With every other attempt to put together a convincing Russiagate case having failed – the indictments against Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos make no allusion to the collusion allegations at the heart of it, and the FBI has now admitted to Congressional investigators that it cannot verify the Trump Dossier, the document which appears to have triggered the whole inquiry – it seems that the pressure is now increasingly on Michael Flynn.
Shortly after the indictments against Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos I speculated that an indictment against Flynn might be pending. News that his lawyers have broken contact with the President’s lawyers hardens that suspicion. There are also rumours that Special Counsel Mueller may also be considering an indictment against his son.
The trouble is that nothing that is known about General Flynn’s activities during the 2016 election campaign give any reason to think that he was involved in any sort of illegal collusion with the Russians.
The only case that can convincingly be made against him is that he failed to register under FARA in connection with paid lobbying work he did for a foreign government. However the government in question is Turkey not Russia.
I wonder whether this may explain the otherwise highly oppressive and legally dubious decision to force RT to register under FARA as a foreign agent?
Flynn did appear on RT on a number of occasions, and did attend an RT dinner where he was famously photographed sitting at the same table as President Putin. He also received payments from RT, though there were quibbles between him and RT over the amount.
Could it be that the intention is to claim that since RT is a foreign agent – an agent of the Russian government no less – Flynn is also in breach of FARA and/or his disclosure obligations to the Pentagon because he did not register or properly disclose his dealings with RT?
Whilst that would on the face of it be an attempt to use the FARA legislation retrospectively – a legally highly dubious practice, to put it mildly – it might make some sense of the otherwise legally highly questionable decision to force RT to register as a foreign agent.
There is a further possibility. Back in January when the 6th January 2017 ODNI report was published I speculated that the long seven page appendix about RT that was mysteriously attached to it might suggest that the US intelligence community has convinced itself that RT was in some way the intermediary the Russians used to provide the DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks.
After all Julian Assange has had a programme on RT and RT – along with many other stations – covered the story of the DNC and Podesta leaks heavily. It is not difficult to see how in the present hysterical atmosphere someone might have put all these facts together and come to some completely erroneous conclusions which are not supported by evidence.
I say the last because as I have pointed out previously, former FBI Director James Comey has in effect admitted that the FBI and therefore presumably Special Counsel Mueller’s investigators actually have no idea how the emails reached Wikileaks.
If this is indeed what is going on then it is legally and ethically highly dubious. However this has been the consistent pattern of the whole Russiagate investigation from the start.
It is now clear that it was used to place members of the Trump campaign under surveillance, and has since morphed into what looks like an increasingly desperate attempt to justify this conduct.
Given the high stakes, it is not difficult to see how concerns about the retrospective use of legislation might be brushed aside.