We were all warned about the new administration’s ties to Russia long before inauguration day, January 20, 2017. Sadly, enough voters did not listen. The truth has now come out- Michael Flynn, the new President’s national security adviser, might have lied when he repeatedly denied having substantive policy discussions with Russian government officials. The question is, did Vice President Mike Pence, along with other administration officials, lie about Flynn and his discussion with the Russians, too? The answer to this question might lead to the road for the impeachment of the 45th President of the United States, running first through the office of his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, and then through the office of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.
Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary for the new administration, previously admitted that Flynn and Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, had multiple telephone discussions in late December, 2016. According to Spicer, Flynn and Kislyak exchanged Christmas greetings and spoke about the,
“Logistics of setting up a phone call between the president-elect and Russian President Vladimir Putin after Inauguration.”
Multiple sources are now reporting that Flynn and the Russian Ambassador did discuss the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama Administration, once the new Republican Administration was in office. Press Secretary Sean Spicer has now confirmed that those talks prior to inauguration included discussion about the sanctions.
Press Secretary Spicer isn’t the only administration official to have denied any substantive discussions between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador. On January 15, 2017, Vice President Pence was all over the Sunday morning news shows, denying that the two spoke about the sanctions. The Vice President is now saying that his denials were based on his own conversations with Flynn on the subject. The Vice President and the Press Secretary have been joined in their previous denials by the Kremlin itself.
The timing is important. It has been reported on January 17, 2017, that US Counter Intelligence Officers were investigating the Flynn telephone calls with Russia. The investigations into the connections between Russian intervention into the 2016 presidential campaign and the new administration date back at least to April, 2016, when the FBI warned the Hillary Clinton campaign of hacking. The DNC discovered that they had been hacked in June of 2016. The FBI confirmed the fact of their investigation in late July, 2016.
Michael Flynn conceivably could or is being investigated for violations of the Logan Act, 18 U.S. Code § 953, which sets forth that,
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
Considering that Michael Flynn spoke to and texted with the Russian Ambassador the same day that the Obama Administration announced the imposition of additional sanctions on Russia as a direct result of the Russian interference into the 2016 elections, this appears to be a very serious matter. Those additional sanctions were announced by the Obama Administration on December 29, 2016, while Barack Hussein Obama was still President of the United Sates.
No one has ever been successfully prosecuted under the Logan Act which dates back to 1799. Legal scholars have also suggested that the Logan Act might be unconstitutional. The irony of the Michael Flynn situation is that at the very time the new administration is criticizing the courts for failing to fairly and accurately interpret clear, applicable statutory language, Flynn and other administration officials might very well have violated the Logan Act and other criminal statutes.
At this point it is clear that Michael Flynn lied to his superiors who then lied to the country about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador.
“Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls…And every one of them says Flynn explicitly talked about the sanctions that Obama levied upon Russia as retaliation for their cyber-hacking during the campaign.”
There is ample evidence available to the public to suggest that at least four members of the administration’s campaign organization, two of them now administration officials, have deep connections to Russia. These include Michael Flynn; the newly appointed Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson; former campaign manager, Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page. Also troubling is the fact that the Vice President, who repeated false statements about Michael Flynn and his conversations with the Russian Ambassador, previously repeated false statements about Michael Flynn, Jr.
Pence has not told the truth about Michael Flynn, Jr, denying that he was involved with the transition team, when it was later confirmed by the then President Elect himself that Flynn, Jr. had been fired from the transition team,
“For using Twitter to spread a fake news story about Hillary Clinton that led to an armed confrontation in a pizza restaurant in Washington.”
Recall that President M.Nixon resigned after the first of three articles of impeachment was passed by the United States House of Representatives charging the President with obstruction of justice. Here is the law, 18 U.S. Code § 1505, pertaining to Obstruction of a Congressional or Administrative proceedings,
“Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—
Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.”
Richard Millhouse Nixon, took his place as the 37th President of the United States on January 20, 1969. He resigned some five and a half years later. President Nixon resigned because of the lying and the covering up of potential crimes relating to the break in at the Watergate Hotel on June 17, 1972. He was never charged with any specific crimes relating to the break in itself.
We may now be witnessing a repeat of history. The difference now is that the President and the Vice President might very well see the axe fall upon their necks. The parallel to the Watergate scandal is clear. As Republican Senator, Howard Baker asked about the President, we should now be asking, what did the Vice President and the President know and when did they know it?
The answers to these and other important questions will soon be provided, and unlike President Nixon, the end might be sooner than anyone might have expected. Will we soon be inaugurating the 46th President of the United States, Paul D. Ryan from the great state of Wisconsin? Stay tuned.