Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump's national security adviser interfered with US sanctions, spoke directly with Russia
"On December 29, President Obama announced measures intended as a reprisal for Russian activities in interfering with the US election. Those actions included expulsion of intelligence operatives and sanctions on Russian officials and agencies involved in the hacking. But Trump’s team didn’t wait until they actually had the controls to begin reassuring the Kremlin. Instead Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for national security adviser, went to his speed dial. According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. Why? What did Michael Flynn say to Kislyak? Did he promise to reverse the expulsions? Lift the sanctions? Kiss their boo-boos and make them all better? Because Thursday’s announcement is an executive action, it can be undone by the next administration. But Obama’s last-minute measures put pressure on Trump, who has largely waved off the allegations against Russia, to make a decision about whether to keep the punitive measures in place. One thing seems clear: Trump’s transition team deliberately and directly interfered with the sitting president and the foreign policy of the United States. Because keeping Russia happy is very high on their agenda. It’s roughly the 1000th time someone on Trump’s team appears to have done something that violates the Logan Act. The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But even for Trump’s team of Putin-lickin’ idiots, this seems like an extraordinarily blatant moment of sycophantism."

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