Sally Yates To Testify Today Revealing A Timeline of Trump/Flynn Deception.
Former Acting United States Attorney General Sally Yates is supposed to testify to Congress today in regards to the administration’s connections to Russia. She is expected to say she gave a “forceful warning” to the Trump Administration that Flynn lied about his conversations with Russians, that he did discuss the embargo with them, that three weeks before they fired Flynn the Trump Administration was informed of all of this and that they were informed this made Flynn a very real security risk because the Russians could blackmail him.
Of course, Trump did nothing regarding this security threat, heading the Defense Intelligence Agency, (in fact he labeled it “fake news”) until the media exposed the lie to Pence three weeks later.
More than two weeks after Yates’ “forceful warning” Trump said he was unaware of any reports on Flynn and his spokespersons said Trump had every confidence in Flynn. The day after Flynn’s firing Spicer downplayed what Yates said was a “forceful warning” of Flynn’s security risk saying that Yates merely “wanted to give a ‘heads up’ to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what he (Flynn) had sent the Vice President.”
A couple of days after firing Flynn Trump vigorously defended Flynn insisting “he did nothing wrong” while he blasted the “fake media” for having the audacity to report on the scandal. Trump insisted Flynn was just “doing his job” and stated “I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him if he didn’t do it.”
Typically, Trump would later reverse course and throw Flynn under the bus as he blamed the Obama Administration for giving Flynn a security clearance. This was his pathetic excuse for not doing his own security vetting on Flynn. This morning Trump tweeted “General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that.”
That takes a lot of hutzpah. Among other things it ignores that the events compromising Flynn with the Russians occurred after Flynn retired from service with the Obama Administration in 2014. Trump also ignores that in a November meeting Obama himself warned Trump about hiring Flynn.
After retiring, Flynn acted as a foreign agent (receiving over a $500,000 for doing so), without registering to do so in violation of the law (he is now trying to retroactively do so). In late 2015 he was paid by Russia propaganda arm “Russia Today” to give a speech at a gala.
Keep in mind that this was the guy who was chanting “lock her up” at the RNC about Hillary Clinton.
The following timeline focusing only on Flynn may be helpful. The reality is both more complicated and more indicting of the Trump Administration because of other Russian connections to the Trump campaign including Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
July 2012: Pursuant to Obama appointment Flynn becomes the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
April 2014: Flynn announces retirement as Director of the DIA about a year earlier than expected. Reports indicate he was forced out due to an abusive management style.
August 2014: Flynn retires from the military. He and his son subsequently set up the Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm providing intelligence services for business and governments.
December 2015: Flynn is paid $45,000 to speak at a gala dinner for Russia Today, an often virulently anti-American propaganda arm of the Russian government. Flynn is a guest of honor sitting at the same table as the Chief RT Editor and Putin. Afterwards, Flynn continues to make semi-regular appearances on RT as a guest commentator often favoring closer American cooperation with Russia. In 2015 Flynn also received over $11,000 in payment from a Russian cybersecurity company in 2015 that U.S. intelligence experts believe is involved Russian espionage.
February 2016: Flynn becomes an adviser to the Trump Campaign.
July 2016: It is reported that Flynn is one of those being considered as Trump’s Vice-Presidential candidate. Flynn later confirms he submitted vetting documents to the campaign for the potential appointment.
July 18, 2016: Flynn is a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, delivering a fiery speech and leading a chant to “lock her up” in regards to Hillary Clinton.
July 23, 2016: Flynn retweets an anti-semitic tweet. He later apologizes.
September 2016: Flynn’s consulting company is hired by a company owned by the Chair of the Turkish-American Business Council, which is an arm of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, to do lobbying work. Flynn’s company is paid over $500,000. This makes Flynn a foreign agent but he does not register as one as required by law.
November 10, 2016: In a post-election meeting President Obama warns President-elect Trump against hiring Flynn.
November 18, 2016: Ignoring Obama’s warning, Trump offers and Flynn accepts to serve as National Security Advisor in new administration.
December 28 2016: As rumors of sanctions swirled, Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak contacted Flynn and the they discussed Russian sanctions under a Trump administration. Flynn later denied the conversation even happened. Then he denied it discussed sanctions. Both were lies, the call was recorded because Kislyak, being a Russian spy, was under United States surveillance.
December 29 2016: In response to Russian hacking of the DNC, and other meddling in the U.S. election, Obama imposes sanctions on Russia that included expelling 35 Russian diplomats. A Russian response is expected. That day Flynn has at least five more calls with Sergey Kislyak aimed at muting the expected Russian retaliation. Once again, Flynn later denied the conversations even happened. Then he denied they discussed sanctions. Both were lies, the calls were recorded because Kislyak, being a Russian spy, was under United States surveillance. These calls arguably violated the Logan Act.
