Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday breaking news

Four big stories broke in the news yesterday that are unrelated to anything happening during the trip of the US chief executive who is travelling in the Middle East and Europe this week.

1.  Gen. Michael Flynn has told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he will be taking the 5th amendment in any testimony required by them, and thus he will also not be releasing the documents they requested.    [More in the blog post just below this one].

2.  Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, has evidence that Gen. Michael Flynn lied, during his 2016 security clearance renewal process, about his payment for going to Russia to give a speech at a celebratory dinner for RT, the Russian propaganda TV station.   Pictures of Flynn sitting next to Putin at the dinner have been widely circulated.   Flynn has claimed that he was paid by US companies;  but it is clear now that the money originated from the Russian government.   Lying to federal investigators carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.  In addition, Flynn violated regulations that require a retired general to get permission for such travel in advance.

3.  The U.S. Supreme Court gave its decision in the North Carolina voting rights case.   They found that the state violated the rights of African-American voters in redrawing district lines that packed them into certain districts to dilute their political power.  In other words, North Carolina is guilty of gerrymandering.

4. Notes made contemporaneously say that back in March the president asked two of our highest intelligence officials, Daniel Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, and Adm. Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency -- both appointed by Trump and new to their jobs -- to push back against the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Information obtained by the Washington Post quotes a source in the DNI office as saying that the president asked, "Can we ask him (Comey) to shut down the investigation?  Are you able to assist in this matter?"  Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the request, which they both considered inappropriate, according to this memo.   The WaPo article concludes that:  "The new revelations add to a growing body of evidence that the White House sought to co-opt and then undermine Comey before he fired him."

It's all beginning to add up to a cover-up and obstruction of justice, folks.   Is there any other possible explanation other than to hide something?


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