On July 13th in 1973 it was revealed during the Watergate Investigation that there was a taping system in the White House. This taping system revealed, among other things, the efforts made by the Nixon administration to cover up the Watergate scandal. Nixon eventually resigned of August 9, 1974.
Ben Bradlee was the editor at The Washington Post in 1970’s when Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein wrote their articles on Watergate. Now Marty Baron is the editor at The Washington Post. On February 9th they reported,
National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said….
The talks were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that began before the Nov. 8 election and continued during the transition, officials said. In a recent interview, Kislyak confirmed that he had communicated with Flynn by text message, by phone and in person, but declined to say whether they had discussed sanctions.
The Post describes how this directly contradicts statements made members of the Trump administration.
The emerging details contradict public statements by incoming senior administration officials including Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect. They acknowledged only a handful of text messages and calls exchanged between Flynn and Kislyak late last year and denied that either ever raised the subject of sanctions.
“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Pence said in an interview with CBS News last month, noting that he had spoken with Flynn about the matter. Pence also made a more sweeping assertion, saying there had been no contact between members of Trump’s team and Russia during the campaign. To suggest otherwise, he said, “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”
The Post’s report is based on information provided by,
officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats. Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
The information provided in the Post’s report reveals a crack in the foundation of the cover-up the Trump campaign and administration have maintained with respect to its ties to Russia. Let’s consider this cracks more carefully.
The Trump campaign has maintained there was no communication or coordination between their team and the Russians as the Russians engaged in a counterintelligence program intended to help Trump win. Mike Pence said there was no communication between the Russians and the Trump campaign and to suggest otherwise, “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”
Now we know the Trump campaign has been in continual contact with the Russians through Michael Flynn. Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak are described as, “part of a series of contacts … that began before the Nov. 8 election and continued during the transition, officials said.” We also know Flynn was in contact with Russian official in 2015 until at least December 1, 2015. On that day he attended a celebration of RT‘s 10th anniversary in Moscow. He sat to the right of Vladimir Putin.
Let’s put this in context with respect to timing. A couple weeks later, Putin praised Trump, saying he is “a very lively man, talented without doubt,” adding that Trump is the “absolute leader in the presidential race.” Before the day ends, Trump returns the favor. “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond,” he says of Putin. On July 25th Trump sent out a lighthearted tweet: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous D.N.C. e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.” On July 27 Trump asked the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails in a news conference.
Now let’s put Flynn’s attendance at the RT anniversary celebration in context with respect to the Russian counterintelligence program. The declassified briefing on the Russian counterintelligence program released on January 6th describes RT as part of Russia’s “state-run propaganda machine–comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls.” This machine is described as contributing
to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.
Annex A in the briefing provides seven pages of information describing how Russia uses RT as an integral part of its counterintelligence programs. When Flynn was asked about his attending the anniversary of Russia’s state-owned RT, he said, “What’s CNN? What’s MSNBC? Come on!” He sees no difference between CNN, MSNBC and RT. Flynn has appeared occasionally as an unpaid on-air analyst for RT.
Flynn has also embraced the RT reporting style. Both he and his son have shared fake news stories on their twitter accounts that were intended to be damaging to the Clinton campaign. One story they shared claimed that Claimed the Clinton and John Podesta ran a child-sex ring in the basement of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington D. C..
Michael Flynn’s recorded discussions with Kislyak provide evidence the Trump campaign has been in continual contact with Russian officials. They have been in contact with them while the Russians were engaged in a counterintelligence program intended to undermine the U. S. election and help Trump win. We also have evidence the Trump campaign has repeatedly lied about their contacts with Russian officials: Michael Flynn, Mike Pence, Sean Spicer and Donald Trump. The Boston Globe notes that,
Trump himself denied that there was any contact between his campaign aides and Russian leaders. The Post report suggests that’s not true, and it raises more questions about the level and nature of contact between Trump, his aides, and Moscow during the campaign. Were the two sides working together? We still don’t know the answer to that question, but evidence that Flynn was communicating with top-level Russian officials contradicts a key defense of the Trump camp.
Michael Flynn’s recorded discussions with Kislyak provide further evidence the Trump campaign will lie about anything. Flynn will lie about his conversations with officials from the country that just undermined our democracy. Kellyanne Conyway will make up a massacre on national TV. Mike Pence will muster up a truly impressive look of sincerity and tell us Flynn did not discuss the sanctions in his conversation with Kislyak. Spicer will not only support the lies told by his colleagues but he will do so in his own spectacularly obnoxious and condescending fashion.