December 30, 2016: Putin announces (surprisingly at the time) that there will be no Russian retaliation for the U.S. sanctions.
December 31, 2016: Trump casts doubt on the Russia hacking story accepted by U.S. intelligence stating “it could be somebody else.” Over the next week Trump continues to cast aspirations at U.S. intelligence conclusions regarding the Russia hacking at one point stating in a Tweet that it might have been done by a 14 year old.
January 12, 2017: The Washington Post breaks the story of the late December phone calls between Flynn and Kislyak.
January 13, 2017: Trump tells the Wall Street Journal he is open to lifting the sanctions against Russia. Sean Spicer is asked about the WaPo article and says there was but one call between Flynn and Kislyak, on the 28th of December, that was merely an exchange of Christmas greetings and logistical coordination for an upcoming call with President-elect Trump.
January 15, 2017: Vice President-elect Mike Pence appeared on Face the Nation to strongly deny that sanctions had ever been discussed, in what Pence claimed was the one and only one call between Trump and Kislyak:
MIKE PENCE: I talked to General Flynn about that conversation and actually was initiated on Christmas Day he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place. It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.
JOHN DICKERSON: So did they ever have a conversation about sanctions ever on those days or any other day?
MIKE PENCE: They did not have a discussion contemporaneous with U.S. actions on —
JOHN DICKERSON: But what about after —
MIKE PENCE: — my conversation with General Flynn. Well, look. General Flynn has been in touch with diplomatic leaders, security leaders in some 30 countries. That’s exactly what the incoming national security advisor —
JOHN DICKERSON: Absolutely.
MIKE PENCE: — should do. But what I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.
JOHN DICKERSON: But that still leaves open the possibility that there might have been other conversations about the sanctions.
MIKE PENCE: I don’t believe there were more conversations.
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay. Okay. Okay. Let’s move on. Okay. Got it —
MIKE PENCE: I can confirm those elements were not a part of that discussion.
January 20, 2017: Trump is sworn in as President.
January 22, 2017: Wall Street Journal reports Flynn is under investigation by counterintelligence officials for his communication with Russian officials.
January 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates gives a “forceful warning” to the Trump Administration that Flynn lied about his conversations with Russians, that he did discuss the embargo with them, and that Flynn was a significant security risk because the Russians could use those lies to blackmail him. Yates told the administration this information was being provided so appropriate action could be taken.
January 27, 2017: Yates again meets with White House counsel emphasizing the blackmail risk. White House counsel asks if DOJ can provide additional supporting evidence and Yates informs him she will check. The discussion included whether the DOJ might be interested in criminally prosecuting Flynn.
January 30, 2017: First thing that morning Yates calls White House counsel and says they will share that information. That night Trump fires Yates, supposedly for refusing to defend his travel ban.
February 8, 2017: Flynn twice directly denies having any conversations regarding sanctions with Russian officials.
February 9, 2017: WaPo reports intelligence sources confirm Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russians. A Flynn spokesman now says that while Flynn “had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
February 10, 2017: Trump says he is unaware of any reports that Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. White House officials declare that Flynn has Trump’s full confidence.
February 13, 2017: In an MSNBC interview, Kellyanne Conway twice emphatically declares that “General Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president.” A few hours later Trump requests Flynn’s resignation and gets it. The NY Times reports there are separate investigations into the payments to Flynn associated with the Russian Times gala speech.
February 15, 2017: Trump describes Flynn as “a wonderful man” who was “treated very, very unfairly” by the “fake media.”
March 7, 2017: Flynn files a request to retroactively be identified as a foreign agent.
March 9, 2017: Sean Spicer denies Trump knew Flynn acted as a foreign agent before hiring him (note: Obama’s warning to Trump prior to Trump’s hiring him discussed above). VP Mike Pence says the revelations are “an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask General Flynn to resign.”
March 30, 2017: WSJ reports that Flynn has offered to testify in exchange for immunity.
March 31, 2017: Trump again defends Flynn in a tweet describing the investigations as a “witch hunt” against Flynn. The tweet also supports Flynn’s request for immunity even though with regards to the Hillary Clinton investigation Trump suggested immunity was only sought by guilty people.
April 27, 2017: The Pentagon announces an investigation into whether Flynn improperly accepted money from foreign governments without the required approval.
May 8, 2017: Sally Yates set to testify before Congress. Trump tweets . . .
The news doesn’t talk about it, Mr. President, because it is not relevant. The concerns related to Flynn’s security was for conduct after he left the Obama Administration. Still the Obama tried to tell you, and you ignored his advice. Maybe you should have listened.
EDIT: I have updated this timeline to reflect Yates’ testimony.