Finally some good news: William Barr’s efforts to cockblock the results of the Mueller report are doomed to failure, if this is any indication. You recall how Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in December, 2017, to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Sergei Kislylak? Thursday, U.S. District Judge, Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the government to post a transcript of a phone call Flynn had with the Russian ambassador in late 2016, to a court website by May 31. This was the call that was intercepted by U.S. intelligence, which was a red flag “about Russians’ secret and frequent contact with Trump allies and advisers during the campaign and before his inauguration.” Oh, yeah, deals were being done, and this is what William Barr was trying to keep redacted and under wraps.
Judge Sullivan also ordered the transcript of a November 2017 voice mail, between Trump’s attorney, then John Dowd, and Flynn’s attorney, John Kelner, mentioning Trump’s “fondness for Flynn at a time when Flynn was considering cooperating with federal investigators.” Read: “Now, Mikey, boy, Daddy Trump has pardon power, don’t you forget.” This is a key area where the issue of obstruction of justice on Trump’s part was first raised. Washington Post:
The Mueller team analyzed the Dowd call to Kelner and other allies’ outreach to Flynn for possible obstruction of justice, but ultimately determined the evidence of Trump’s intent was “inconclusive.” Mueller’s team noted its inquiry was hampered because much of the conduct involved Trump’s legal team, and concerns about attorney-client privilege limited the special counsel’s investigation.
Mueller’s team noted in particular that, in November 2017 — after Flynn withdrew from his joint defense agreement with the president — Trump’s “personal counsel,” who was Dowd, left a voice mail for Kelner that urged him to give a “heads up” if they had anything that implicated the president. He added: “Remember what we’ve always said about the President and his feelings toward Flynn.” In a later call, Kelner repeated that he could not share information with Dowd, and Dowd grew indignant and said he believed the president would be very displeased, the report said.
Trump seemed particularly eager to convey his affection for Flynn after Flynn left the White House in the wake of reports about his calls with Kislyak. Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and the former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland told investigators Trump asked them to reach out to Flynn to check on him and tell him to stay strong, according to Mueller’s report.
Now here’s more good news. Judge Sullivan also ordered that Barr’s still-redacted portions of the Mueller report that relate to Flynn be given to the court and made available to the public.
So, it goes without saying, that the infant in the Oval Office heard all this and started screaming on Twitter at four o’clock in the morning.
My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2019
I can’t decide which is worse, Trump’s stupidity or his arrogance. Right now I’d say it’s even money. If he had the least clue about how national security works, he would know that the intelligence agencies in this country keep an eye on everything — nobody was “spying” on him. Satellites are in the sky, surveillance mechanisms are in place, and if your associates are making frequent, secret contacts with the Kremlin, it’s going to get picked up in the normal course of events. Once again I flinch, that simple lay people like the yous and mes know this stuff and the sitting *resident does not.
2019: The President of the United States is demanding long jail sentences for FBI officials who investigated threats from a hostile foreign adversary
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) May 17, 2019
Thank you, Josh Campbell, for bottom lining it. Campbell is a former FBI agent, who teaches national security at USC. This is as simple as it gets. The men and women of the FBI, and other intelligence agencies, were simply doing the jobs they are paid to do, to protect our nation. And this cretinous conman, who has bought his way in and out of everything his entire life, including the Oval Office, has the temerity to issue threats of this nature.
And the threats would be a joke — but for the fact that Trump has finally found his Roy Cohn surrogate, the “killer” lawyer he begged for in vain these past few years, in William Barr.
“Treason” is defined very narrowly in the Constitution, so his tweet is meaningless legally. But the message is clear nonetheless.
Barr is not only failing to stand up to this dangerous rhetoric—he’s stoking it.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 17, 2019
William Barr has embarked on an interesting path. He started out as the new John Mitchell, rapidly progressed to the new Roy Cohn and now it appears he’s headed straight for Benedict Arnold.