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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    Spicer: Trump is 'evaluating the situation' with Flynn

    Spicer: Trump is 'evaluating the situation' with Flynn

    By Jim Acosta, Sara Murray and Dan Merica, CNN

    Updated 6:40 PM ET, Mon February 13, 2017
    Spicer: Trump evaluating Flynn situation

    Story highlights

    "The knives are out," the official said
    "I don't have any answers today," Miller said

    (CNN)President Donald Trump is "evaluating the situation" around embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is in hot water after possibly misleading Vice President Mike Pence, according to a White House statement.

    The issue stems from whether Flynn discussed sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office and then misled Pence about it. It created a turbulent 72 hours for the White House, leading to questions about Flynn's future after only three weeks.

    "The President is evaluating the situation," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement. "He's speaking to the vice president relative to the conversation the vice president had with Gen. Flynn, and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: our national security."

    The noncommittal statement came shortly after Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the President, told reporters that Trump has "full confidence" in Flynn.

    "Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the President," Conway said on MSNBC. She later declined to detail how much the President knew about the issue and when he knew it, deeming those conversation private.

    Many inside the Trump administration are concerned with the fact that the national security adviser could have misled senior members of the White House, including Pence, who went on television and denied that Flynn spoke about sanctions with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to Washington.

    Trump, who particularly hates when aides generate negative press, has expressed displeasure with Flynn to aides in recent days, said a source close to the President. Trump and his team are particularly bothered by the possibility that Flynn misrepresented his conversations to Pence.

    Flynn spoke with Pence at least twice Friday, according to another White House official who declined to say whether the conversations were about the ongoing controversy. The episode over sanctions against Russia has opened a rift between Flynn and Pence, who exchanged a chilly handshake Friday before Trump's news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    Flynn also apologized to Pence and a source says the two "smoothed things over."

    "The knives are out," the official added, acknowledging that Flynn's future in the White House is hardly a sure thing. "There's a lot of unhappiness about this."

    12/29/2016: US announces new sanctions against Russia. Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak speak on the phone.

    1/15/2017: The Washington Post first reports on the call. Vice President Mike Pence says Flynn didn't discuss sanctions.

    1/16: Trump officials say the call was focused on scheduling a call between Trump and Putin.

    1/23: US officials say investigators are scrutinizing several calls between Flynn and Russia's ambassador. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Flynn told him that sanctions were not discussed on the calls.

    2/10: An aide close to Flynn says he can not rule out that Flynn spoke about sanctions on the call.

    2/10: Trump says he is unaware of reports that Flynn may have spoken about sanctions during the calls and says he will "look into that."

    2/10: A US official confirms that Flynn and Kislyak did speak about sanctions, among other matters.

    2/12: White House policy director Stephen Miller says: "I don't have any information one way or another to add anything to the conversation."

    2/13: Russia again denies all allegations to CNN: "We have already said there haven't been any."

    Administration officials, some of who were once unsure about the details of the story, now believe the national security adviser did, in fact, discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador. A US official confirmed to CNN on Friday that Flynn and Kislyak did speak about sanctions, among other matters, during a December call, contradicting past statements by White House officials.

    After the call was made public, Pence told CBS News on January 15 that Flynn did not talk sanctions levied by the Obama administration with Kislyak.

    "They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia," Pence told CBS News.

    On Friday, an aide close to the national security adviser told CNN that Flynn could not rule out that he spoke about sanctions on the call.

    The White House official blamed much of the outcry against Flynn on a Washington culture that's always in search of a scalp, but people within Trump's orbit were unable to defend Flynn on Sunday.

    Stephen Miller, White House policy director, was asked directly about Flynn's future on a number of Sunday talk shows. Miller responded by saying he was not the appropriate official to ask the question, hardly a ringing endorsement from the aide the Trump administration put out to talk on Sunday.

    "I don't have any answers today," Miller said in response to questions about whether Flynn misled the vice president. "I don't have any information one way or another to add anything to the conversation."

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime Trump ally, told CNN's Jake Tapper Flynn needs to clear up his story with Trump and Pence in an interview Sunday on "State of the Union."

    The White House official, pushing back against the idea that Flynn spoke about sanctions, raised questions about the uproar surrounding Flynn and poked holes in the criticism coming from the general's detractors.

    Why, the official said, would a general with years of experience in the intelligence field jeopardize his career by discussing something he likely knew was being recorded.

    Trump is also deeply loyal to Flynn: Their relationship stretches further back than many of the national security adviser's White House counterparts.

    While Trump's top White House advisers like chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon only came aboard after Trump secured the Republican nomination, Flynn was an early supporter and joined Trump's campaign as his top foreign policy adviser in early 2016.

    But Flynn was not just a policy adviser. He also played the role of top surrogate on the campaign trail, seeking to boost Trump's national security bona fides and also leading the charge on political attacks against Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

    Flynn was also a contender to join Trump on the Republican ticket as his running mate. But even after he wasn't tapped for the vice presidency, Flynn continued to travel with Trump to most of his political rallies as one of his most trusted advisers in his small circle of aides.

    "It's a problem," a senior White House adviser said Friday about the possibility that Flynn misled Pence.

    CNN's Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny and Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.
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  2. #2
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    Feb 2017
    That's bad,bad, bad....

  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road.

    Who has broken a law here? Not Flynn, not the Russian Ambassador.

    Who has lied? No one.

    Who is playing gossip? The FBI.

    Who is spying on a US citizen? The FBI.

    Who is violating privacy? The FBI.

    Who is leaking confidential information to the Media? The FBI.

    Who is trying to frame Flynn? The FBI.

