What Did The President Know and When Did He Know It?

Last night the Michael Flynn resigned, but there’s more to this story. The Washington Post has an excellent write up. Their point is clear. The White House was told about Flynn.

The acting attorney general informed the Trump White House late last month that she believed Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said. The message, delivered by Sally Q. Yates and a senior career national security official to the White House counsel, was prompted by concerns that ­Flynn, when asked about his calls and texts with the Russian diplomat, had told Vice ­President-elect Mike Pence and others that he had not discussed the Obama administration sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, the officials said. It is unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did with the information. Flynn resigned Monday night in the wake of revelations about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Josh Marshall sums it up in a post titled White House Knew:

It’s not clear precisely when Yates and the intelligence official delivered their message to Donald McGahn in the White House. It had to be between January 23rd and 30th, though the Post story suggests it was closer to the latter date. What is now clear is that the Trump White House has known about Flynn’s deception for at least two weeks. James Comey must have thought he had a real investigation on his hands to want to avoid compromising it, even at the risk of leaving the President in the dark about such a critical matter.

Did Yates message to the White House color the decision to fire her on January 30th?

Why has the White House taken no apparent action for two weeks? As recently as Friday President Trump told reporters he knew nothing about Flynn’s deception. As I noted below, the simplest explanation is that Trump knew about the Flynn/Russia back channel all along.

And not only Trump. I’m not letting Mike “I’ve been misled” Pence off the hook. After all, by agreeing to serve as Trump’s VP, Pence made it clear that he was okay with lying. All roads point to this investigation growing. Flynn’s resignation is only part of the story.

Again, it’s the lying. This White House is staffed with liars. For weeks, Trump surrogates have been spinning the Flynn story. Joe Scarborough points out Conway is a big ol’ liar:

“She goes out and lies and you find out about those lies a couple hours later,” Scarborough said, addressing “Morning Joe” panelist Willie Geist. “Or if she’s not lying, Willie, she is – actually what I’ve heard she is – so out of the loop. She’s in none of the meetings and she just goes out without talking without having the facts.” […] That she said Flynn remained in the president’s good graces just hours before his resignation is proof, Scarborough said, that Conway is not on the same page as her White House colleagues.

“Kellyanne Conway is a free agent. And they have complained. Everybody in the White House but Donald Trump has complained for months that she is a free agent. She goes out, she says whatever she wants to say. She doesn’t coordinate her message. And then she comes back in and they have to clean it up,” Scarborough said. “Now, she will lie, as she does every time the truth comes out. She will say she’s being victimized. She will then go in and get a picture with the president and then she’ll get the president to tweet something and her staff – his staff – will have to clean this all up over and over again.

I’m sorry, but that is not someone “out of the loop”. She is close to Trump. Trump always defends her. He hasn’t distanced himself from her. She’s in the flippin’ loop. If Trump was unhappy with what she was doing (lying), he’d stop it. But he doesn’t stop it, he defends it. The benefit of the doubt ship has sailed.

There’s really only two excuses here. Either Trump and his administration knew about Flynn or they are 100% incompetent and unfit for office. That’s it. Pick one. Savvy businessman who knows what’s going on in his administration and is actively working with Putin or incompetent puppet of Putin. I’m going with… He knew, but, either way, he’s Putin’s puppet.

15 comments on “What Did The President Know and When Did He Know It?

  1. Interesting, fun and a window on the future all in one! Now for the “who knew what” game, regardless it adds a lot of credibility to the “Putin’s Puppet” meme. Next question, how far does this go and who’s up next. Kellyanne seems to be generating new enemies on a daily basis, Spicer’s a bad joke and the lies continue thick and fast. That and we all await the next barrage of tweets with bated breath.

    • I’m going with they all knew, but were too stupid to understand what it meant.

      And I’m done with Pence’s “I was misled” claim. There was plenty of info before this for him to have known something was fishy. If he was a pawn, he was a willing one.

  2. Then connect this to the stories this week that the Intel community is editing what they communicate to the White House. And connect this to the fact that Flynn was widely disliked when he was DNI. I suspect this is the tip of the iceberg and the White House is counting on Pence to keep his Congress cronies in line to make sure there is little to no investigation. Pence was not misled — they have been working at pushing back on the Russian connection for months.

  3. I wonder if Sally Yates is the source for the WaPo story.

    • With the way this White House leaks it could be anyone – even Trump. 😉

      • Good point, just heard a piece on NPR, essentially there are several old houses worth of leakers from outside and inside the White House. Truly it could be anyone involved.

  4. And then there’s this:

    House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz said his committee will not investigate Flynn’s contact with the Russian government, or the extent of his communications with White House officials.


    “It’s taking care of itself,” Chaffetz told reporters Tuesday, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, adding that further investigation would be up to the House Intelligence Committee.

    But Republican House Intelligence Committee Chair David Nunes said Tuesday that his committee won’t look into conversations between Trump and Flynn, according CNN’s Manu Raju. Nunes cited executive privilege — a privilege typically claimed by the president for withholding information in the public interest.

    Is this what a Constitutional crisis looks like? I’m beginning to think they all knew.

    • But apparently Nunes wants to know how the story got leaked. Not an investigation into the traitors acts that caused a senior WH security official to resign, he just wants to know who told.

      • That’s the right-wing talking point. What Flynn (and others – and you know there are others) did isn’t the issue, leaking what he did is the issue. Stunning.

    • To paraphrase Chaffetz: If you fire him, we don’t have to investigate. If you don’t fire him, there’s nothing to investigate.

  5. While most of the WH knew, I think it is questionable that Trump knew. Remember he lives in a world of his own making. If he believes it (or not), it’s not a lie. It is stupid of course, but Trump’s belief system is centered on things about himself and his own reality. He is fairly oblivious to things that involve the rest of the nation and the world.

    Just look at how he handled the Korean missile launch at Margo a Lago during lunch. It was like a reality show with the situation room on full display to everyone. If it was live, the ratings would have astronomical.

    He truly is the reincarnation of Nero. Hopefully we all won’t get caught in the conflagration.

  6. Oh. Most definitely a puppet. Isn’t Bannon really in charge there?

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