The evidence we have that Flynn discussed the sanctions with Kislyak raises questions about whether the logan act was violated by Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak. This law prevents U. S. citizens from interfering in U. S. diplomacy. The evidence we have that the discussions “were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that began before the Nov. 8 election” raises more serious questions. These earlier discussions provide evidence Trump and Pence did not tell the truth when they said there were no communications between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. That fact that they lied about this provides evidence there was coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian counterintelligence program and they lied about these communications to cover it up.
There are already allegations on the table concerning the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Michael Isikoff, the Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo News, reported on September 23rd that a “western intelligence source” said that Carter Page, one of Trump’s national security advisors, met over the summer with two top Putin aides: Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin. The source said the lifting of sanctions was discussed in the meeting with Sechin.
Isikoff has not revealed whether his source was Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent that developed the Trump Dossier. This dossier describes the meetings between Sechin and Diveykin in more detail. Sechin offers the Trump team the brokerage for a 19.5 stake sale in Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned energy company, in exchange for lifting the sanctions. Page is described as expressing interest and as confirming that if Trump is elected then the sanctions would be lifted.
Reuters reported that when Page was asked while in Moscow whether “he was planning to meet anyone from the Kremlin, the Russian government or Foreign Ministry during his visit” he “declined to say.” If he was not planning to meet any Russian officials the appropriate answer would have been “No.” He chose not to say no.
CNN reported yesterday that intelligence officials have now been able to confirm aspects of the Trump Dossier. The sources were unable to say exactly which parts were confirmed, but they did say it was not the salacious aspects of the dossier, referring to the episode with the prostitutes. This suggests that the Page meeting described in the dossier could be one of the parts that has been confirmed.
By all reports Christopher Steele has a reputation for doing excellent work. He was the head of MI6’s Moscow desk. You do not hire a former MI6 agent to make stuff about an opponent; you hire him to find damaging information that is true.
The Trump administration and campaign by comparison has uniquely distinguished itself by saying things that have been proven to be false: Michael Flynn did not discuss the sanctions with Kislyak; there were no communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the election; there was a terrorist massacre in Bowling Green Kentucky; there were 3 million people who voted illegally in the last election; more people came to the Trump inauguration than any other inauguration.
The evidence would lead us to conclude that the information Mr. Steele provides is generally accurate. It would lead us to question anything the Trump administration claims. If the Trump campaign does happen to tell the truth, like Trump has no Russian loans, we should see it as serving to hide a more important truth.
The evidence would also lead us to conclude, the Trump administration does not really know what it is doing. Flynn apparently did not realize his communications with Kislyak were being recorded. This should be common knowledge to a National Security Advisor. Trump’s roll out of his Muslim ban has been a disaster. There is a common understanding that the Trump administration is just learning how to govern.
On reason this is important is that it is one thing to govern the United States; it is another thing to govern the United States while you are engaged in a massive cover-up of the coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian counterintelligence program. The cover-up of the Watergate scandal began to eat away at the Nixon administration. Nixon and his aides began to spend more time on it. John Dean famously referred to it as a cancer on the presidency.
We are three weeks into the Trump presidency and The Boston Globe published an article yesterday entitled, The cancer on the Trump presidency. The disease is similar to that which afflicted the Nixon administration, but it appears to be more virulent. Nixon did not conspire with the Russians or the Chinese to undermine an election; he, in fact, was looking for evidence the democrats were using foreign donations.
We have evidence the Trump campaign and administration conspired with the Russians to aid the counterintelligence program identified by the U. S. intelligence community. They knowingly aided this program because it was intended to help them win the election. They aided the program by knowingly attempting to cover it up. Trump near the end of the campaign repeatedly denied that the Russians were responsible for hacking the emails of the Democratic Party.
The Trump campaign also aided the Russian counterintelligence program by circulating the information the Russians stole from the Democratic party. Trump’s 18.4 million twitter followers watched as he tweeted news stories based on the information stolen by Russian hackers and released through WikiLeaks during the last weeks of the campaign. In the process, he turned his twitter feed into a de facto instrument of the Russian counterintelligence program – Russia Today @realDonaldTrump or RT@DT (you can find all the tweets below).
Article III, section 3, of the U. S. Constitution reads as follows:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
The revelations in The Washington Post concerning Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak reveal cracks in the cover-up of a conspiracy larger than Watergate. The Steele dossier provides a clear view of the wave that is in the offing. The New York Times provides a glimpse of it in their report on February 14th that Trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence agents.
