10:54 AM 11/11/2017 – Mueller team questions how much Trump knew on Russia contacts: report – The Hill

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How to Find a Smoking Gun in the Russia Investigation – Politico
Mueller team questions how much Trump knew on Russia contacts: report – The Hill
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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shake hands at Apec video – The Guardian
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What to Make of the Latest Story About Flynn and Gulen?
RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …
RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …
Putin Trump – Google News: All eyes on Trump and Putin attending Vietnam summit – USA TODAY
Donald Trump – Google News: What a Russian’s offer of women for Trump may tell us – CNN
trump russian money – Google News: Talking tough on trade, Trump pushes ‘America first’ in Asia – Bloomington Pantagraph
As the Russiagate Investigation Builds Momentum, Trump’s Allies Attack the CIA – The Nation.

 

Saved Stories – None
How to Find a Smoking Gun in the Russia Investigation – Politico
 


Politico
How to Find a Smoking Gun in the Russia Investigation
Politico
There are other individuals deep within the Russian intelligence services and in President Putin’s inner circle who would definitively know the answers to questions of collusion. So how can we find these individuals and discover the smoking gun, should  

Mueller team questions how much Trump knew on Russia contacts: report – The Hill
 


The Hill
Mueller team questions how much Trump knew on Russia contacts: report
The Hill
The ultimate question Mueller is after is whether candidate Trump and then President-elect Trump knew of the discussions going on with Russia, and who approved or even directed them, one source told Reuters. That is still just a question..
Russian Twitter trolls deflected bad news about candidate TrumpPress Herald
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Trump Will Release JFK Documents – American Free Press
 

Trump Will Release JFK Documents
American Free Press
The CIA and FBI are worried about President Trump’s release of thousands of JFK assassination files. Apparently, 54 years has not allowed them enough time to review the documents, so they’ve asked him for another six-month delay. The new deadline for …and more »

A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob Revealed Russian Power Networks – Boise Weekly
 


Boise Weekly
A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob Revealed Russian Power Networks
Boise Weekly
At a time when Russian intelligence and criminal activities have become an urgent concern in the United States and Europe, the Spanish investigations of Petrov and other Russians offer a remarkable view of the way that some of the most powerful mafia  

Trump chooses Putin’s word over the US intelligence community again – Vox
 


Vox
Trump chooses Putin’s word over the US intelligence community again
Vox
President Donald Trump just sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the US intelligence community. That’s because in one of their conversations during an international summit in Vietnam, Putin denied that Russia interfered in the 2016 
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Trump has no comment on Roy Moore because he doesn’t ‘watch much TV’

Asked about allegations against the Republican Senate nominee, Trump said I dont get to watch much television. Primarily because Im reading documentsDonald Trump on Saturday deflected questions about whether the Republican Roy Moore should drop out of the Alabama Senate race over allegations of sexual misconduct, insisting that because he does not watch much television he did not feel qualified to comment.

Related: Roy Moore says he doesn’t know woman who made sexual assault claims

Related: Democratic victories point to growing anti-Trump coalition, experts say

Continue reading…

Trump calls James Comey, former intel colleagues ‘political hacks’ – Washington Examiner
 


Washington Examiner
Trump calls James Comey, former intel colleagues ‘political hacks’
Washington Examiner
So, you look at it, and then you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have ComeyComey’s proven now to be a liar, and he’s proven to be a leaker. So, you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do …
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Trump: Putin means it when he denies Russian election meddling – Salon
 


Salon
Trump: Putin means it when he denies Russian election meddling
Salon
President Donald Trump told reporters that when Russian President Vladimir Putin once again denied that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, his claims were sincere, but a Kremlin officials denied that the two discussed the topic. Speaking to reporters and more »

What Was Russia’s Role In 2016 US Election? 2 Former KGB Officials Weigh In – NPR
 


