Evidence undercutting the charge that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was a Russian stooge has been kept secret by the U.S. intelligence community.
John Solomon reports for The Hill that the silence was maintained even when former acting Attorney General Sally Yates publicly claimed Flynn was possibly “compromised” by Moscow.
America would have a much different opinion of Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the case, if Republican Sen. Charles Grassley’s request to release the exculpatory information had been granted, Solomon reports.
Instead, Flynn’s communications with Russian officials were characterized by some media outlets as treasonous, and then-Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota declared Flynn posed a “danger to this republic.”
Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the request to declassify the evidence after it was presented behind closed doors in May 2017.
In a letter three months later, he argued it appeared that “the public release of this information would not pose any ongoing risk to national security.”
“Moreover, the declassification would be in the public interest, and is in the interest of fairness to Lt. Gen. Flynn,” Grassley wrote.
Solomon said that, according to his sources, the evidence shows that before Flynn made his infamous December 2015 trip to Moscow as an adviser for the Trump campaign, he alerted his former employer, the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Flynn then attended a briefing in which he was alerted to possible efforts by his Russian host to compromise him. He also was briefed on how to extract intelligence for U.S. agencies such as the DIA, Solomon reported.
Upon his return from Moscow, he briefed intelligence officials in various meetings.
Solomon concludes: “Rather than a diplomatic embarrassment bordering on treason, Flynn’s conduct at the RT event provided some modest benefit to the U.S. intelligence community, something that many former military and intelligence officers continue to offer their country after retirement when they keep security clearances.”
Solomon added that it’s important to recall that at the center of the Russia collusion narrative is the belief that Flynn was prepared to compromise America’s security in an effort to work with a foreign power to “steal” the election.
“Would the central character in a Russian election hijack plot actually self-disclose his trip in advance?” Solomon asks. “And then sit through a briefing on how to avoid being compromised by his foreign hosts? And then come back to America and be debriefed by U.S. intelligence officers about who and what he saw?”
Solomon also notes it’s unlikely that the prosecutor in the Mueller probe would have recommended little or no prison time it Flynn had compromised national security.
Solomon acknowledges that by Flynn’s own admission, he misled the FBI and Vice President Pence about the fact that he discussed sanctions in a December 2016 conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And, among other failures, he didn’t file proper foreign-lobbying paperwork for money he received from Turkish sources.
“But there is ample evidence now that the event that many ‘Russia collusion’ cheerleaders have cited as the start of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow was, in fact, something very different.”