A strong free press provides a gravity in a democracy that leads to corruption being revealed. Revealing corruption sells ads and gets great ratings. The Post and the Times will eventually get to the truth regardless of what the Senate or the House does. When this torrent breaches its way into the pubic, we will eventually be forced to consider the evidence the Trump campaign and administration have been continually engaged in treason.
Russia Today @realDonaldTrump or RT@DT
Trump tweets, “We’ve all wondered how Hillary avoided prosecution for her email scheme. WikiLeaks may have found the answer. Obama! He then shares a story based on the WikiLeaks emails entitled, “Podesta Leaks: The Obama-Clinton E-mails.”
— Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “Leaks show Clinton inner circle grappling with email issue.”
— Trump shares story on twitter from the Washington Times entitled, “Seven more Hillary Clinton scandals exposed by Wikileaks.”
— Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “WikiLeaks: Politico Reporter Offered Clinton Camp Chance to Edit Story.”
— Trump tweets, “WikiLeaks proves even the Clinton campaign knew Crooked mishandled classified info, but no one gets charged? RIGGED!”
Trump shares a story on twitter based on WikiLeaks emails that discusses how the campaign tried to limit the damage of the email server story.
— Trump shares a video on twitter of Megan Kelly questioning Donna Brazile about sharing a debate questions with Hillary Clinton. This fact was revealed in the release of WikiLeaks emails.
— Trump shares on twitter the link to the WikiLeaks website where you can find John Podesta’s emails.
— Trump tweets that “Hillary paid $225,000 by a Brazilian bank for a speech that called for “open borders.” This information came from emails released through WikiLeaks.
Trump tweeted, “Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions – she secretly used them! Crooked Hillary.” This fact was revealed in the emails released by WikiLeaks.
— Donald Trump shares a story on twitter based on WikiLeaks emails that alleges Hillary Clinton violated the law sending emails to her own campaign chairman, John Podesta: “’Unquestionably An OPSEC Violation’: Clinton Sent US Operations Info To Podesta’s Hacked Email.”
— Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “WikiLeaks reveals Clinton camp’s work with ‘Very friendly and malleable reporters.”
— Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “WikiLeaks: Donna Brazile Shreds Obama Economy.” It highlights disagreements in the Democratic party.
— Trump shares a story on twitter based on WikiLeaks emails entitled, “Abedin implicated Clinton in Foundation trade-of with Morocco amid $12 million commitment.”
— Trump shares on twitter based on WikiLeaks emails that raise questions about the Clinton Foundation entitled, “Clinton Foundation Aide Said to Have Cited Conflicts of Interest.”
— Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “WikiLeaks: Hillary Got $12 million for Clinton Charity As Quid Pro Quo for Morocco Meeting.”
— Donald Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “WikiLeaks: Clinton-Kaine Even Lied About Timing of Veep Pick.”
— Donald Trump shares a story on twitter based on Wikileaks emails raising questions about the Clinton foundation and Morocco.
— Trump shares story on twitter from Brietbart based on the WikiLeaks emails entitled, “Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton had Gun Control Supporters Planted in Town Hall Audience.”
— Trump shares another story based on the WikiLeaks emails that raises questions about the Clinton Foundation.
— Trump tweets, “Why has nobody asked Kaine about the horrible views emanated on Wikileaks about Catholics? Media in the tank for Clinton but Trump will win!”
— Donald Trump shares two stories on twitter based on Wikileaks emails that raise questions about the Clinton Foundation and one entitled “Wikileaks Drip-Drop Releases Prove One Thing: There’s No Nov. 8 Deadline on Clinton’s Dishonesty and Scandals.”
— Donald Trump shares a story on twitter entitled, “Wikileaks emails reveal Podesta urging Clinton camp to ‘dump’ emails.”
— Trump tweets a comment about Donna Brazile giving Clinton a questions in advance: an issue that was revealed through the release of emails from Wikileaks.
— Donald Trump shares a story on twitter based on Wikileaks emails about the Clinton Campaign and the Obama Justice Department.
— Trump shares a story on Twitter based on hacked emails leaked by Wikileaks. “Wikileaks: Top Clinton Aides Bemoan Campaign ‘All Tactics,’ No Vision,” PoliZette.
