Exactly a week ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Robert Mueller was looking into Jared Kushner’s contacts with foreign governments.
“Robert Mueller’s investigators are asking questions about Jared Kushner’s interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, including his involvement in a dispute at the United Nations in December, in a sign of the expansive nature of the special counsel’s probe of Russia’s meddling in the election,” the Journal wrote, citing the ubiquitous “people familiar with the matter.”
Apparently, the questions related to the December 23 UN resolution on Israel’s settlement construction – Trump advocated for the resolution to be blocked. Months later, Foreign Policy reported that “Michael Flynn and other members of the president’s transition team launched a vigorous diplomatic bid to head off a U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements.”
Then, just yesterday, CNN reported that Robert Mueller’s office had interviewed Kushner earlier this month. One person who came up: Michael Flynn.
Well given all of that, the writing was on the wall. Which is why it comes as no surprise that in the wake of Flynn’s guilty plea, Jared Kushner has been identified as the man who instructed the disgraced former national security adviser to make contact with Russian officials.
“This is relevant now because one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the UN Security Council resolution,” Bloomberg’s Eli Lake explains, adding that “one transition official at the time said Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the UN Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution.”
So when Flynn said he “did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution,” he lied.
Lake notes that if this is a Logan Act case, collusion might not be in the cards but warns that “it may be enough to take out not only Flynn, but also the man who married the president’s daughter.”
But as Foreign Policy goes on to detail, there’s more to this than just the UN Resolution issue. To wit:
In a Nov. 30 brief, special counsel Robert Mueller alleged that Flynn “did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations” to FBI agents when he was questioned earlier this year. Mueller said Flynn lied about the contents of phone calls during the presidential transition with the Russian ambassador in Washington.
Mueller alleged that Flynn asked Sergei Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016 to “refrain from escalating the situation” after then-President Barack Obama had imposed additional sanctions on Moscow. Flynn told investigators he did not recall getting a positive response to that call.
Flynn himself did not make the decision to reach out to Kislyak, the special counsel said, but rather was directed to do so by a senior presidential transition official at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on December 29 at a meeting with other senior transition officials present. That official, who the government did not name, asked Flynn to tell the ambassador that they “did not want Russia to escalate” in response to the sanctions levied that same day. After making the call, Flynn called that same official to report back.
Two days later, the Russian ambassador called again, letting Flynn know that the Kremlin would not retaliate “in response to his request.”
Clearly, the implication is that the “senior official” in question there is also Kushner, although on Friday evening, reports indicated that KT McFarland was actually running point on that.
In special counsel’s statement of offense, sources say:
Jared Kushner is “very senior member” who "directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign govts, including Russia"
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 1, 2017
Of course there’s also the ABC reporting which is unquestionably the bombshell story of the day. Here are some excerpts from their piece:
Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.
A close confidant told ABC News that Flynn felt abandoned by Trump in recent weeks, and told friends about the decision to make the plea deal within the last 24 hours as he grew increasingly concerned about crippling legal costs he would face if he continued to contest the charges.
Flynn had initially resisted cooperating with the investigation, according to people close to the retired general, but he has been facing mounting legal debts and plans to sell his house to help defray costs.
And then there’s the whole “I hope you can see your way to letting this thing go,” fiasco in which Trump attempted to convince then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.
If Flynn truly does, as the ABC piece indicates, feel as though Trump has abandoned him and if, as more than a few reports have suggested, Flynn’s son is also in Mueller’s cross hairs, you can bet that he’s going to tell Mueller anything and everything he knows. Especially considering that it now seems highly likely Mueller is using something to do with the alleged plot to kidnap Fetullah Gulen as leverage over the Flynns.
As the above-mentioned Eli lake goes on to say, “Flynn is prepared to tell Mueller’s team that Trump had instructed him to make contact with Russia during the campaign itself [and] if those contacts involved the emails the U.S. intelligence community charges Russia stole from leading Democrats, then Mueller will have uncovered evidence of actual collusion between the president and a foreign adversary during the election.”
Now think back to the contact Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks. And to the letter Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein sent to Kushner’s attorney about missing documents. And to the reports that Kushner lied to Congressional investigators about contact with WikiLeaks.
You get the idea. Next up here is a push to make a case for impeachment.
Grab the popcorn.
And speaking of popcorn, I haven’t seen the usual suspects rolling out the Putin meme today. Probably because it doesn’t seem so funny to them in this context….