MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski gasped aloud when a guest suggested just how deep special counsel Robert Mueller may have been able to peer into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Russia.
Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, walked the “Morning Joe” hosts through the heavily redacted sentencing memo issued by Mueller’s office, which shows disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn had offered “substantial assistance” to three separate investigations.
“I think, in fact, that underneath these redactions, if we were to lift these black magic marker points out, we would see people with the last name Trump or Kushner,” Figliuzzi said. “That’s my gut, that’s how this reads. I believe the extensive redaction is a reflection of that level of sensitivity.”
Figliuzzi said the heavy redactions were out of character for Mueller, who typically issued highly detailed filings that revealed the scope of his evidence in specific cases — and the former FBI official explained why that should worry the president.
“It’s part of a deliberate strategy to lock in the information before he’s possibly taken out,” he said. “What did we see yesterday? We saw the opposite of that, we saw lots of redaction. You do that in the FBI either when you have classified information or you are at such a sensitivity level that you cannot expose it.”
Brzezinski pointed out that Flynn was a constant presence at Trump’s side during the campaign and in his brief, 24-day tenure in the White House — and Figliuzzi offered a jaw-dropping possibility hinted at in Mueller’s memo.
“We see reference here to quick cooperation by Flynn,” Figliuzzi said. “What does that mean? Did it happen in what we call the golden hour, where you could even wire somebody up and have him share communications in real time?”
Brzezinski reacted to the suggestion with astonishment.
“My lord,” she said.
White House pulls new FEMA nominee for barroom brawl — but not for his boss’ bribery
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow began her Wednesday show detailing that Jeff Byard, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead FEMA, has withdrawn his name from nomination because of an "altercation" previously reported.
Already Trump's FEMA is having problems because of the lead FEMA officials being named in serious bribery scandals. Byard's boss, in particular, is under a 10-count indictment. To make matters worse, a former deputy is also under indictment, but for a completely different case involving a 2013 Navy scandal.
"Any mystery around that part of the guy’s past would have been cleared up this past year in August when he was indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged involvement in that Navy bribery scheme," Maddow reported. "He was arrested thereafter."
Right-wing activists call on Mitch McConnell to stop blocking election security bills
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing renewed pressure to take up election security legislation, from a pair of unlikely sources: Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.
Norquist — who once famously said that he wanted to slash government to a size where he could "drown it in a bathtub" — called for hand-marked paper ballots, and urged Congress to pass something similar to the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which would have given states incentives to switch to secure voting methods and promoted data-sharing to identify threats. The measure was first introduced in 2017 by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (D-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), but never came to a vote.
DNI whistleblower complaint stems from promise Trump allegedly made in phone call to foreign leader: report
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the source of the whistleblower complaint currently being suppressed by the Director of National Intelligence is a phone conversation between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.
According to the report, the whistleblower became aware that the president made a "promise" to this unspecified foreign leader, and was so disturbed by the nature of that promise that he or she filed a complaint through channels set up to help whistleblower claims involving classified information.