Newly released FBI notes show that the Russian ambassador felt quite certain that Trump would take Putin's call immediately upon taking office.
It's been nearly 18 months since Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but somehow there's still an awful lot happening where Flynn is concerned.
On Thursday, news surfaced Flynn had fired his lawyers, and that back in 2016, he fielded a request from then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to set up a video call between Trump and Putin for the day after the inauguration.
Without elaboration, Flynn's attorneys on Thursday asked the court to let them withdraw from the case, saying Flynn notified them he was terminating them as his attorneys and that he'd already retained new counsel. However, in the ongoing comedy of errors that is all things related to this administration, they failed to follow the local rules when asking to withdraw, so their motion was denied, though they will be able to refile.
The question now is who Flynn's new lawyers might be. Alt-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec tweeted that Flynn's new attorney is "very high profile and appears on TV regularly" and was a name "everyone would recognize." Politico pointed out that could possibly mean Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz.
Why would Flynn fire his lawyers who have represented him over the last several years? Perhaps because Flynn is planning on withdrawing his guilty plea in hopes that Trump might pardon him.
Also on Thursday, newly released FBI investigation notes showed that Kislyak and Flynn spoke in late December 2017, and he asked Flynn to arrange a Trump-Putin video teleconference for January 21, 2017.
There's no evidence a call took place on January 21, but given that Trump has routinely sought to obscure when he talks to Putin and what they talk about, it's also impossible to say such a call didn't happen. There's also no information from Flynn as to whether he agreed to try to set up a call or not.
It's telling that Kislyak felt that Trump would be happy to speak to Putin his first full day in office, particularly given that by the time Kislyak asked, Russia's interference in U.S. elections had already come to light.
The Russian collusion investigation theoretically ended with the issuance of the Mueller report in April, but that doesn't mean we can't continue to learn new ways in which Trump and his cronies sought to maximize Russian influence.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.