    This is revenge on Flynn by the intelligence community, the NSA who spied on citizens in violation of the US Constitution, the CIA responsible for creating Al Qaeda, the War in Iraq, ISIS ad Benghazi.

    They don't like Flynn, because they know he's going to bust their asses.

    This is a frame-up. If they played a tape for me, I wouldn't trust it, because they can manipulate it, they can manipulate anything to make it appear one way when it's another.

    To Trump, make an announcement immediately that you have the utmost confidence in Flynn as your National Security Advisor to protect the national security interests of the United States, but are looking into these leaks that compromise our national security.

    Also, inform the press that from this day forward, no one in the White House will answer questions raised by the press based on leaked reports from anonymous "officials".
    Last edited by Judy; 02-13-2017 at 09:07 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Trump may find limited options in drive to plug leaks

    By James Rosen
    Published February 13, 2017

    Transcripts of his contentious calls with foreign heads of state. Draft language for his controversial executive orders, on issues ranging from immigration to the interrogation of enemy combatants.

    Not a month into his term, President Donald Trump has been the victim of unprecedented leaks of confidential and classified information, often targeting him directly.

    And while he is not the first chief executive to grapple with a determined and resourceful enemy from within, driven by ideological opposition to his conservative policies, Trump is the first to see such activity this early in his presidency, with those bureaucrats opposed to him making use of digital age technology, such as private email accounts and encryption apps, that previous leakers did not have.

    “There’s a major issue with national security here,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “I would ask [the president and his aides] to take every precaution that they have in their toolbox, because we are dealing with such unprecedented leaks…I don’t think there’s any measure that goes too far. If they have to stop sending emails, if they have to stop the distribution lists of discussions with foreign leaders, all of that’s going to have to be done and done in short order.”

    To contend with so resourceful and determined an enemy within, however, Trump may find his options more limited than he would prefer. One element of policymaking that can mitigate against unauthorized leaks – namely, speed, and the implementation of policies so quickly that the bureaucracy does not have time to subvert them – the Trump White House already has tried, with decidedly imperfect results, in the issuance of its executive order on immigration.

    “The president needed to take the time to really look at that executive order, to vet it properly,” former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta told Fox Business News’ Maria Bartiromo on February 5. “Instead, they rushed it out, rushed it out very quickly. It clearly had some problems – even they recognize the problems in implementing this – and it created more trouble than dealing with the problem that he was facing.”

    Another option is to try to operate in secrecy from the bureaucracy, with information kept to a tight coterie of White House advisers. President Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, famously tried this approach, formulating and conducting foreign policy largely as a two-man team in the bombing of Cambodia, the diplomacy that led to the opening of China, and the nuclear arms control accords they negotiated secretly with the Soviet Union.

    Nixon’s taping system captured an exchange between the two men, from June 13, 1971, in which they mused aloud about their modus operandi:

    NIXON: Well, I just wish that we operated without the bureaucracy.

    KISSINGER: [laughing] Well, Mr. President --

    NIXON: We do.

    KISSINGER: [Laughs.] All the good things that are being done --

    NIXON: Yeah.

    KISSINGER: -- are done without --

    NIXON: We do. We do. We do.

    Yet the Nixon-Kissinger approach also led, directly or indirectly, to a number of negative outcomes: the wiretapping of seventeen National Security Council aides and newsmen; the establishment at the Pentagon of a spy ring that pilfered Kissinger’s briefcase and “burn bags,” collecting 5,000 classified documents over a thirteen-month period; and the pair of illegal break-ins, undertaken by a leak-plugging group that called itself “the Plumbers,” that triggered the Watergate scandal that ultimately toppled Nixon from office.

    “The reason that Kissinger's channel with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin worked so well,” said Richard A. Moss, a historian at the U.S. Naval War College and author of Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow: Confidential Diplomacy and Détente, “is because it was kept really in a very small circle of people in the White House. I'm not sure that that's possible nowadays. The national security staff that Kissinger had at his disposal was approximately forty people strong; the current National Security Council is over 400 people.”

    President Trump is known to harbor a soft spot for Nixon – a congratulatory 1987 letter from the ex-president was reported to be among the effects the incumbent planned to display in the Oval Office – and like the Quaker from California, the real estate developer from Queens has long seen himself as an outsider figure subjected to a vicious campaign of attacks, internal and external, by members of an entrenched establishment elite.

    Yet sources said the Trump White House, while aware of its massive problem with leaks, is also aware of the need to employ measures to combat it that do not themselves stray over the line, as Nixon’s did, into illegality.

    One such option is the use of so-called “false flag” operations. The Wikileaks archive of the emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in 2016, revealed that Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, proposed to Podesta that they plant a false rumor among the campaign staff, about when the former secretary of state would announce her presidential candidacy, to see if the erroneous date would leak and the leaker or leakers could be identified. “Would be good to do this soon since I'm nervous about our planning circle widening,” Mook wrote in March 2015.

    Even before being sworn in, Trump revealed a certain familiarity with the technique. During his news conference on January 11, the president-elect recounted how he had withheld word of a pending meeting with intelligence officials from all relevant parties just so he could be in a position to trace the identity of a leaker.

    “And what I did is I said, ‘I won't tell anybody. I'm going to have a meeting and I won't tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence’…Nobody knew – not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years, she didn't know – I didn't tell her. Nobody knew. The meeting was had, the meeting was over, they left. And immediately the word got out that I had a meeting.”


    While you plug up the leaks, plug up the responses to press questions based on leaks. Don't give them any action or reply unless they give you the name of the person who told them whatever they're asking you about. Tell them you can't waste valuable time dealing with gossip columns.
    Last edited by Judy; 02-13-2017 at 09:23 PM.
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