Editor’s Note: First read the article below the picture. Then focus on the photograph. Keep looking. Begin to narrow your gaze on the three grifters in the center of the picture – Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner. Let sink in what you have just read. And ask yourself, “How long? How long must we breathe so foul an odor?” —Bill Moyers
Till it o’er run the stew.”
— William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
It’s no wonder that Mike Flynn asked the House and the Senate for immunity and has refused to voluntarily testify before the Senate twice, the last time being Tuesday. On Wednesday, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committee reported that Flynn failed to disclose that he worked for oil companies and had attended a meeting on their behalf promoting a US-Russian Saudi-financed program to build nuclear reactors in the Arab world. This took place in 2015, and it is one of the meetings that Flynn failed to disclose on his security clearance application.
He also failed to disclose the $25,000 he was paid for his services, and all this information was forwarded by Democrats on to Robert Mueller to decide whether it’s a prosecutable offense, according to Rachel Maddow. Last week Maddow interviewed Anthony Cormier, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist working for BuzzFeed, who also on Friday broke a story about another meeting that Flynn conveniently forgot: a meeting he took with Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon on Jan. 5 with the king of Jordan. Both Kushner and Flynn left that meeting off their security clearance applications, and details of Bannon’s application are as yet unknown.
This is smoking hot. The Wall Street Journal says Flynn’s disclosure forms “indicate that [his] year-and-a-half work on the project ended in December 2016, but Mr. Flynn in fact remained involved in the project once he joined the Trump administration in January, discussing the plan and directing his National Security Council staff to meet with the companies involved, the former staffers said.” BuzzFeed:
The meeting — details of which have never been reported — is the latest in a series of secret, high-stakes contacts between Trump advisers and foreign governments that have raised concerns about how, in particular, Flynn and senior adviser Jared Kushner handled their personal business interests as they entered key positions of power. And the nuclear project raised additional security concerns about expanding nuclear technology in a tinderbox region of the world. One expert compared it to providing “a nuclear weapons starter kit.”
On the morning of Jan. 5, Flynn, Kushner and former chief strategist Steve Bannon greeted King Abdullah II at the Four Seasons hotel in lower Manhattan, then took off in a fleet of SUVs and a sedan to a different location. […]
While it is not unusual for an incoming administration to meet with foreign dignitaries during the transition, Trump surrogates have repeatedly failed to acknowledge these contacts. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at first said he did not discuss campaign matters with Russian officials, only to later acknowledge at least two conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The United Arab Emirates set up a meeting between a military contractor close to the Trump administration and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin. And this week, CNN reported that Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, visited with Flynn, Kushner and Bannon without alerting the American government beforehand.
The meeting with the king of Jordan had extremely high stakes: a discussion with the head of a key American ally that might have included plans about spreading nuclear power to one of the world’s least stable regions, possibly with the help of one of America’s main geopolitical enemies, Russia. The revelation of the meeting comes as Abdullah plans to visit the United States next week and speak with Trump.
If this sounds like the kind of thing that’s going to keep you up at night, you’re not alone. “Any proposal to introduce dozens of nuclear reactors to the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, raises many proliferation red flags,” the Arms Control Association’s Daryl Kimball told BuzzFeed. “The Saudis do not need nuclear power and them gaining access could lead to dangerous consequences down the road.” Giving a country nuclear energy capacity, as the Marshall Plan would, “is like giving a country a nuclear weapons starter kit,” the nonprofit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s Alexandra Bell said.
On the bright side, Flynn, Bannon and Kushner are completely transparent, highly qualified people who we can definitely trust with national security.
And don’t forget, Kushner still works for the White House. Sweet dreams.
Note: The original post misstated that Steve Bannon also still works for the White House. That has been corrected and a link added to Jared Kushner’s position.