In 2016, did Joe Biden urge the FBI to pin a Logan Act violation on Michael Flynn – even after the Bureau decided to discontinue its investigation of the incoming national security adviser? In 2019, was the Trump administration aware that the Russians were putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan? Two political scandals – one well documented and the other based on nothing more than the claims of anonymous sources, or, perhaps, the fevered imaginations of a few anti-Trump journalists – are unfolding before the eyes of the American people. In at least one way, the two are connected.
At the beginning of January, 2016, then-President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, FBI Director James Comey and other senior officials huddled in the White House to figure out how they were going to bring down Michael Flynn. That this meeting took place is already known. That the FBI had determined Flynn had done nothing wrong was also known – at the time of the meeting.
What was said during the gathering, then? One of those present was FBI counterintelligence specialist Peter Strzok, who scribbled notes about who said what. Those notes have now been disclosed to Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell.
For some context, it is worth remembering that, late in 2016, Strzok’s lover, FBI attorney Lisa Page, texted him, asking: ”[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” to which Strzok replied: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” The two lovebirds also discussed an “insurance policy” in the event that Trump did in fact become president.
Peter Strzok’s Notes Finger Biden
For brevity’s sake, Strzok in his handwritten notes about the White House meeting used abbreviations for some of those present. It can be assumed that he used “D” for Director Comey, “P” for President Obama, and “VP” for Vice President Joe Biden. His account of part of the conversation describes the following exchange:
“VP: ‘Logan Act,’ P: These are unusual times. VP: I’ve been on intel committee for ten years and I never. P: Make sure you look over things and have the right people on it. P: Is there anything I shouldn’t be telling the transition team? D: Flynn-> Kislyak calls but appear legit.”
That last comment describes James Comey’s statement regarding phone calls between Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The FBI already had the transcripts of those calls. The Logan Act is a 1799 law which makes it a federal crime for a private U.S. citizen to conduct “correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States … “ Only two individuals have ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act and neither was convicted. The act is not applied to communications between foreign officials and incoming U.S. administration officials, since such contacts are considered a normal part of the transition between the outgoing and incoming administrations.
The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn – based upon the documented evidence – is that it had been determined that the FBI had nothing on Flynn. An internal FBI memo had recommended the termination of the Flynn investigation. That was clearly an unsatisfactory outcome for the Obama administration and so Biden threw out the idea of pursuing a Logan Act charge.
It appears the FBI was entirely politicized at this point, used by Obama and Biden to fabricate false charges against members of the incoming administration and other individuals associated with Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team.
The Russia-Taliban Collusion Gambit
What happened is no trivial matter. It is no exaggeration to say that this scandal makes Watergate look like a mere misunderstanding. At the center of it, now, is presidential candidate Joe Biden. In normal times, such revelations would end a presidential run, which is probably where the second “scandal” comes in: the recent claims from The New York Times that the Russians have been paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers and that President Trump was aware of the arrangement and took no action.
The Times has provided no evidence beyond supposed leaks from anonymous sources. The Pentagon has denied any knowledge of these bounties, as have the Russians and the Taliban. The U.S. Intelligence Community also rejects the newspaper’s claim.
It appears that rumor of bounties began somewhere, though nobody knows where. The Intelligence Community looked into it, determined it not to be credible, and, therefore, did not brief the president on it. If one reads the U.S. news media, though, one could be forgiven for assuming that this story is well-known and is a matter of fact rather than rumor and speculation.
This, then, is the connection between these two matters of political intrigue. The uncorroborated Russian bounty story seems to be another desperate attempt by the Democratic Party’s propaganda arm – otherwise known as the American media – to tar the president with yet another sinister conspiracy. It serves to divert attention from the fact that Biden is now directly implicated in the Obama administration plot to railroad Michael Flynn.
Unless and until The New York Times can produce internal government memos or other documents that prove the existence of the Russian bounty scheme, it is a story that will go nowhere. We can expect a congressional investigation, though, since lawmakers have nothing else to do at the moment, what with everything in America running so smoothly.
When the Department of Justice investigation into the genesis of the phony Russia collusion hoax begins to yield results – possibly toward the end of the summer – Biden and other Obama-era officials may find themselves in hot water. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin will direct his intelligence services not to bother interfering in the November election, since the U.S. media is doing his work for him.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.