Here Are The Underreported Stories You Can’t Let Die
Why Michael Flynn’s Immunity Request Matters
There are some stories that you can’t let die. Some that you need to take with you into this week and the weeks to come.
In this sensationalized media landscape, the news cycle moves fast and not every important story gets the attention it deserves.
As the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia gets more intricate and the Trump administration continues to move full speed ahead, it’s important to keep these stories alive, and pressure our lawmakers to do the same.
The Story: As we noted in last week’s Underreported, former Trump advisor James Woolsey and the Trump-friendly tabloid National Enquirer threw Michael Flynn under the bus on the same day. The timing was inexplicable and we were left wondering why Trumpland was visibly and suddenly distancing themselves from the former National Security Advisor. Were they trying to get in front of a story they knew was coming? It certainly looks that way.
On March 30, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that Flynn, through his attorney, had offered to testify for the FBI and congressional committees investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in exchange for immunity. The President, in his typical fashion, took to Twitter:
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!
Congress swiftly denied Flynn’s request as their investigations are still in their earliest phases and the committees do not want to interfere with the FBI’s ongoing investigation. In a statement, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff of California, noted “the grave and momentous” implications of a former National Security Advisor asking for immunity from prosecution and expressed concern over the fact that important background check documentation had not yet been provided to the committee.
Grave step for a National Security Advisor to ask for immunity. Lots of work to be done before even considering:
Why We Can’t Let it Die: Here is the statement released by Mike Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, after the news broke:
It should be noted that Kelner was an outspoken #NeverTrump Republican during the campaign and voted for Evan McMullen. As late as October of last year, Kelner was theorizing about ways to replace Donald Trump on the ballot, so its curious that Flynn chose an attorney that despises Donald Trump. The Daily Beast flagged a tweet written by a Clinton attorney that praises Kelner’s legal chops:
Rob Kelner is a very good lawyer who knows when a client needs immunity. And if Rob says Flynn has a "story to tell", WH should watch out. https://t.co/eoxNpONDgH
That’s about all we know for now. Flynn has requested immunity in exchange for testimony from the FBI and both chambers of Congress. As of now all three have reportedly turned him down. He’s hired an outspoken critic of the President as his lawyer and in unusual fashion, publicly announced his desire to seek immunity.
There are a number of theories interpreting Flynn’s request and the reasons why Congress and the Bureau turned him down. Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand compiled a few in a recent post. Most seem to agree that Flynn faces “real criminal exposure” to have taken such a drastic step during the early phase of these investigations. Bertrand quotes a former CIA operative, Glenn Carle, in her piece:
“It’s conceivable that Flynn is innocent,” Carle said. “But the FBI is extremely powerful, and has sources everywhere. So assuming Flynn is asking for immunity because he thinks he did something wrong, and wants to save his own ass, the bureau will probably say, ‘Thanks, but no — why should we do you a favor if we don’t even need your testimony?’”
One of the most tantalizing theories about Flynn’s request comes from former attorney and Huffington Post writer Seth Abramson. Abramson believes that the request signifies that Flynn possesses information that could reveal a “criminal conspiracy” during the campaign and a cover-up that may continue today. Abramson theory is informed speculation, and while Flynn could be granted immunity in the future, the thread provides great background on the types of immunity Flynn could be seeking and the implications of each:
(MEGA-THREAD) RETWEET if you or anyone you know wants to understand the legal implications of Mike Flynn seeking immunity from prosecution.
Bottom line? Flynn is feeling the heat, there may be “there, there” and the FBI may have the goods. Buckle up.
Rep. Devin Nunes Has Been Coordinating With The White House He’s Investigating
The Story: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) brought himself under fire after briefing President Trump (who Nunes is currently investigating for potential collusion with Russia) on intelligence reports that contained information on the “incidental collection” of communications between the Trump transition team and foreign entities. Nunes, who was also on the Trump transition team, briefed Trump without first briefing ranking member of the Intel Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Trump took that info as “vindication” for his wiretapping lies, even though it is far from it.
