Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senate IntelCom: Flynn takes the 5th. Manafort cooperates.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, investigating the Russian influence in our 2016 election, has requested related documents from Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone.   So far, here's they've got.

Paul Manafort has sent them a bunch of documents, which he says are the ones related to the subject they asked about.   The Committee has not yet had time to go through them to form its own opinion.

Michael Flynn responded by saying that he plans to take the 5th amendment against self-incrimination, in the event he is called to testify before the committee.  The reason he gave is that the "public frenzy" surrounding this investigation is such that he feels Democrats are putting pressure on the committee to call him to testify.   Because of this, he will not supply documents which might also come under his right to refuse due to self-incrimination.

As expected, Carter Page's response was amusing.  What is it with this guy?   He's always smirking and acting as if the whole thing is a joke.    His reply to the committee was essentially "Go f--k yourself."    Not in those words, of course.   What he said was this (I'm paraphrasing it):   Look, you guys got a FISA warrant and wire-tapped me;  so you obviously know everything about me already.  I have nothing further to give you.

Then there is Roger Stone.   If there is anyone more of a spotlight chaser than The-One-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, it's Roger.   A long-time Republican operative who works behind the scenes, Stone was loosely associated with the TOWSNBN's campaign early on, but never in an official way. He's sort of a hanger-on, but sometimes useful because he knows all the dirty political tricks.

He predicted the hacking of the email of Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta before it happened, which raised the question of what he knew and what connections he had.    Long answer to finally say:   Roger Stone has not only given the committee some documents but voluntarily and enthusiastically declared his readiness to testify -- and the more TV cameras the better (again, I'm paraphrasing);  but that's the impression Roger Stone evokes.

So that's where we are on documents.    There was a late news release (always the 5:00 pm news drop that Rachel Maddow talks about) that's related to this subject.   The Associated Press says that "a top House Democrat" has said that there is now evidence that Mike Flynn lied to US security clearance investigators about his payments from foreign sources.

Flynn will likely face a lot of charges.   Probably the Senate Intelligence Committee is the least of his worries right now.     They could, of course, try to hold him in contempt for refusing to turn over documents, but with all the other investigations of him in the works, including the FBI, my guess is that they won't -- at least not right now.


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