The Daily Beast seems to have an insider scoop … Trump Officials involved in “Sanctions Relief” beware.
Mueller Ready to Pounce on Trumpworld Concessions to Moscow
by Erin Banco, thedailybeast.com — Dec 18, 2018
The Special Counsel’s Office is preparing court filings that are expected to detail Trump associates’ conversations about sanctions relief — and spell out how those offers and counter-proposals were characterized to top figures on the campaign and in the administration, those same sources said [three sources familiar with Mueller’s probe].
Mueller’s interest in sanctions arose, at least in part, out of his team’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The Special Counsel’s Office noted in a court filing last week that Flynn had lied to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak concerning U.S. sanctions. But other portions of this court filing were left redacted.
Mueller’s team is looking closely at evidence — some of it provided by witnesses — from the transition period, two individuals with knowledge of the probe said.
Just a week after Trump took office, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii V. Artemenko handed Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal lawyer, a “peace plan” that would lift sanctions. Accounts differ on how seriously the proposal was considered by the administration.
There is every indication according to this Isikoff report that, that this Cohen-received “Russia peace plan” found its way into the State Department in very short order:
by Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent, Yahoo News — June 1, 2017
In the early weeks of the Trump administration, former Obama administration officials and State Department staffers fought an intense, behind-the-scenes battle to head off efforts by incoming officials to normalize relations with Russia, according to multiple sources familiar with the events.
Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve tensions with Moscow.
Thankfully, according to that report, the Trump Team instructions to “lift the Sanctions” never made it up the chain far enough — for actual implementation. Here’s one case where the Administration’s governing incompetence worked to the benefit of everyone — everyone except Putin and his Oligarchy.
But just because the effort failed, doesn’t mean it is no longer proof of a Quid-pro-Quo conspiracy. Just because a Bank Robber is foiled by exploding dye-packs — doesn’t mean he is no longer guilty, because the Cash was now worthless.
A failed crime does not erase its intent. A failed crime does not diminish the guilt of the law-breakers.
Here is where that Mueller filing on Flynn mentioned “Sanctions”, as referenced in the Daily Beast post:
United States v. Michael T. Flynn
[… pg 2-3 …]I. Nature of the Offense: False Statements to the Department of JusticeThe defendant’s offense is serious. As described in the Statement of Offense, the defendant made multiple false statements, to multiple Department of Justice (“DOJ”) entities, on multiple occasions. See Statement of Offense, United States v. Flynn, No. 17-cr-232 (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2017) (Doc. 4) (“SOF”).The first series of false statements occurred during an interview with the FBI on January 24, 2017. At the time of the interview, the FBI had an open investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including the nature of any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald J. Trump. Days prior to the FBI’s interview of the defendant, the Washington Post had published a story alleging that he had spoken with Russia’s ambassador to the United States on December 29, 2016, the day the United States announced sanctions and other measures against Russia in response to that government’s actions intended to interfere with the 2016 election (collectively, “sanctions”). See David Ignatius, Why did Obama Dawdle on Russia’s hacking?, WASH. POST (Jan. 12, 2017). The Post story queried whether the defendant’s actions violated the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from corresponding with a foreign government with the intent to influence the conduct of that foreign government regarding disputes with the United States. See 18 U.S.C. § 953. Subsequent to the publication of the Post article and prior to the defendant’s FBI interview, members of President-Elect Trump’s transition team publicly stated that they had spoken to the defendant, and that he denied speaking to the Russian ambassador about the sanctions. See, e.g., Face the Nation transcript January 15, 2017: Pence, Manchin, Gingrich, CBS NEWS (Jan. 15, 2017).When the FBI interviewed the defendant on January 24 about his interactions with the Russian ambassador, the defendant falsely stated that he did not ask the Russian ambassador to refrain from escalating the situation in response to the sanctions, and falsely disclaimed any memory of his subsequent conversation with the ambassador in which the ambassador stated that Russia had acceded to the defendant’s request.See SOF at ¶3. In addition, the defendant made false statements to the FBI about his prior interactions with the Russian government in December 2016 concerning a pending United Nations Security Council resolution. See id. at ¶4. The defendant’s false statements to the FBI about (i) his contacts with a Russian government emissary, (ii) the requests he conveyed to the Russian government through that emissary, and (iii) Russia’s response to those requests, were material to the FBI’s investigation into the nature of any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.
Here are some the redactions from that document, where we were left to fill-in-the-blanks:
Here is the set up paragraph, that describes the on-going Investigations (2 of them redacted) that Michael Flynn provided significant assistance with:
And once again here, the SCO subtly let the Trump Transition Team know, that they were a topic of conversation during those 19 Flynn interviews.
“Firsthand information about the content and context of the interactions between the the transition team and Russian government officials.”
Hmmm, sounds serious. Maybe serious enough for a few follow-up indictments.
Maybe serious enough for Mueller to:
[…] to detail Trump associates’ conversations about sanctions relief — and spell out how those offers and counter-proposals were characterized to top figures on the campaign and in the administration.
The mind reels at the possibilities. Surely someone in State knows, who from the nascent Trump Administration instructed them to secretly make preparations for “lifting the Russian Sanctions.”
Surely someone in the Special Council’s Office knows now too.
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One Question: If everything was above board — then why all the Lies?
In America — No one should be Above the Law.