On Friday, the Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a 253-page report on their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The purpose of the report, which the Democrats on the committee said was issued prematurely, was to announce their conclusion that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.
But buried on page 72 was something genuinely newsworthy.
On July 15, 2016, General Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser who is now cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller, sent an email predicting “a number of things…will happen…via cyber operations…by both hacktivists [and] nation-states.”
A week later, Wikileaks began releasing hacked emails from the DNC. This email had not previously been reported.
The Republicans on the committee attempt to explain away Flynn’s email by saying it “does not necessarily indicate non-public knowledge.” But this was not an explanation that Flynn provided to the committee. Flynn, in fact, was never interviewed by the committee.
Moreover, while the committee suggests that Flynn is potentially relying on publicly known information, Flynn is explicitly predicting future events in this email.
The Flynn email is part of a lengthening list of extreme coincidences one must accept to believe the Trump administration did not have advance knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.
Roger Stone tweeted, “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel,” weeks before Wikileaks released Podesta’s hacked emails. Stone also bragged about communicating with Wikileaks. Stone now claims, however, that he had no advance knowledge that Podesta’s emails were hacked.
Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with top campaign staff and Russian operatives after he was promised Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr., however, claims that the Russians had no information about Clinton to share and the meeting was a bust.
George Papadopoulos was told by a Russian go-between that the government had obtained thousands of emails from Clinton. Papadopoulos subsequently bragged to an Australian diplomat about receiving this information. He was also regularly in touch with campaign officials — but those officials claim Papadopoulos never told them about the hacked emails.
The Democrats on the committee issued a minority report, arguing the investigation was incomplete. The report argues that numerous key witnesses were either not called or declined to answer important questions. Those witnesses include Flynn, Stone, Trump Jr., and Papadopoulos.