When McMaster replaced Gen. Flynn as Director of National Security, he wanted to get rid of Cohen-Watnick, who had been brought into his job by Flynn and who, some say, had no more expertise for being in the NSA than does Bannon. But now it's reported that Bannon and Jared Kushner told McMaster to keep him; McMaster still said no. Bannon and Kushner appealed to Trump, who sided with them and told McMaster to let him stay.
Which raises a question: was Cohen-Watnick, and maybe Ellis too, Trump's inside source at his own NSA? We know that Trump places loyal people in agencies to keep watch and report to him on people. Were Cohen-Watnick and Ellis operating a side channel of highly sensitive material directly to the Trump inside group? And who else? Russia???
Very unsettling questions -- and we need answers.
Thread #2 is that the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Gen. Flynn has offered to testify to the Intelligence Committees and to the FBI on Trump's ties with Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution. It's a way of getting someone to talk and implicate higher ups, where they might otherwise take the 5th amendment against self-incrimination. So far, none of the three groups has taken him up on it. But he has a lot to say that could be very damaging to the Trump team.
Thread #3. The chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees (Nunes and Schiff, Burr and Warner) have been invited to the White House to view classified documents. The invitation was in response to a letter they had sent requesting information about any surveillance material involving any of the Trump team. Will it be the same they showed Nunes?
The invitation came from the White House top lawyer, McGahn, rather than from the intelligence team, as it usually would. Why? And the timing was peculiar. Though they had sent the written request five days ago, the invitation was delivered at the same time that a delayed press conference began, at which Sean Spicer announced that they had been invited. Sounds like this whole thing is unfolding like an attempt to salvage a botched cover-up plan -- and all arranged right there in the White House, maybe even the Oval Office.
There are so many parallels to Nixon and Watergate; and they are expanding so rapidly that it's time to ask: "What did the president know, and when did he know it?" I want to add: "What did the Vice President know, and when did he know it?" Surely by now he's figured out what's going on, so let's add: "And what did he do when he figured it out?"