What you missed during the weekend in Russian research – tech2.org

What you missed during the weekend in Russian research



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President Trump speaks to reporters as he leaves to travel to Utah from the White House in Washington, USA. UU December 4, 2017. (REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)

Ever since it became known that former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Friday, there have been a lot of new revelations related to the investigation of government over Russian meddling, so many that those who are not actively attending during the weekend may need to catch up.

When it says "Russian research", we are admitting that we are using a broad descriptor for a variety of possible improprieties. The densely packed tree, rooted in how Russia apparently tried to interfere with the results of the 2016 elections, has, for example, a sheet labeled "Paul Manafort" which is at the end of a thick branch called "Donald Trump Campaign". Another branch labeled "Trump's Answer" has a smaller branch called "James Comey's Shot." Or maybe, given the weekend, a better metaphor is a hydra, with Trump's battles against her often leading to new problems for her to fight.

Anyway. This is what we know now that we did not know on Friday morning.

Two senior transitional officials guided Flynn when he approached the Russian ambbadador. The accusation that Flynn lied to the FBI stems from his responses to this year's questions about a series of conversations he had with Russian Ambbadador Sergey Kislyak last December, after Trump won the election. (Here is a complete chronology of what happened.)

A series of conversations shortly before Christmas included a vote by the United Nations on a resolution condemning the settlements in Israel. According to reports, President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, asked Flynn to contact several foreign actors to encourage a "no" vote on the resolution. As The Post reported shortly before these calls were made, the foundation of his family had made a series of donations to support the settlements, which the US government considers illegitimate.

The most important conversations involved calls between Flynn and Kislyak shortly before the new year, when the administration of Barack Obama, responding to Russian meddling in elections, announced broad new sanctions against the Russian government. Kislyak approached Flynn about the sanctions, which then discussed Trump's transition response with his eventual deputy at the White House, K.T. McFarland. (Eventually she was called to serve as an ambbadador in Singapore.)

McFarland emailed the members of the transition team with questionable comments about Russia's activity. Sometime on December 29, 2016, the day that Flynn and Kislyak spoke on multiple occasions about sanctions against Russia, McFarland sent an email to Tom Bossert, then another transitional officer and now national security adviser of Trump. The New York Times got copies of the emails, which Bossert forwarded to others on the Trump team.

McFarland saw the actions of the Obama team as partially politically motivated: to discredit Trump's victory and to set a trap in which Trump denied interference and to try to lock him up.

From @nytmike here is the full quote from McFarland. https://t.co/CHqYHf2b9b pic.twitter.com/oe7EyuO4lT

– Daniel Dale (@ ddale8) December 2, 2017

His statement that Obama sought to do so difficult for Trump to improve relations with Russia "that just threw him the American election" and that Russia could have been caught "hands-on" when it was reported, but the context suggests that this may have been his interpretation of the view of the Obama team The plain of statements, however, prompted a series of questions.

Flynn finally asked Kislyak that the Russians did not scale an answer, which they did not, winning Trump's praise. In a call on December 31, Kislyak gave Flynn credit for not doing it.

Trump's attorney states that the president believed that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he fired Comey. On January 20, 2017, Trump was inaugurated and two days later Flynn was sworn in as a national security adviser. Two days later, the FBI was questioned by the FBI and denied having spoken with Kislyak about the sanctions. That is the claim that led to Flynn's charges last week.

However, on Saturday a Trump tweet added a new layer of questions to the timeline.

I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pleaded guilty to those lies. It's a shame because his actions during the transition were legal. There was nothing to hide!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017

Trump's statement that "he had to fire General Flynn" because he had lied to the vice president "and the FBI" was not something that had been said before.

In the eyes of outside legal observers, this is problematic because it implied that Trump knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he allegedly suggested to then-FBI Director James Comey that he should stop pursuing Flynn. (Under oath, Comey testified last June that Trump said, "I hope you can see your way clear to let this happen, to let Flynn go. He's a good guy. I hope you can stop this." He says he has been contemporary notes of the meeting summarizing the same comments.) If Trump knew that Flynn committed a federal crime, asking Comey not to accuse Flynn could reinforce a case of obstruction of justice against the president.

At first, the White House claimed that the tweet was a poorly drafted statement that had been drafted by Trump's lawyer, John Dowd. However, Dowd said in a statement to The Post on Sunday night that the crux of the matter was true: that Trump had known, in late January, that the Flynn lie had told Pence, that he had not discussed the sanctions against Russia. – It was the same claim he made to the FBI. Flynn was fired on February 9 for lying to Pence; according to Comey, Trump suggested to Comey on February 14 that he not continue with his investigation.

For Mike Allen of Axios, Dowd made another claim: While the tweet did not show obstruction, it does not matter, since "the president can not obstruct justice" in a legal sense. This is not a universally accepted legal opinion.

Another Trump counselor tried to establish a connection with Russia. In May 2016, a Trump campaign aide named Rick Dearborn, now deputy director of White House staff, received an email from conservative activist Paul Erickson with the subject "Connection to the Kremlin," according to the New York Times. [19659003] That email seems to have been one of several attempts to connect Trump's campaign to a man named Alexander Torshin, who had also asked another ally to contact the campaign on his behalf. That email was titled "Invitation to the Russian dinner and dinner invite" and was sent from Dearborn to Kushner, who rejected the scope.

Despite that, Torshin ended up sitting next to Donald Trump Jr. at a dinner at the annual NRA convention in Louisville later that month.

An FBI agent on Mueller's team was removed by anti-Trump text messages. A month or two in Robert S. Mueller III III's special investigation into the Russian meddling effort, an FBI agent badigned to his team was rebadigned into the agency after text messages were discovered that disparaged Trump.

The agent, Peter Strzok, an integral part of the investigation of the email server of Hillary Clinton. The messages between him and an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page were not described in detail, but apparently they were reactions to the news of the campaign during 2016. He was rebadigned in July; Page, who had also been with Mueller's team, left before that.

Trump, as expected, tweeted about that too.

Report: "FBI AGENT ANTI-TRUMP LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE" Now everything starts to make sense!

– Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

To be fair, we are still a few ways of making everything sense.

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