Atlantico: Donald Trump has decided to pardon his former National Security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI in the case of suspected collusion between Trump and Russia. Could you recall the contours of the case?
Gerald Olivier: Michael Flynn is the main collateral victim of the attempt to destabilize Donald Trump by certain senior officials within the American state apparatus, before his election in 2016 and after taking office in 2017. If a candidate or president Democrat had been the target of a comparable attack, the affair would have had a worldwide impact. When it comes to Trump and his relatives, the media have turned a blind eye, and several years after the events the victims continue to be mistaken for the culprits.
Michael Flynn is for me a real victim, dressed as a false culprit, thrown as food to the media, with the aim of harming Donald Trump.
Flynn is a United States Army general with twenty-five years of service in military intelligence, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was Director of Intelligence for the Department of Defense in the Obama administration from 2012 to 2015 and Donald Trump had made him his National Security Advisor. He held the post less than a month in 2017 before resigning on charges of FBI indictment and suspicion of intelligence with the enemy, namely Russia. Flynn had withdrawn humiliated, denounced as a black sheep, including by former President Obama.
However, the investigations carried out since, and in particular the long investigation (two years) of the independent prosecutor Robert Mueller into a possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in 2016, have shown that Flynn had been the victim of a set-up, that the FBI had tricked him, and that the suspicions that had triggered an investigation against him were based on false accusations. Not only was the entire file found to be empty, but it emerged that countless irregularities had been committed by FBI agents during the investigation (agents who have since been sacked). Some have even spoken of abuse of power going all the way to the top of the executive. Donald Trump has always denounced a “witch hunt” and the facts have proven him right.
Today by forgiving General Flynn, he puts a final end to the affair and demonstrates his loyalty to this fallen general.
To understand the case in detail, we must go back to 2016 – 2017 and remember that the election of Donald Trump took place against a background of suspicion of collusion with Russia. Russian hackers had penetrated the computers of the Democratic Party. Donald Trump spoke well of Putin and asked him to publish the famous emails lost by Hillary Clinton. It was provocation. But since some of his team had worked for Russian interests, Democrats denounced illicit links. A dossier, concocted by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, has emerged. Containing filthy accusations on Donald Trump. Hinting that Trump would be “compromised” that is to say that Moscow would have files likely to blackmail him. Which would be extremely serious, if that was really the case. These suspicions led the FBI to open a confidential investigation, and to wiretap some close to Trump. These eavesdropping continued beyond Trump’s election and victory. One of the characters regularly listened to is the Russian ambassador in Washington, Sergei Kislyak.
When Trump, the new president-elect, assembles his team, the people he designates here and there make contact with their future counterparts, as happens with every transition. In this context, Michael Flynn speaks with Ambassador Kislyak. At the time, the Obama administration applied sanctions against Russia to punish Moscow for its interference in the American electoral campaign! In their conversation Michael Flynn had asked the Russian ambassador to recommend to President Putin not to impose retaliation, so as not to generate artificial tensions a month before the transition of power.
This conversation was taped by the FBI and its nature and content disclosed to President Obama. However, Obama knows Flynn and is suspicious of him. He does not share his vision of the world. Their collaboration has never been good. Flynn felt Obama was too lax in the face of ISIS’s advances. Obama considered him too close to the Russians and ended up sacking him. On January 5, 2017, a few days before the end of his mandate, Obama gathered his close collaborators, including Joe Biden, then vice-president, and James Comey, then director of the FBI to discuss the Flynn affair.
On this date the famous Steele file was debunked. The CIA produced several notes indicating that it was a disinformation document prepared and paid for by the Democratic Party to harm Trump and promote the election of Hillary Clinton. However, no one in the Obama administration intervened to stop the investigations or the eavesdropping. And during the famous meeting of January 5, 2017, Obama authorizes Comey to have Flynn questioned, and asks that the elements gathered against him not be communicated to Donald Trump.
A few days later, Michael Flynn is questioned by two FBI agents. Officially as a witness. He is not informed of his right to have a lawyer present, nor that he is the actual target of the interview, nor of course that the FBI already knows the content of his conversation with Kislyak. It is a triple trap in which he falls head first… He denies having discussed the sanctions with Kilsyak, a subject which went beyond the framework of a simple contact, and is immediately confronted with his lie! The FBI convinces him to cooperate to avoid more painful prosecutions… He accepts!
His resignation sows chaos in the Trump administration and doubt in the American electorate. Trump passes for an incompetent poorly surrounded. He is already wavering a few days after taking office. What he did not know then but which has since been known is that all of this is calculated and willed. The real target of the FBI isn’t Flynn, it’s Trump. Some officers even wrote it down in their notebooks at the time. Flynn is just a pawn. He’s caught in a gear that will crush him, but he’s not the real goal. The real goal is Donald Trump because some in the state apparatus believe he is out of place and are ready to do anything to dislodge him.
It will take more than two years of investigation for this whole plot to come to light.
In May 2020, the Justice Department dropped the charges against Flynn. But Emmet Sullivan, a Washington DC federal court judge took over the case. The forgiveness of Donald Trump makes it possible to put an end to this operation. Is this grace justified?
Absolutely. What we know today is that the entire FBI procedure was rigged. His interview with the Russian ambassador did not justify the FBI interrogation in which he was trapped by not being informed of his rights. We now know from the notes of some FBI agents that they had doubts about what they were doing and what their superiors expected of them. It has also been proven that some officers falsified their own notes. These are the reasons that prompted the DOJ, the “Department of Justice”, to drop the charges in the spring.
Moreover, suspicions of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia have not resulted in any indictment. Robert Mueller’s famous investigation, which lasted two years, cost fifty million dollars and saw five hundred witnesses parade, ended with a triple exemption: no collusion, no conspiracy, no obstruction of justice, according to the famous conclusions of the report.
The Steele case was also totally debunked. The accusations came from a former Russian agent who became a bar stalwart in Washington without any evidence. The CIA, through John Brennan, communicated this information to President Obama in the spring of 2016. It was already known at the time that the suspicions that justified the investigation of Trump’s relatives were unfounded.
The investigation nevertheless continued to harm Trump and favor the election of Hillary Clinton, knowing that once Clinton was elected everyone could congratulate themselves for having contributed to his victory, and the small pranks in the regulation would quickly be forgotten. … Nothing that we know was meant to be released.
The problem is that this Democratic plot cost General Flynn his career and his reputation… So it is fair catching up on the part of Donald Trump.
Historically, are presidential pardons systematic or even frequent?
Presidential forgiveness often says more about one who forgives than one who is forgiven. Donald Trump forgave a career officer who dedicated his life to the United States, just before the national Thanksgiving celebration which is the great family holiday in the United States. When Bill Clinton left the White House in January 2001, he forgave Mark Rich, a prominent financier in exile who had been repeatedly convicted of tax evasion. It turns out that just before this pardon, Mark Rich’s wife had made huge financial contributions to the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic Party. So it was an elevator return, proof of the corruption of the Clinton clan. In January 2017, on his last day as president, Obama forgave, among others, a certain Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican terrorist of the extreme left who was in the 1970s at the head of the National Liberation Army of Porto. Rico. As such, he had organized more than a hundred attacks in the United States, including one in New York in 1975 which left four dead. It shows how much of an ideologue Obama was with a soft spot for far-left radicals, even those who shed American blood!