— Trump shares a story about the Clinton foundation based on emails obtained through Wikileaks.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “We’ve all wondered how Hillary avoided
prosecution for her email scheme. WikiLeaks may have found the answer. Obama!
https://t.co/xFOwv8Oa8q” 16 October 2016, 11:07 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Hillary’s staff thought her email scandal might
just blow over. Who would trust these people with national security?
https://t.co/EvBCQoZRG2” 16 October 2016, 11:07 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “A country that Crooked Hillary says has
funded ISIS also gave Wild Bill $1 million for his birthday? SO CORRUPT.
https://t.co/00s5tgsXrM” 16 October 2016, 08:15 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “WikiLeaks proves even the Clinton campaign
knew Crooked mishandled classified info, but no one gets charged?
RIGGED! https://t.co/FgGxDsS0a1” 17 October 2016, 09:58 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Totally dishonest Donna Brazile chokes on the
truth. Highly illegal! Watch: https://t.co/Rs5brj31bAhttps://t.co/FYoRo6MUjX ” 19
October 2016, 11:27 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “More Anti-Catholic Emails From Team
Clinton: https://t.co/KYirBbYjp2 https://t.co/f8Z7olUvlM ” 19 October 2016, 11:57
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Moderator: Hillary paid $225,000 by a
Brazilian bank for a speech that called for “open borders.” That’s a quote!
#Debate #BigLeagueTruth” 19 October 2016, 08:29 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that she
was inappropriately given the debate questions – she secretly used them! Crooked
Hillary.” 20 October 2016, 09:55 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “#CrookedHillary sending U.S. intelligence
info. to Podesta’s hacked email is ‘unquestionably an OPSEC
violation’ https://t.co/z58aeo4CO7.” 21 October 2016, 05:50 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “WikiLeaks reveals Clinton camp’s work with
‘VERY friendly and malleable reporters’ #DrainTheSwamp
#CrookedHillaryhttps://t.co/bcYLslrxi0” 21 October 2016, 05:46 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Donna Brazile Shreds Obama Economy –
Acting DNC chair says ‘people are more in despair about how things
are’ https://t.co/LQNbISSoX0 ” 21 October 2016, 05:36 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “#CrookedHillary “was at center of negotiating
$12M commitment from King Mohammed VI of Morocco” to Clinton
Fdn. https://t.co/HWOQ7jQWY2 ” 21 October 2016, 01:54 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “A top Clinton Foundation official said he
could name “500 different examples” of conflicts of interest. https://t.co/rtWhdYOyq7
21 October 2016, 01:54 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Huma calls it a “MESS,” the rest of us call it
CORRUPT! WikiLeaks catches Crooked in the act – again.
#DrainTheSwamp https://t.co/juvdLIJPWu ” to Clinton
Fdn. https://t.co/HWOQ7jQWY2 ” 21 October 2016, 10:23 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump).
“#CrookedHillary #PayToPlay https://t.co/BT1Nv0ZMYg” 23 October 2016, 02:08
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “’Hillary Clinton Had Gun Control Supporters
Planted In Town Hall Audience’ https://t.co/1GVq74iW8a” 23 October 2016, 02:08
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “’The Clinton Foundation’s Most Questionable
Foreign Donations’ #PayToPlay #DrainTheSwamp https://t.co/IkeqMRjX5z” 24
October 2016, 11:04 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Why has nobody asked Kaine about the
horrible views emanated on WikiLeaks about Catholics? Media in the tank for Clinton
but Trump will win!” 24 October 2016, 08:05 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “’WikiLeaks Drip-Drop Releases Prove One
Thing: There’s No Nov. 8 Deadline on Clinton’s Dishonesty and
Scandals’https://t.co/MfRy3Nvd4F” 24 October 2016, 08:05 AM. Tweet. Trump,
Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “”Clinton Foundation’s Fundraisers Pressed Donors to
Steer Business to Former President” https://t.co/PlFILR6JCn” 27 October 2016, 09:12
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “WikiLeaks emails reveal Podesta urging
Clinton camp to ‘dump’ emails. Time to #DrainTheSwamp! https://t.co/P3ajiACiXK”
01 November 2016, 04:57 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “So terrible that Crooked didn’t report she got
the debate questions from Donna Brazile, if that were me it would have been front
page news!” 01 November 2016, 09:14 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “The Clinton Campaign at Obama Justice”
#DrainTheSwamphttps://t.co/LZkvFc071z.” 04 November 2016, 11:17 AM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). “Top Clinton Aides Bemoan Campaign ‘All
Tactics,’ No Vision: https://t.co/mHYvQtIq78” 05 November 2016, 04:39 PM. Tweet.
 Trump, Donald (@ realDonaldTrump). ” ‘Must Act Immediately’: Clinton Charity
Lawyer Told Execs They Were Breaking The Law https://t.co/hsi4qhqTV1” 05
November 2016, 04:39 PM. Tweet.