Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
The news is stunning, but remarkably unreported. Trump, Flynn and others may well be guilty of treason. Here are some of the facts.
US intelligence agencies know that Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, had repeated conversations with Russian government representatives well before the election. We know that Russian hackers worked feverishly to hijack the election and give it to Trump during that period. Flynn, the former director of America’s Defense Intelligence Agency, knew very well that his telephone and text conversations with the Russians would be recorded by US intelligence, which is customary. To communicate privately with the Russians outside of American monitoring, Flynn would need to travel to Russia, and he did so several times. Flynn has been a regular (and likely paid) contributor to Russia’s RT.com, the Kremlin-run television, radio and web-based propaganda network. And Flynn paid to deliver a speech at a 2015 nationally-televised RT gala in Moscow, where he was seated next to Putin.
We know that immediately after US intelligence agencies went public with their knowledge of Russian interference in our election, Russia arrested three of its FSB agents for treason. And just over two weeks ago, in late January, Putin likely ordered the murder of Oleg Erovinkin. The former KGB/FSB general was found dead in the back of his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was suspected of helping the former MI6 spy Christopher Steele compile his sensational prostitution dossier on Donald Trump. Understandably, Steele has gone into hiding.
We know that throughout this debacle and well before the election, Trump gushed with praise for Putin, denying that Russia had thousands of military troops in eastern Ukraine and even suggesting that he, as president, might accept Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Quid pro quo?
And in spite of the Trump administration’s initial denials of any phone calls being made in this period, we know that on the very day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia, Flynn was on the phone again to Russia, this time actually discussing the sanctions according to American intelligence. On the day before sanctions were announced and the day of, Flynn made five separate phone calls to Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
We also know that Russia initially promised to retaliate for Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats, but after the phone calls, Putin instead invited the children of the US diplomats stationed in Moscow to a Christmas party at the Kremlin. At this point, Putin was apparenty confident that Trump would lift the sanctions. This was also a slap in the face to outgoing President Obama, and Putin expertly played Trump for the fool he is; Trump immediately praised Putin’s invitation.
Throughout the chronology of all of these developments, Trump, Flynn, and others have denied the facts with lies. Each time they’ve been caught in the lie, they’ve repeated the lie again or fudged a new lie. There is a mountain of evidence strongly suggesting that the Trump campaign and perhaps Trump himself colluded with Russia to win the election, with the payback being that he would be Russia’s “inside man” as president. If true, then Trump, Flynn and probably others are, at the very least, guilty of treason. Now, US intelligence has reported that at least portions of the Steele’s incredible Trump dossier are true, which would give dangerous leverage over the American president to Putin. Trump has repeatedly denied any involvement with the Russian government or Putin, yet Trump’s history with Russia goes back thirty years.
This Russia-Trump connection represents a grave threat to the US, and may well become a serious constitutional crisis. If Republicans refuse to investigate, if they choose to ignore the numerous reports coming from our own intelligence agencies and if newly appointed Attorney General Sessions refuses to act, then our constitution and the laws based on it will have no meaning at all. Having sworn to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and refusing to do so, for the first time in American history the sitting president, the Republican congressional leadership, and the Attorney General will be in flagrant violation of that oath, and will lose all legitimacy to govern. Yet, things are strangely quiet.
Copyright 2017 Daniel R. Cobb