An explosive report in the Wall Street Journal explicitly links the Russian-hacked Clinton campaign emails with Trump’s campaign – and Michael Flynn’s chances of ending up in prison just skyrocketed.
According to the report, a GOP operative, Peter Smith, who had worked with Flynn’s consulting group asked computer experts to help him get a hold of the cache of hacked emails the Russian government stole from Clinton’s campaign. To open doors to getting what he wanted, he name-dropped Michael Flynn, who at that point was working on Trump’s campaign. Smith died recently, but not before handing the Wall Street Journal a bedside confession of sorts.
Talking Points Memo summarizes the insane details of the scheme:
In one recruiting email reviewed by the newspaper, Smith said Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, was helping with the effort. In another, Jonathan Safron, a law student who worked for Smith, included Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, at the top of a list of websites of people working with the team.
“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?’” Eric York, one computer security expert who said he searched hacker forums on Smith’s behalf to try to dig up the emails, told the Journal.
Here’s where the other shoe drops, via WSJ:
Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence.
It isn’t clear who that intermediary might have been or whether Mr. Smith’s operation was the one allegedly under discussion by the Russian hackers. The reports were compiled during the same period when Mr. Smith’s group was operating, according to the officials.
Trump actively encouraged Russian hackers to steal Clinton’s documents during the campaign, but later claimed to not have anything to do with their release. Despite the denials, a mountain of circumstantial evidence and a number of questionable admissions from Trump’s team have only stoked the flames that something was very wrong during the election. Much of his staff, including Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s own personal lawyer, have hired defense attorneys in preparation for the investigation into their involvement.
This new information only further incriminates Flynn, who now goes from looking “pretty guilty” to “very guilty.” It also burns the last remaining bridges he may have had to save himself.
Michael Flynn has toyed with taking a deal to turn on his former boss, but the FBI says it is not pursuing that relationship. There is a good possibility that, if these allegations bear fruit, Flynn winds up in jail for treason or something close to it.
Now all eyes have turned to Trump himself, who seems consumed with protecting Flynn. By his own retelling, Trump fired then FBI Director, James Comey, because he wouldn’t stop the Russia investigation. Comey has since testified that Trump specifically asked him to drop any investigation into Flynn (who has by now retroactively filed as a foreign agent working for Turkey’s despotic regime).
Spies, hackers, foreign agents, liars, thieves, and crooks – quite a group assembled by Trump, the man who only hires the best people.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images