ask for Trump’s sign-off, since the plan would all but certainly be executed after Trump had become president.
Flynn didn’t hesitate. According to timelines distributed by members of Congress in the weeks since, Flynn told Rice to hold off, a move that would delay the military operation for months.
That could be treason.
If true, this could well be treason. And if what Flynn has on Trump is that Trump APPROVED that pro-Turkey assist to ISIS, then … ⬇️ https://t.co/zKDIbV7Axv— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 18, 2017
Meanwhile, the Times is reporting that Flynn told the Trump transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under investigation for his involvement with Turkey. Mike Pence was the head of the Trump transition team, so Mike Pence should have known about Flynn, which means that Pence has been lying all along, too.
1/4—McGahn was told about Flynn/Turkey, per NYT— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 18, 2017
3/9—Pence (who ran the transition); note what he says 2x—unprompted pic.twitter.com/T9eV4sAX0W
Additionally, now Pence is tacitly implicated in Flynn stuff that just came out because he was head of Trump transition team— Evan Siegfried (@evansiegfried) May 18, 2017
If Flynn goes to prison, what will happen to “Mother”?!
The news is so bleak and coming so fast that White House staffers are forming impromptu support groups to deal with their “grief.”
Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started contacting consultants, shopping their résumés. And at least one senior staffer has begun privately talking to friends about what a post-White House job would look like, according to two people close the staffer.
And it’s not just Trump’s team, either. It’s Pence’s team, as well.
There's total confusion and panic in the WH tonight. Not just among Trump's staff but Pence's too. Real concern Pence will go down w/ Trump.— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) May 18, 2017
In other words, when the special prosecutor is done here — or perhaps, even earlier — we may be looking at President Paul Ryan (*shudders*), and that might explain why Ryan — who loathed Donald Trump during the campaign — is now defending Trump. He wants to put a good face on it; he doesn’t want to look like he’s angling for the Presidency, but secretly, he knows that when the dust settles here, Paul Ryan might be sitting in the Oval Office.
Unless, of course, he knew that Trump was in bed with the Russians all along and decided to keep that a secret, or, you know, blew it off as a “joke.”
In that case, we’re looking at Orrin Hatch, who is super old, and if he dies, we’re looking at Rex “God Help Us All” Tillerson.