NPR
What Was Russia’s Role In 2016 US Election? 2 Former KGB Officials Weigh In
NPR
Gennady Gudkov, a retired KGB colonel, peered at me across his dark, vaulted office in an old Moscow manor house. “I’m going to tell you something that I’ve never told anyone before,” he said. “About 10 years ago, Russia had the opportunity to and more »

Flynn Kidnapping Plot Is Like Teapot Dome With a Dash of Treason – New York Magazine
 


New York Magazine
Flynn Kidnapping Plot Is Like Teapot Dome With a Dash of Treason
New York Magazine
For another, it shows Flynn as being so out of control that maybe he did something with respect to Russia that explains Trump’s panic-stricken firing of James Comey, as Christian Farias suggests. … The Agnew scandal is largely forgotten, partlyand more »

Trump Says Putin ‘Means It’ About Not Meddling – New York Times
 


New York Times
Trump Says Putin ‘Means It’ About Not Meddling
New York Times
DANANG, Vietnam President Trump said on Saturday that he believed President Vladimir V. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 presidential elections, calling questions about Moscow’s meddling a politically motivated hit job 
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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shake hands at Apec video – The Guardian
 


The Guardian
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shake hands at Apec video
The Guardian
US and Russian presidents greet each other at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit dinner in Vietnam on Friday, though the White House said there would be no formal meeting. Trump and Putin smiled and stood next to each other for the … 

Opinion: For Putin, the optics of not meeting Trump are bad – PBS NewsHour
 


PBS NewsHour
Opinion: For Putin, the optics of not meeting Trump are bad
PBS NewsHour
The whole debate about whether President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin were going to have a formal meeting, or what they call in summit speak a pull aside, is a little like a teenage conversation about whether boy X and girl Y are going
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Duterte, Putin, Trump in one room at APEC Leaders’ meet in Vietnam – GMA News
 


GMA News
Duterte, Putin, Trump in one room at APEC Leaders’ meet in Vietnam
GMA News
President Rodrigo Duterte, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump were gathered in one room at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam on Saturday morning. A photo shared on Twitter by …and more »

Putin, Trump approve joint statement on Syria-Kremlin – Reuters
 


Reuters
Putin, Trump approve joint statement on Syria-Kremlin
Reuters
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump approved a joint statement on Syria after a brief contact at the APEC summit in Vietnam, Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying …
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Trump and Putin ‘agree to defeat IS in Syria’ – BBC News
 


BBC News
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BBC News
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ABC News
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Trump digital operations – Google News: Right as it joined the Trump campaign, this data firm reportedly contacted WikiLeaks – The Week Magazine
 

Right as it joined the Trump campaign, this data firm reportedly contacted WikiLeaks
The Week Magazine
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What to Make of the Latest Story About Flynn and Gulen?
 

The Wall Street Journal has another major story today regarding disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Reportedly, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating allegations that both Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., plotted to either kidnap and render Turkish clerk Fethullah Gulen to Turkey or to use Flynns influence as National Security Advisor to effectuate his extraditionall in exchange for up to $15 million.

Its a very big story, one that casts the larger Flynn investigation in an altogether different, and more menacing, light, and one that also potentially casts the obstruction of justice investigation of President Donald Trump in a different light. Today, we put together a Special Edition of the Lawfare Podcast on the subject, featuring Shane Harris (one of the Journal reporters who broke the story), Turkey expert Ryan Evans, editor of War on Rocks, and Lawfare contributors Steve Vladeck and Paul Rosenzweig.

In this post, we try to unpack some of the storys legal and political significance for Lawfare readers.

First, while stunning, this allegation is not entirely new. The Wall Street Journal and other outlets have previously reported on a September meeting between Flynn and Turkish officials in which they discussed possibilities for removing Flynn from the United States. Former CIA Director James Woolsey attended that meeting and was so disturbed by what he heard that he contacted then-Vice President Joe Biden through an intermediary to report the matter. Woosley has made some public statements about the episode.