This past week, the heat turned up. Nunes told CNN he was on White House grounds when he reviewed the intelligence reports, leading many to question whether his source was the White House itself. Later in the week, it was revealed that 2 White House officials provided the “incidental collection” intelligence reports to Rep. Devin Nunes…The very same intelligence reports Nunes briefed the President on. This revelation made it clear that the White House gave the reports to Nunes in a coordinated attempt by President Trump to vindicate his wiretapping lies. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) called on Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) called for recusal as well, making him the first Republican to do so.
As if that wasn’t enough, letters revealed that the White House tried to prevent former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying in the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to actually halt testimony, the White House would’ve had to invoke executive privilege (the ability of the President to “shield executive branch confidences from disclosure”). Interestingly enough, the hearing she was scheduled to testify at was canceled by non-other than House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes. Many pointed to this as an example of Nunes coordinating with the White House to try and shield the President from Yates’ damaging testimony on Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia. It also served as a way to avoid the invocation of executive privilege.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: President Trump is conducting himself like a man with something to hide. Plain and simple .The Trump administration is trying to shift the narrative away from the Trump-Russia investigation by any means. Whether it’s a focus on surveillance or leaks, there is always something Trump wants to move our focus onto. And it appears Rep. Devin Nunes is actively cooperating in Trump’s efforts. It is apparent Nunes is incapable of conducting a non-partisan investigation. Luckily, the Senate Intelligence Committee has started their investigation, which looks much more serious.
Reports Of Civilian Deaths Skyrocket Under President Trump
The Story: According to civilian monitoring group Airwars, there has been a significant increase in reports of civilian casualties at the hands of US-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since Trump has taken office. In March alone, the US has allegedly killed almost 1,000 civilians, surpassing Russia’s civilian death toll for the first time. This was three times the amount the Obama administration killed in his final month in office.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: As the weeks drag on, we continue to see a less tactful approach to military strategy. This is due to the fact that President Trump has handed over the reigns to his military, not getting to involved in the details. Decisions that were previously made higher up in the chain of command are beginning to be made at the lower ranks, leading to more mistakes. This overall shift in strategy is important because it has already led to more civilian deaths, and the pace doesn’t appear to be slowing. This is a story we won’t stop reporting on. Not until it stops.
Ivanka And Kushner Benefiting Off Business Empire While Advising Trump
The Story: According to the White House ethics filing report released on Friday, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will remain the beneficiaries in their real-estate and investment businesses worth over $740 million. Both Ivanka and Jared have official positions within the White House, and profiting from these positions is, as you know, an ethical dilemma. Its a conflict of interest. Here’s just one example from the bombshell report by The New York Times:
Ms. Trump earned between $1 million and $5 million from the (Trump) hotel between January 2016 and March 2017, and put the value of her stake at between $5 million and $25 million.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: When Jimmy Carter was elected as our 39th president, he divested from the family peanut farm that he helped build, and was STILL investigated by Republican lawmakers in the off chance that there would be conflicts. In 2017 Jared, Ivanka, and the President himself all stand to benefit financially from their government positions, and because no one is doing anything about it, we’re giving the green light to other politicians who may want to use their power and position to make a little extra dough.
Our President Is Guilty Of Fraud
The Story: On Friday, Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel (remember him?) approved the $25 million settlement of the class action fraud class-action lawsuit against President Trump’s fake university, Trump University. The New York Times reports:
He faced two suits in California and one in New York brought by Eric T. Schneiderman, the state attorney general. The suits contended that Trump University students had been cheated out of thousands of dollars in tuition through high-pressure sales techniques and false claims about what they would learn. Mr. Trump and his lawyers continued to deny those claims, even after the settlement was first announced in November, soon after his election.
Why We Can’t Let It Die: With all that is going on in President Trump’s administration, sometimes it slips our mind that our president is a fraud. Literally. Before he was elected to the highest office in the land, Trump defrauded eager people out of thousands of dollars. These were honest people seeking a better life. They put their trust in him and he manipulated them. That what was he did before he president, and that was what he did to become president. That is who Donald Trump is. A man who sells false promises at the expense of others for his own personal gain. We must not forget that. It’s unfortunate the American people who voted for Trump can’t file a class-action lawsuit for buying into his false promises on the campaign trail.
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