Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn signaled last night that he’s cutting a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller (link), in a move which will certainly end up costing Trump his presidency, and may end up costing Trump his freedom. Instead of staging an unhinged Twitter meltdown this morning in response, Trump has made a highly suspicious move which appears to have been a response to Flynn’s reveal.
Here’s what Trump tweeted this morning: “Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!” The timing here cannot be overlooked. Michael Flynn was on the payroll of the government of Turkey during the campaign and the transition period. One of the crimes he’s accused of is conspiring with Turkey to kidnap a cleric in Pennsylvania and ship him overseas. Now, just hours after Flynn decided to negotiate a plea deal against Trump, Trump is suddenly on the phone with the leader of Turkey. It gets stranger.
Last week Reza Zarrab, who is in U.S. federal prison and accused of conspiring with the government of Turkey to commit crimes against the United States, disappeared just as his trial was getting underway (link). It’s widely suspected that Robert Mueller has been using Zarrab as a cooperating witness in the grand jury proceedings against Michael Flynn. The government of Turkey keeps stating that it wants Zarrab back. Trump’s close ally Rudy Giuliani is facing legal trouble of his own for having tried to sabotage the Zarrab trial on Turkey’s behalf. Last week Giuliani mysteriously turned up in Ukraine (link), where he was spotted meeting with an ally of Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is currently under house arrest and awaiting trial for crimes against the United States.
So no one really knows what’s going on here, except for Robert Mueller, and maybe Michael Flynn. But now that Flynn is negotiating a deal with Mueller, Donald Trump is suddenly eager for an excuse to jump on the phone with the leader of Turkey, who is accused of having tried to hire Flynn to kidnap a guy. The plot continues to thicken – but once Flynn starts spilling his guts to Mueller, it’ll all become much simpler going forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report