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Flynn associates claim he was in contact with Russian ambassador about a ‘grand bargain’ during 2016 campaign

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When Michael Flynn, former national security advisor in the Trump Administration, agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, he admitted to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the late 2016 lame duck session. But according to a new David Corn/Dan Friedman article for Mother Jones, Flynn was in touch with Kislyak not only after the 2016 presidential election, but during the election as well.

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For the article, published December 13, Mother Jones’ reporters interviewed two Flynn associates who asked for anonymity—and both of them discussed their conversations with Flynn. One of them, according to Corn and Friedman, alleges that Flynn and Kislyak discussed “a grand bargain in which Moscow would cooperate with the Trump Administration to resolve the Syrian conflict and Washington would end or ease up on the sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine.”

According to Corn and Friedman, the other Flynn associate alleges that Flynn and Kislyak discussed “Syria, Iran and other foreign policy matters that Russia and the United States could tackle together were Trump to be elected.”

A third anonymous source is mentioned in the Mother Jones article as well. That source, Corn and Friedman write, alleges that “Flynn told him he had been in contact with Kislyak about Syria—but without stating whether that was before or after Election Day.”

In their article, Corn and Friedman outline the reasons why these allegations from anonymous Flynn associates are important. The fact that Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador during the late 2016 lame duck session is not new information; in December 2017, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his post-election contact with Kislyak.

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But Corn and Friedman stress that “had Flynn privately met or communicated with Kislyak during the summer or fall” in 2016, “it would mean Trump’s chief national security aide was secretly interacting with the representative of a foreign power as that government was mounting information and cyber warfare against the United States.”

Corn notes that if Flynn “had such conversations with the Russian ambassador, this could have bolstered the Kremlin’s preference for Trump over Hillary Clinton and provided Moscow with further incentive for intervening in the 2016 campaign to assist Trump—especially if there was any talk of a sanctions-for-Syria deal or other policy aims desired by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

Mueller’s team has been investigating, among many other things, a hacker who went by “Guccifer 2.0” and stole the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign manager. Mueller believes that “Guccifer 2.0” is a representative of the Russian government—although Trump ally Roger Stone (who Mueller’s team has been keeping a close eye on) has maintained that Guccifer 2.0 is not Russian.

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WATCH: Lewandowski’s lawyer freaks out, tries to block Congress from asking any further questions

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During the House Judiciary Committee testimony of President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about the Russia investigation, Lewandowski's attorney frantically crashed the witness table and demanded that Congress stop asking questions of his client.

"Mister Chairman, as you know I am counsel for Mr. Lewandowski—" began the attorney.

"You are not a witness and you should not be seated at that table," cut in House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sharply.

"I understand that," said Lewandowski's attorney. "I will leave after I register a formal protest based upon the debate that I heard. These seem to be unauthorized questions and I know you choose your words carefully—"

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Lewandowski’s testimony will let Democrats build Nixon-like articles of impeachment: Ex-prosecutor

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As President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski combatively testified before the House Judiciary Committee, he admitted that Trump asked him to communicate to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation must be shut down. Aside from that revelation, most of the testimony was unproductive, with Lewandowski lashing out at members of Congress and running interference for the president.

But as former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote on Twitter, these outbursts — and the fact that Trump sanctioned the way that Lewandowski behaved in the hearing — could be the basis for Democrats to write up articles of impeachment against Trump similar to those drafted against Richard Nixon in 1974:

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Putin aims a weaponized barb at Trump over Saudi attack – and hits the mark

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Russian President Vladimir Putin joked this week about selling defense systems to Riyadh following weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities. The gag was aimed at US President Donald Trump and it hit the mark with the precision of a guided weapon.

It was a masterful piece of trolling by the czar of trolls – a snide, disparaging jibe with an element of truth twisted into absurdity for maximum effect and laughs. At a joint press conference with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in Ankara on Monday, Putin cast his bait into the volatile Persian Gulf region just days after devastating attacks on Saudi oil facilities exposed the limits of the Gulf kingdom’s expensive defense systems.

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