Here’s the thing about the various storylines in the Trump-Russia scandal. Sometimes they drop off the map due to lack of ongoing new information. But the suspicious ones always come home to roost eventually. Michael Flynn’s former deputy K.T. McFarland has been drifting in and out of the Trump-Russia narrative for as long as we can remember. But as of now, thanks to an arrest and indictment, McFarland is right back in the thick of it.
This week we saw the arrest and indictment of Russian political operative Maria Butina. She stands accused of having conspired with a number of Republican political figures in a number of ways. Part of it centers around Butina’s then-boyfriend Paul Erickson, an influential Republican operative. He hasn’t yet been indicted or charged with any crime, but the Butina indictment makes clear that the Feds are focused on him. So it’s a big deal that he was the one who pushed the Trump administration to choose K.T. McFarland as Deputy National Security Adviser.
The mind boggles at the sheer number of connections here. The Kremlin was allegedly controlling Butina’s moves. Butina was allegedly influencing Erickson’s moves. Erickson helped ensure that McFarland was named the deputy to Michael Flynn. And of course Flynn long ago cut a plea deal after getting busted for his own connections to the Kremlin. This is all within the context of an email McFarland wrote during the transition period, acknowledging that Russia had “just thrown the U.S.A. election” to Donald Trump.
There is still no indication that K.T. McFarland committed any crime. But it looks like the Kremlin went to great lengths to ensure that she ended up serving as deputy to Kremlin asset Michael Flynn. Was McFarland in on it all along? Was McFarland innocent, and the Kremlin just trying to stick someone competent in there to keep the unstable Flynn from crashing and burning? How long before sending that email did McFarland know that the election was rigged? These answers will come out one way or the other – and now perhaps sooner rather than later.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report