AND IS THERE “EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 6, 2019) — On Wednesday night’s “Hannity,” investigative journalist Sara A. Carter appeared with two other guests to discuss a “highly-classified transcript” of an intercepted conversation between Trump’s first national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret), and then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the late 2016 transition period.
On Thursday, Fox News reported that Flynn’s attorneys filed a motion to withdraw from the case and that Flynn “has already retained new counsel for this matter.”
The leaking of the conversation to The Washington Post led to Flynn’s resignation on February 13, 2017, slightly more than three weeks into the Trump administration, as it revealed that Flynn appeared to have been dishonest about the substance of his communications with Kislyak over U.S. sanctions put in place by the Obama regime.
Carter claims it was “senior U.S. officials” who leaked the contents of the transcript to Post reporter David Ignatius.
On December 1, 2017, Flynn accepted a “guilty” plea for lying to the FBI about the substance of the conversation with Kislyak. Questions have arisen over Flynn’s motivation to enter the plea given that the FBI agents who interviewed him on January 24, 2017 reportedly said that they did not believe Flynn was lying when they conducted their ad hoc interview with him without Flynn’s having legal representation.
At a sentencing hearing in December, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan suggested Flynn is a “traitor,” then agreed to delay his sentencing for an undetermined amount of time purportedly due to Flynn’s continued cooperation with additional investigations.
The judge’s order to the government to release the Flynn-Kislyak transcript came as Flynn has yet to learn of his new sentencing date.
According to interview transcripts of key government figures released by Rep. Doug Collins in recent weeks, Flynn was under investigation prior to the presidential transition period. The transcripts suggest that along with former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, another former Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, and one-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort were under some type of government surveillance in 2016.
In May 2017, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign for alleged “collusion” with the Kremlin was handed to Robert Mueller, who was appointed “Special Counsel” by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Mueller hired a total of 19 prosecutors, some of whom were noted to have been strong Democrat supporters in the past.
The special counsel investigation ended in March, with Mueller’s report stating that the evidence gathered during its 22-month probe was insufficient to conclude that anyone within the campaign, or any American, engaged in a conspiracy with the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
On Wednesday Sara Carter appeared on “Hannity” with Fox News Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett and Harvard Law Prof. Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. The discussion with host Sean Hannity began with the release of a different transcript between former Trump attorney John Dowd and Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner.
The version of the Dowd-Kelner transcript included in the Mueller report used ellipses to redact certain portions of Dowd’s words, which Carter reported on her website on June 1, giving the impression that Dowd had sought confidential information from Kelner. The initial release generated a number of arguably misleading news reports.
The “full transcript,” however, reveals that Dowd specifically stated he was not asking for “confidential” information.
On June 3, Hannity hosted Dowd and Dershowitz to speak about the Kelner conversation, with Dowd stating that the Mueller report is “a fraud.” Dershowitz agreed that the report’s elimination of text from Dowd’s conversation was deceptive and improper.
Dowd said that “more evidence” is forthcoming to support his claim. Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes gave the same assessment of the Mueller report and has called it the “Mueller dossier,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the unverified collection of “intelligence” reports used to procure the surveillance warrants on Carter Page.
Sullivan ordered the transcripts of the Dowd-Kelner and Flynn-Kislyak conversations be provided publicly by May 31. Government prosecutors complied with the former but not the latter, claiming that the release of the transcript from Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak was “not relevant in ascertaining that Flynn was guilty or in making a sentencing recommendation,” according to Fox News.
On June 4, Carter reported on her website: “Based on what we now know about Dowd’s conversation with Kelner, it should give one reason to believe that the transcripts of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak would reveal a significantly different story than the one being told by government prosecutors.”
“Now, hm… so they’re afraid of the dossier; hmmm…and they don’t want the transcript out,” Hannity began the June 5 segment, speaking to Carter. “I wonder why.”
She responded, “Well, because we’ve already seen what happened, Sean, when the transcripts came out with John Dowd talking to Robert Kelner, the attorney for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. What Mueller had done was actually basically put together what he wanted, redacted portions of Dowd’s transcript, portions of his conversation, the voicemail message that he left, making it appear that Dowd was trying to obstruct justice, giving that illusion. But then when you see the complete transcript, you realize, ah! he didn’t even want confidential information. This wasn’t just about the president; it was about the American people. So then you have to ask yourself, ‘What happened with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn,’ right, ‘and the conversation, the transcript?’ The irony here is, Sean, is that the government is trying to protect these highly-classified transcripts, yet it was senior government officials that leaked the information to The Washington Post, David Ignatius, in January of 2017. They leaked it to basically corner Michael Flynn.”
“That’s against the law,” Hannity responded. “You’re not allowed to unmask American citizens…”
In her June 4 article, Carter wrote:
And what about comparing the actual conversation between Flynn and Kislyak to Flynn’s 302 interview with the FBI agents? That would be revealing, wouldn’t it. Remember it was Sullivan who ordered that the FBI’s 302s be turned over and it revealed that they were dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017. It was a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn’s memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017. But strangely enough, it may be that the original 302 material (original interview with Flynn) is still under seal. It’s just not clear.
Based on what we now know about Dowd’s conversation with Kelner, it should give one reason to believe that the transcripts of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak would reveal a significantly different story than the one being told by government prosecutors.
It is unclear whether or not Flynn was the subject of a formal FISA warrant as was Carter Page. In the very near future, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office is expected to release a major report covering whether or not the FISA application process was abused by government agents in the case of Carter Page or any other American during the 2016 election cycle.
On Monday night, Sara Carter told Hannity, “I think when people see Michael Horowitz’ report and find out what happened there, there will be explosive information. I mean, Sean, this is an avalanche of information that’s going to come out and the viewers are going to be astonished.”
On the eve of his December sentencing hearing, John Solomon of The Hill told Hannity that “the office of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) holds a document containing exculpatory evidence pertaining to the ‘guilty’ plea Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret) accepted a year ago and for which he is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday,” a claim he repeated in a January 2, 2019 article.
As was authorized by President Trump on May 23, Attorney General William Barr is reportedly working with a number of federal agencies to declassify documents associated with the Russia “collusion” narrative. Agencies which were asked to cooperate with the process include the State Department, the Department of Defense, the attorney general’s office, the Treasury Department, Energy Department, Department of Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the CIA.
Update, 9:17 p.m.: According to The Washington Examiner on Thursday evening, Sullivan denied Flynn’s attorneys’ request to withdraw from the case. “Judge Emmet Sullivan denied the motion, saying it did not comply with local court rules and the attorneys’ ‘failure to indicate the manner in which the motion was served upon Mr. Flynn,'” The Examiner reported.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.