Update: Below is the full quote from the e-mail released later by the New York Times.
It seems marginally “better” in context (I guess), but it’s still largely ambiguous:
On Friday evening, we noted that there were in fact two Trump officials implicated in the Michael Flynn court documents.
One was of course Jared Kushner, who apparently encouraged Flynn to reach out to multiple foreign officials in an effort to influence the the UN vote on Israeli settlements.
“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 explained, 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.”
The other official was deputy national security adviser KT McFarland, who was interviewed by Mueller’s team last month and who, apparently, was known amongst the transition team as “Flynn’s brain.”
According to multiple sources, McFarland was the senior transition official at Mar-a-Lago who talked with Flynn about communicating with the Russian ambassador about US sanctions.
Well guess what? This (via The New York Times):
On Dec. 29, a transition adviser to Mr. Trump, K. T. McFarland, wrote in an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.
Pretty hard to spin that. But the White House tried, telling the Times that “she meant only that the Democrats were portraying it that way.”
Recall what we said last night about this. To wit:
Of course this doesn’t make the most sense. After all, McFarland was the deputy national security adviser, so it’s unclear how she could have instructed Flynn to do anything. But then again, this wasn’t the smoothest transition, so who knows. She was also appointed to be the ambassador to Singapore and was a Fox News contributor.
Well, according to Colin Kahl – a former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who spoke to BI’s Natasha Bertrand – “incoming Deputy National Security Advisors don’t order their incoming boss what to do … unless they were instructed to do so by someone higher in the chain of command.”
Right. Which means this was coming from on high – i.e. from Kushner at the least or from Trump himself.
“Key will be Russia’s response over the next few days,” McFarland continues in the e-mail, sent to Thomas Bossert, now Trump’s homeland security adviser.
And it gets worse. Bossert forwarded that e-mail to Flynn, Reince Priebus, Bannon, and Sean Spicer. Here’s the full money quote from the correspondence:
If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him.
Defend election legitimacy now.
That same day, a call was scheduled at 5 p.m. between Trump, Flynn, McFarland, Priebus and Bannon. The Times notes that it is “unclear” whether that call took place.
It goes without saying that this is damning in the extreme. One would have to be a fool to believe that the McFarland quote excerpted above was simply a reference to how Trump’s victory was being “spun” by detractors, especially considering the CIA report.
Beyond that, the e-mails suggest that Flynn was far from a rogue. If anything, he acted in concert with and seemingly at the behest of other Trump officials.
Draw your own conclusions.
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) December 2, 2017