But getting back to Trump, he’s going to have to figure out a creative way to put the brakes on the Mueller probe if he wants to stay in office. Between the cooperating witness in Papadopoulos and the Manafort/Gates indictment, it’s clear that the special counsel isn’t fucking around here. Mueller will go after Flynn and Page next and then it’s just a matter of time before he gets to Kushner. After that, it’s over for Trump.
That’s what we said on Wednesday with regard to what’s next in the special counsel probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The writing is on the wall and Trump’s desperation as communicated in his recent Twitter tirade begging the Justice Department to provide some cover by launching an investigation into Hillary Clinton, is palpable.
Over the past couple of days, we’ve documented the extent which this is unraveling thanks in no small part to George Papadopoulos, whose guilty plea thrust a previously obscure campaign aide into the national spotlight. In the past six days alone, Jeff Sessions, Sam Clovis and Carter Page have all found themselves in the decidedly tough spot of having to speculate about what Mueller knows with regard to their interactions with Papadopoulos, who in all likelihood was flipped months ago.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump himself has been in damage control mode deriding Papadopoulos as “a low level” guy and claiming to not remember a meeting that was commemorated with the following #MAGA poster posted by Trump on his official, verified social media accounts:
On Saturday, we learned that contrary to Trump’s contention that Papadopoulos played virtually no role in the campaign, in reality he was on a 2016 panel discussion at the Republican National Convention during an event organized by the American Jewish Committee, where none other than Bob Corker delivered the opening remarks. Further, Papadopoulos gave an interview as a Trump campaign official to Interfax just six weeks before the election and also met with Israeli leaders during the inauguration in his capacity as “a foreign policy adviser for the President.”
Well on Sunday, in the latest domino to fall, NBC is out reporting that Mueller has enough evidence to charge Michael Flynn.
“Mueller is applying renewed pressure on Flynn following his indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” NBC says, citing three sources familiar with the investigation.
Investigators are set to interview “multiple witnesses” in the days ahead in order to extract more information about Flynn’s lobbying work. Among the issues being probed: possible money laundering and lying to federal agents about his overseas connections.
Mueller is also reportedly looking into whether Flynn tried to orchestrate the extradition of Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s arch nemesis Fethullah Gulen in exchange for “millions of dollars.” That’s a long-running story and it looks like Mueller is going to try and blow it wide open.
And it gets worse for Flynn. His son could be indicted as well on separate charges. And guess what? Mueller may try to use the younger Flynn as leverage to flip the father. To wit, from NBC:
Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, accompanied him during the campaign and briefly worked on the presidential transition, could be indicted separately or at the same time as his father, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.
If the elder Flynn is willing to cooperate with investigators in order to help his son, two of the sources said, it could also change his own fate, potentially limiting any legal consequences.
So Trump might want to think really long and hard about what’s more important to Flynn: loyalty to the President or the fate of his own son.
This comes just days after The Daily Beast reported that Flynn also pushed propaganda generated by Russian troll farms just days before the election. Recall this from their Tuesday piece:
Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn followed five Twitter accounts based out of the Russian-backed “troll factory” in St. Petersburg—and pushed their messages at least three times in the month before the 2016 election.
Over 2,750 troll accounts based out of the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency were made public by House investigators on Wednesday. The accounts, some of which had previously been identified by The Daily Beast as Russian-generated, were pulled from Twitter due to their ties to the troll factory over the past three months.
The Daily Beast had previously discovered Flynn, Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, and Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale retweeted Ten_GOP several times in the month before the election.
The news that Flynn also pushed Russian propaganda comes at an unwelcome time for the former three-star general and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn is one of the people under investigation by Robert Mueller’s widespread probe into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.
Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., was an even more ardent consumer of Russian troll content, retweeting the propaganda accounts 47 times in all, according to data in the Polititweet archive. Ten_GOP, an account he retweeted 37 times, benefited the most, with five retweets defending General Flynn, one purporting to debunk Russian election interference, and another pushing misinformation about a Twin Falls, Idaho assault case that Russia was then using to inflame anti-refugee sentiment in the US. The troll account Pamela_Moore13 got eight retweets, and Jenn_Abrams and rightnpr (“Right and Proud”) each enjoyed a single retweet from the junior Flynn, who also favored the Russian account USA_Gunslinger (“Gunslinger Girl” from “Wisconsin”) with a personal reply on election day.
We highlighted that Twin Falls bit for a reason. That would be the same Twin Falls incident that Alex Jones was sued by Chobani yogurt for propagandizing and which was promoted via what would later come to be identified as a Russian-linked Facebook account. We documented that extensively including the Alex Jones connection in this post:
Starting to get the picture? This is coming apart at the seams – and that is not hyperbole. This entire charade became so convoluted that it seems likely everyone involved believed that investigators would have no hope of getting to the bottom of it.
But that was before Robert Mueller.
He’s not waiting on Congress and indeed, the pace at which he’s proceeding is likely to render the Congressional investigations obsolete in short order.
Our guess would be that Flynn and his son will be indicted soon and something tells us a whole lot of people are going to be laughing pretty hard at this video (again)…