The Journals latest story however adds three crucial new pieces:

  • First, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the matter as part of his larger probe into Trump associates and Russian election interference;

  • Second, that a second meeting occurred in December, following the election and after Flynn had been named National Security Advisor designate to the Trump administration, at which planning continued; and

  • Third, that this December meeting apparently focused on a more developed plan than what was discussed in September, including discussions of the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen by private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali and a proposal to pay Flynn and his son up to $15 million for successfully delivering Gulen by one means or another.

In other words, the import of the new Wall Street Journal story is the news that the special counsel is investigating whether, during the presidential transition, the incoming national security advisorwhile acting as unregistered agent of a foreign governmentwas also plotting a kidnapping on behalf of that foreign power.

What does it all mean?

There have been media reports over the past several weeks regarding possible indictments against Michael Flynn and his son. NBC recently reported that Muellers team believe it has enough evidence against the pair to seek an indictment. And sources familiar with the Flynn family have revealed that both the elder Flynn and his wife are especially worried about the possibility of their son facing serious legal jeopardy. Both the fact that a public indictment has not yet materialized and Flynns concern for his son have lead to speculation that he might choose to cooperate with Muellers investigation in exchange for a dealor, in the alternative, that the Mueller camp is busily pressuring him now to do so.

Previously, most analysts seemed to be assuming that possible indictments for Flynn would relate to his failure to disclose income and information on his security clearance forms and elsewhere as required, possible false statements to investigators, and for failure to register as a foreign agent as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Those are all serious matters on their own. But the latest allegations open up a whole new ballpark of possibilities.

The Journal story is ambiguous as to what the plot actually was and the manner and time in which it might be executed. On the one hand, discussion of putting someone on a private jet in exchange for $15 million would indicate the Flynns were not discussing using legal processes here. There is a word in the English language lexicon for forcibly putting someone on a plane against his will outside of the legal systems that allow compulsion and seizure of persons: The word is kidnapping and it is an extremely serious offense.

The federal kidnapping statute is at 18 USC 1201 and the laws of Pennsylvaniawhere Gulen liveswould presumably have something to say about aspects of the plot (assuming the facts as reported by the Journal are true) as well. Flynn was a private individuala campaign advisorat the September meeting, and in the transition period during which the December meeting took place, he was a designated government official who had not yet assumed office. When government officials act or conspire to transfer someone, against their will and not pursuant to regular legal process, to a foreign jurisdiction, that is often described as extraordinary rendition. Prior administrations have acknowledged the use of the practice with respect to foreigners captured overseas. Even then, it is extremely controversial. As applied to a domestic person outside of traditional legal processes, it is simply criminalunder all imaginable circumstances. Plotting to do it, is a conspiracy to kidnap.

The Journal is, as we say, ambiguous about means. In some passages, it suggests a kidnapping; in others, it suggests that Flynn would use his position as national security advisor to return Gulen by legal means. The U.S. and Turkey do have an extradition treaty. The Department of Justice has so far rebuffed Turkish extradition requests related to their claims that Gulen is the mastermind behind a 2015 failed coup attempt. But perhaps Flynn only agreed that he would use his influence to mount pressure on the Justice Department to use legal methods. And perhaps Flynn might argue that he was doing the President-elects bidding, attempting to reset relations with Turkey by removing a major irritant in those relations.

That answer might get Flynn out of some legal hot water, but unless the facts in the Journal story dont pan out, there are still big problems. For one thing, theres still the allegation about money. Its no more legal to take $15 million to use your influence as national security advisor to bring about an outcome than it is to kidnap someone.

Moreover, this version of the story would actually raise troubling issues about political influence on law enforcement. While the United States and Turkey do have an extradition treaty, the extradition process is designed to insulate against politically motivated decision-making as to peoples fatesprecisely what appears to have been contemplated here. Career DOJ officials, not the national security advisor, determine whether a requesting country has satisfied the terms of the treaty and provided a sufficient evidentiary basis to proceed with the request. That is especially important in situations like this one, where there is strong suspicion that the charges against Gulen are politically-motivated and that he will not be afforded protections of due process if returned to Turkey. If Flynn planned to subvert or improperly influence the extradition process for political aims, much less for money, that is a serious problem in and of itself.

