President Elect Donald Trump knew three weeks ago that his key national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to him, Congress and others about his questionable, security-risking contacts with Russians but waited until Monday night to fire him.
Flynn is not the only risk in Trump’s administration. The President is a daily purveyor of sensitive information and lies that threaten the security of the United States and the world.
He talks openly about things that should be at least behind closed doors and more often in high-security shielded locations. When word reached the President of a missile launch in North Korea, he continued an open dinner at his posh Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, discussing classified information around other diners.
Trump appointed Flynn, who was ousted from his directorship of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 because of questions about his management and comments, after seasoned intel officers warned the new President that he was a security risk.
Trump ignored the warnings. Flynn was an open supporter of Trump who appeared beside him at campaign rallies. Flynn supported a softer approach to Russia, which Trump liked.
Phone records and intercepted calls show that Trump campaign aides repeatedly contacted senior Russian intelligence officials in 2016.
Four current and former American intelligence officials tell The New York Times, which reports:
The intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.
One of the calls with Russia came from Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman and a former political consult in Ukraine. Manfort resigned from his campaign job after other news reports said he received payments from Russia.
“This is absurd,” Manafort told the Times. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
But Manafort added: “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”
The reported calls were not the wiretapped ones that caught Flynn sharing sensitive information with Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, also in 2016. Flynn discussed sanctions imposed by then President Barack Obama in December because of Russia’s cyber activities that intervened in the presidential election to help Trump and hurt opponent Hillary Clinton.
Flynn lied outright when he told Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Congress he did not talk about the sanctions or anything else sensitive with Kislyak. The wiretaps prove otherwise and Trump, after learning about the wiretaps, took three weeks to fire his security risk Flynn.
Besides Flynn, the FBI reportedly also intercepted phone calls involving Russians and longtime GOP operative Roger Stone and Carter Page, a businessman and foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
Trump denies conversations with Russians but has visited the country more than once and has tried for years to obtain approval for construction of a Trump property in Moscow and possibly other locations.
Intelligence documents also report unverified reports that Russians have information about and photos of the new President in compromising situations with at least one woman during a visit and it has prompted concerns that he could be a target for blackmail.
Flynn may be gone but Trump and his team remain with us and increasing evidence shows that could be a growing security threat to America.
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