What a tangled web we weave! AM Joy panelists discuss the latest news that the Trump transition team tried to deter National Security Adviser Michael Flynn from meeting with the Russian ambassador.
Joy asked her panelists whether the Trump transition team may have thought Michael Flynn was just naive about Russia. "Maybe he didn't know who they were and who [Ambassador] Sergey Kislyak was. Does that ring true to you?" she said.
Malcolm Nance didn't mince words,
"If I was a counter-intelligence team tasked out on watching behaviors of General Flynn and thinking there was some suspicion about him or the people around him and that he may, in fact, be manipulated, the one thing I would watch out for is these behaviors when these sanctions were implemented," he said.
Since Flynn's immediate reaction was to reach out five times "to a foreign diplomat, known intelligence collector, without or with authorization from Donald Trump, that would have been proof for me. At that point, I would have been rolling this guy up. We would have pulled him in for counter-intelligence polygraph, squeezed his clearance and considered him a turned asset."
"In fact, when I read the story, I immediately started filling in a lot of the holes of what we already know, based on these behaviors," he said.
He said the Obama administration was already worried about him, and then we have the story that Flynn may have had contact or inadvertent contact with a Russian intelligence officer.
"All of these things put together spell out to me that Michael Flynn, for the people who really knew on the Obama team, was dirty. Dirty enough. That's an intelligence term. That means he has contacts or links he may or may not know about to a foreign intelligence agency," Nance said. "They were so concerned that they did not want him to have access to an imminent action on the part of the government."
"This story is very, very much deeper than I thought it was before. I thought the guy was just an unwitting asset. Now it's starting to lead, to make us wonder, was he actually recruited, actually working for a foreign intelligence agency."
Former intelligence operative Naveed Jamali said Flynn's relationship with the Russians dates back to before Trump decided to run.
"This is a very long relationship. When dealing with the Russian intelligence, one does not collude, one is tasked, recruited. What concerns me -- it looks like there was concern about Michael Flynn. He should not have ever been selected to be NSA," Jamali said.
"Someone fired by a previous president shouldn't be picked up by the following administration. That being said, the day that someone brought this information of any concern to President Trump is the day President Trump should have revoked his clearances. If there was one hour past that, he was aware of these concerns, that he decided to let Mr. Flynn in, that is damning.
"Essentially what you're saying, there's a potential risk, someone in cahoots, direction of a foreign intelligence agency sitting at the high level of the White House, who you are allowing to continue on in that position, frankly, that is unconscionable. Two acts: one, did they recruit Mr. Flynn? Secondly, when did the White House, Trump transition's, Trump know about this, did he decide not to remove Mr. Flynn knowing there were genuine concerns he was a Russian agent?"
No one wants to say it without proof, but it seems obvious that Donald Trump knew what was going on and approved it. Tick tock, as Joy said.