The infamous phone call between then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, like so many tales of Russian collusion, is not as it first appeared.
In light of new evidence, it’s likely there’s no truth to the running narrative about the December 29, 2016 phone call that has been the basis of Flynn’s legal nightmare for more than three years. The case against the three-star general, concocted by Barack Obama’s corrupt FBI, centers on the accusation that Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions with Kislyak and later lied about it to the FBI.
And now that we know Flynn’s name in the call was never masked—as the Washington Post reported last week, it was surveillance conducted by the FBI, not by national security officials—Kislyak’s involvement deserves more scrutiny.
Let us first dispel with the notion that Barack Obama imposed “sanctions” to retaliate for the Kremlin’s alleged election interference. The word “sanctions,” in fact, never appears in Obama’s executive order, which was issued the same day as the Flynn-Kislyak call and more than seven weeks after Election Day; the (barely) three-page document is filled with irrelevant gobbledygook. It was a slap-on-the-wrist, or as one senior Obama aide called the measures, a “symbolic” gesture.
I repeatedly have suggested that Kislyak was a willing partner with the Obama White House in executing the Russian collusion hoax. Kislyak served as the Russian ambassador to the United States for the entirety of Obama’s presidency; he visited the Obama White House at least 22 times.
Press reports describe Kislyak as a longtime Beltway insider, connected to the most powerful people in Washington. “I personally have been working in the United States so long that I know almost everybody,” Kislyak boasted in 2017.
He was especially tight with his onetime American counterpart, Michael McFaul, an Obama bestie who was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Russia in 2011 by his then-boss, Hillary Clinton; McFaul is the architect of Obama’s “reset” policy with the Kremlin.
There are several reasons to suspect Kislyak not only was in on the collusion scheme from the start but also that his call to Flynn was part of the Obama White House’s set-up of Trump’s short-lived national security advisor:
Kislyak contacted Flynn before the “sanctions” were announced: Obama issued his lame executive order on December 29, 2016—but Kislyak texted Flynn the day before asking him to call. The Mueller report confirmed that Flynn did not reply to Kislyak’s text; the Russian embassy also attempted to reach Flynn, who was out of town, on December 29.
The White House announced the measures on the afternoon of December 29 and after Flynn conferred with transition team officials, he connected with Kislyak later that day. “Flynn discussed multiple topics with Kislyak, including the sanctions, scheduling a video teleconference between President-elect Trump and Putin, an upcoming terrorism conference, and Russia’s views about the Middle East,” the Mueller report detailed.
“With respect to the sanctions, Flynn requested that Russia not escalate the situation, not get into a ‘tit for tat,’ and only respond to the sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” Kislyak called Flynn again on December 31, 2016 to confirm that “Russia had chosen not to retaliate to the sanctions in response to the request.”
Smell a rat? I do. It fits too perfectly with the pretext for the bogus Logan Act charge quickly concocted by Comey and others. The call, and the Logan Act case, was discussed during a pivotal January 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting with Obama and his key advisors. The dominoes began to fall.
It’s unlikely the government surveilled Kislyak: The gregarious and English-proficient Russian was quite the man about town. He met with top Obama advisors, including Susan Rice, at the White House twice in October 2016, oddly, at the same time Obama was accusing the Kremlin of attempting to meddle in the election.
Kislyak was the keynote speaker at the Detroit Economic Club on October 26, 2016. And two days after the election, Kislyak spoke at Stanford University with Mike McFaul. The two gushed over each other; it was hardly an appropriate display considering Kislyak represented a country that had just “attacked” our democracy.
Most people believe the Flynn-Kislyak call was intercepted by routine wiretapping of a Russian official living in the United States. This assumption, however, has never been proven. Considering Kislyak’s public profile, his accessibility to the Obama White House, and his coziness with Obama loyalists outside the White House, it would appear to be an unnecessary step.
Kislyak repeatedly reached out to Team Trump after the election: According to testimony by Susan Rice, the Trump transition team expressed concern about Kislyak’s frequent outreach. Rice told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 that a member of Flynn’s staff asked for “background” information on Kislyak because they knew so little about him.
While Rice attempted to portray the contacts as bad behavior on Flynn’s part, it jives with other evidence of Kislyak’s ongoing solicitations to Team Trump. (Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also testified that a Trump transition official asked if they “should be worried about Kislyak.”)
Kislyak requested a meeting with Jared Kushner after the election; the diplomat met with the president’s son-in-law and Flynn on November 30, 2016. According to the Mueller report, Kislyak pushed for more meetings: “Kushner declined several proposed meeting dates, but Kushner’s assistant indicated that Kislyak was very insistent about securing a second meeting,” the report stated. “Kushner told the [Special Counsel’s] Office that he did not want to take another meeting because he had already decided Kislyak was not the right channel for him to communicate with Russia.” Kislyak was quite the pest.
Foreign diplomats played a key role in the Russian collusion storyline. Alexander Downer, the Australian ambassador to the U.K., notified the FBI that George Papadopoulos allegedly told him the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton; that’s why, according to James Comey, his FBI opened a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign.
Papadopoulos later accused Downer of setting him up. “Some organization or entity sent him to meet me,” Papadopoulos said in 2018.
Before the presidential election, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States publicly accused Trump of coddling Russia. “Trump’s comments are only speculative…they call for appeasement of an aggressor and support the violation of a sovereign country’s territorial integrity and another’s breach of international law,” Valeriy Chaley wrote in August 2016.
And Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) noted in a May 14 interview that “Obama ambassadors across the globe [were] unmasking” Flynn’s name in intelligence reports then “leaking out about anyone within the Trump campaign and the Trump transition that they could.”
Considering how Kislyak appears in nearly every collusion plotline, it’s hard to imagine the Obama folks weren’t pulling his strings, too.
As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reminded us last week, the purported reason why the FBI scoured for Flynn’s call transcript is that they were perplexed why the Russians didn’t push back on Obama’s puny “sanctions.” That sounds like a cover-up story.
Here’s what is more likely to be true: Kislyak, like so many other Obama-friendly foreigners, was in cahoots with the Democrats to entrap Team Trump before and after the election. They prompted Kislyak to connect with Flynn to discuss the sanctions—a call that was either monitored as part of the FBI’s investigation into Flynn or a call that Kislyak briefed someone about since it’s unclear whether a call transcript exists—in order to create an internal and public case to oust Flynn. (The Washington Post revealed the call in a January 12, 2017 bombshell article by David Ignatius.)
People now are pushing for the release of the Flynn-Kislyak call transcript. Undoubtedly, it will expose new holes in the collusion falsity and perhaps reveal who raised the issue of sanctions in the first place. If it was Kislyak, it will add more substance to the idea he was just another collusion hoaxster doing Barack Obama’s dirty work.