Yes, there needs to be an investigation, but not necessarily of General Mike Flynn.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Chuckie Schumer of New York demand to know when President Trump knew what he knew and when did he know whatever he knew about General Mike Flynn’s conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Democratic Representatives John Conyers Jr. and Elijah E. Cummings, are “shocked and dismayed!” Yes! The scandalous Conyers, with a history of abusing his taxpayer-funded official resources and whose wife is now out of prison for bribery, is “shocked!”
You may recall Cummings was so wrapped up in the IRS scandal that the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found evidence to accuse him of secretly scheming with the IRS to illegally target “True the Vote.”
Democrats are howling for an investigation to learn if General Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador before he was sworn in as national security advisor.
Flynn admitted he may have omitted some conversational details to Vice President Pence, causing the VP to embarrass himself when asked if Flynn talked with the ambassador about sanctions as a private citizen.
But wait. The press kept at it. The New York Times and the Washington Post seemed to know something that no one else knew: Flynn had talked about sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
The New York Times reports a “transcript” of a “wiretap” proves Flynn had a noncommittal conversation about sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
That means someone leaked the recording(s) and/or transcript(s) to the press.
The FBI conducted an ongoing wiretapping of the Russian ambassador, but it is not legal for any agency to release to the public such conversations involving private citizens without going through quite a few legal hoops.
The leak was most likely illegal and certainly political.
Flynn’s conversation may have been a violation of the Logan Act, which states quite clearly that any citizen of the United States who, without authority of the United States, communicates with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
If Flynn’s conversations were more than, say, telling the ambassador, “gosh you never know, maybe something can be worked out,” then he may have broken federal law.
This federal law is unlikely to be enforced, even if Flynn said, “sure, buddy, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”
After all, Democrat Nancy Pelosi did a lot worse when she flew to Syria and tried to negotiate with the murderous Bashar al-Assad at the objection of President Bush. The meeting became a propaganda opportunity for Assad.
In January of this year, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii went to Syria and chatted up al-Assad to see, “if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace.”
As a citizen without the permission of the U.S. government, she took the opportunity to have a chit-chat with a sponsor or terror and accused war criminal with whom the U.S. has no diplomatic relations.
Her trip was paid for by an Arab organization in America.
Still, no Democrats called for hearings.
Flynn’s an idiot for using an unsecure phone line but no proof has been demonstrated that he had any conversation about sanctions except to acknowledge the ambassador broached the topic.
Still, it seems at worst even less substantive than Richard Nixon’s noncontroversial pre-inaugural back-channel meetings with Russian operatives.
The Post’s Richard Moss reminds us the Nixon-Kissinger meetings were well coordinated.
Flynn, apparently, “not-so-much.”
Democrats want to have hearings so they can hamstring Trump.
They should also invite the FBI and NSA Directors and grill them on who illegally leaked the recording(s) and/or transcript(s) of a private citizen’s conversation with the Russian ambassador.
As veteran security journalist Eli Lake’s recent column suggests, the greatest danger would be an anonymous cabal in the intelligence community picking and choosing your government leaders.
Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @Jensen1150WDEL.