Now that Michael Flynn has cut a plea deal in the Trump-Russia scandal, various other players in the scandal are scrambling to distance themselves from the devastating consequences that they know are coming. Donald Trump has responded by ranting about Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr has responded by pretending Flynn’s lenient deal means no real crimes were committed. Vladimir Putin, however, is taking the most bizarre tack of all.
RT, a Russian propaganda news network that says whatever Putin wants it to say, paid Flynn to travel to Moscow in December of 2015 to attend a dinner banquet. Flynn was seated next to Vladimir Putin during the dinner. Roughly two months later, Flynn joined the Donald Trump campaign. That dinner is widely believed to have been the flashpoint of the Trump-Russia election rigging conspiracy. However, according to Newsweek (link), RT is now comically reporting that Putin had no idea who Flynn even was when they were dining together.
This is not possible. Flynn was a high ranking U.S. military General who by that time was already appearing on RT to provide political commentary. Putin certainly would have been aware of Flynn by that time. Moreover, the arrangers of the event chose to seat Flynn next to Putin for one reason: Putin wanted it that way. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for U.S. President in 2016, was also seated at the same table with them. No one believes that any of this was a coincidence.
Yet now that Michael Flynn is about to rat out everyone involved in the Trump-Russia scandal, Vladimir Putin has decided that his best bet for distancing himself is to suddenly pretend that he didn’t even realize he was seated next to a U.S. military General during that dinner. Of course Putin only has to convince his own people that he didn’t rig the U.S. election. Donald Trump won’t have it nearly that easy.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report