The timing of the December meeting may also raise new questions related to Flynns status as a foreign agent under FARA. As Steve Vladeck writes on Just Security:

18 U.S.C. § 219, goes one important step further [than the rest of FARA], making it a crime for any individual who is an officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of the United States, or any department, agency, or branch of Government thereof, including the District of Columbia, in any official function, to be or to act as an agent of a foreign principal under FARA.

In other words, for a private citizen, FARAs entire impact is in requiring disclosure. But for public officials, § 219 actually prohibits such individuals from acting as foreign agents. Thus, whereas a private citizen need only apprise the Justice Department if they are receiving funds from foreign principals to influence U.S. policy, public officials may not receive such funds, periodand face felony charges if they do. (N.B.: Theres an interesting question about whether transition officials might qualify as public officials for purposes of § 219. Im skeptical, but at least in Flynns case, theres still the issue of whether he was continuing to serve as an agent of a foreign power on and after January 20, when he became the National Security Advisor.)

Flynn would be barred from continuing to act as a foreign agent after January 20, when he took office, and that offense (a felony) would not be able to be remediedas Flynn has sought to do previouslywith retroactive filings.

Finally, theres the matter of what all of this means for President Trump, who famously asked then-FBI Director James Comey to back off of the Flynn investigation in the period before he then fired Comey. This request has always represented a grave matter, particularly in the context of President Trumps larger set of interactions with law enforcement over time. It was, after all, a profound violation of the principle that the President does not direct law enforcement on investigative matters. It is, however, a far graver matter to the extent the investigation of Flynn involved potentially violent felonies. If Flynn is really suspected of involvement in a kidnapping plot, the question of what the President knew and when he knew it goes from being merely important to being acutely crucial.

The public needs to know what precisely President Trump was asking his FBI director when he said to him: I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.

RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …

RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …: Russian Intelligence Service fire: Blaze at Moscow secret service HQ | World | News | Express.co.uk Thursday November 9 th , 2017  at  …

RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …

RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …: Russian Intelligence Service fire: Blaze at Moscow secret service HQ | World | News | Express.co.uk Thursday November 9 th , 2017  at  …

Putin Trump – Google News: All eyes on Trump and Putin attending Vietnam summit – USA TODAY
 


USA TODAY
All eyes on Trump and Putin attending Vietnam summit
USA TODAY
When President Trump likely meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in Vietnam, all eyes will be on how they interact and whether they can agree on contentious issues. Trump and Putin could meet Friday or Saturday in Da Nang on the … 
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 Putin Trump – Google News

Donald Trump – Google News: What a Russian’s offer of women for Trump may tell us – CNN
 


CNN
What a Russian’s offer of women for Trump may tell us
CNN
The Agalarov family also has some relationship with the Trumps; it was the Agalarovs who reportedly requested the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Donald Trump Jr. was told he would be receiving negative information on Hillary Clinton. Third …
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 Donald Trump – Google News

trump russian money – Google News: Talking tough on trade, Trump pushes ‘America first’ in Asia – Bloomington Pantagraph
 


Bloomington Pantagraph
Talking tough on trade, Trump pushes ‘America first’ in Asia
Bloomington Pantagraph
Behind the scenes, White House officials quietly negotiated with the Kremlin over whether Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would hold a formal meeting on the sidelines in Danang, with the Russians raising expectations for such a session.and more »

 trump russian money – Google News

As the Russiagate Investigation Builds Momentum, Trump’s Allies Attack the CIA – The Nation.
 


The Nation.
As the Russiagate Investigation Builds Momentum, Trump’s Allies Attack the CIA
The Nation.
Carter Page, a foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, speaks with reporters after a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee in Washington, November 2, 2017. … the special counsel investigatingRussiagate and more »


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