Readers Write: Flynn case brings us back to Russia again

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Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to perjury for lying to Vice President Pence and the FBI about his 2016 contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Flynn has been awaiting sentencing for his crime. But Attorney General Barr just had the Justice Dept drop the charges against Flynn. This undermines the rule of law. It also returns our attention to all the contacts Trump and his cronies had with Russia both before and after the 2016 election.

Although Flynn had a long and illustrious career in the military, he was forced to retire in 2014. Several reasons were cited for this. One was that he may have been compromised by a close association with a Russian woman. Flynn then set up a consulting firm in 2014. His income included payments from Russia and Turkey. In 2015, he attended a gala in Moscow and actually sat next to Putin. Let that sink in for a moment. He was paid $45,000 to speak but never reported that income as required by federal law.

Despite, or perhaps because of, Flynn’s questionable activities, Trump hired him as national security adviser. Flynn was forced to resign for lying to Vice President Pence after only 24 days in his position.

This brings us back to Russia. Flynn’s contacts with Russia makes him just one of Trump’s gang investigated for improper contacts with Russia. Trump’s own connections to Russia date back to the 1980s when he made money by selling properties to Russians. Many of these sales appear to be money laundering. In addition, Trump’s business loans from Deutsche Bank appear to be backed by Russia. Trump has had numerous private meetings and phone calls with Putin and no one knows what was discussed. Trump did not allow other officials to be part of the meetings and did not allow interpreters to take notes.

While no collusion was proved, the numerous contacts with Russia and the clear acts of obstruction of justice disclosed in the Mueller investigation help explain Trump’s support of Putin and Russia. Trump has taken many actions that weaken the United States and our allies and help Putin. He has attacked NATO. He has delayed aid to Ukraine during its ongoing war with Russia. He reduced our presence in Syria at the expense of the Kurds and to the benefit of Russia and Iran. Let’s not forget any of this on Nov. 3.

Robert Kleinman
Port Washington

 

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