Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By NBC News
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn provided “substantial assistance” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, according to court papers filed Dec. 4, 2018.
“The defendant provided firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memo filed by Mueller that offered few new details of the Russia probe.
The documents alleged that Flynn failed to disclose that he assisted Turkey’s efforts to remove Fethullah Gulen, a cleric whom Turkey’s president accused of orchestrating a failed coup, from the United States.
Reporting that Flynn met with Mueller’s team 19 times, the memo says a sentence that includes no prison time is “appropriate and warranted.”
Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser 24 days into the new administration after it was revealed he discussed sanctions in a December 2016 phone call with the Russian ambassador — despite Flynn’s earlier denials. Trump took 18 days to boot Flynn.
Here are key events in Flynn’s case:
Dec. 4, 2018 — Mueller says in a sentencing memo that Flynn made multiple false statements to law enforcement but has provided “substantial assistance” to the investigation, including meeting 19 times with Mueller’s team and Justice Department lawyers.
Dec. 1, 2017 — Flynn pleads guilty in federal court to a charge of making false statements to the FBI about his communications with Russia.
Nov. 24, 2017 — Flynn’s legal team cuts ties with lawyers around Trump and his family.
Nov. 22, 2017 — Bijan Kian, an Iranian-American who was a partner at the now-dissolved Flynn Intel Group, becomes a subject of Mueller’s investigation for his alleged role in the failure of Flynn’s former lobbying firm to disclose its work on behalf of foreign governments.
Nov. 10, 2017 — Sources say federal investigators are examining whether Flynn met with senior Turkish officials just weeks before Trump’s inauguration about a potential quid pro quo in which Flynn would be paid to secretly carry out directives from Ankara while in the White House.
Nov. 5, 2017 — Sources say federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of Flynn and his son as part of the probe into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election.
Oct. 27, 2017 — Former CIA Director James Woolsey is interviewed by FBI agents working for Mueller about allegations that Flynn discussed the potentially illegal removal of a Turkish cleric from the U.S.
Sept. 13, 2017 — Flynn’s son Michael G. Flynn is a subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
May 22, 2017 — Flynn’s attorneys say that he won’t give the Senate Intelligence Committee documents requested under subpoena about Russian meddling in the election and that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
May 18, 2017 — Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
May 11, 2017 — Flynn is subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which requested documents that members said were relevant to its investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
May 9, 2017 — Trump fires FBI Director James Comey after senior Justice Department officials conclude that he mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
May 8, 2017 — Three former Obama administration officials tell NBC News that former President Barack Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn as his national security adviser, saying he believed Flynn wasn’t suitable for such a high-level post.
April 1, 2017 — The Senate Intelligence Committee turns down the request by Flynn’s attorney for a grant of immunity in exchange for his testimony.
March 16, 2017 — Documents released by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee show that Flynn was paid more than $45,000, plus perks, by the state-sponsored Russian television network RT to speak at its 10th-anniversary gala in December 2015.
March 9, 2017 — Nearly a month after his firing, Flynn retroactively registers with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying that might have helped the Turkish government before Election Day.
Feb. 14, 2017 — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Trump asked Flynn to resign because of an erosion of trust — not because any laws were broken.
Feb. 13, 2017 — Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tells NBC News that Flynn has the full confidence of the president. Moments later, Spicer says Trump is evaluating the situation. Hours after that, Flynn resigns, saying he “inadvertently briefed Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others with incomplete information regarding his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.
Feb. 10, 2017 — A spokesperson tells NBC News that Flynn “can’t be 100 percent sure” but doesn’t remember talking about sanctions. Trump denies knowledge of the reports that Flynn and the Russian talked sanctions. “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” he tells reporters. Also that day, Flynn speaks by phone to Pence, reportedly to apologize.
Feb. 9, 2017 — The Washington Post reports that Flynn, according to current and former U.S. officials, did discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador; officials confirm the content of the discussion to NBC News. This day is the first time that Pence is informed of the Justice Department’s warning about Flynn’s call — two weeks after Trump was told.
Jan. 30, 2017 — Trump fires Yates, saying she’s being axed for refusing to defend his executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Jan. 26, 2017 — Yates tells White House Counsel Donald McGahn what she knows about the call, according to the White House. Trump was told immediately, Spicer says, and the White House counsel launched an “exhaustive” review that included questioning of Flynn.
Jan. 23, 2017 — At Spicer’s first White House briefing, he says Flynn reassured him the night before that Flynn’s call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak call didn’t involve sanctions. The subject, Spicer says, was a plane crash over the holiday, Christmas greetings, a potential conference in Syria on ISIS and the scheduling of a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Jan. 20 or 21, 2017 — The FBI questions Flynn about his call to the ambassador as part of the bureau’s broader investigation into Russia, according to a senior U.S. official.
Jan. 20, 2017 — Trump is inaugurated.
Jan. 19, 2017 — Obama administration officials — National Intelligence Director James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — discuss the situation and want to warn the Trump team that Flynn has misled Spicer and Pence. Comey vetoes that, saying it would compromise his ongoing investigation.
Jan. 15, 2017 — Vice President Mike Pence says on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions weren’t discussed: “It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”
Jan. 13, 2017 — Spicer says that Flynn didn’t discuss sanctions with the ambassador and that the purpose of the call was to schedule a time for Trump and Putin to speak post-inauguration.
Jan. 12, 2017 — Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reports the contact between Flynn and Kislyak, raising questions about whether sanctions were discussed.
Jan. 11, 2017 — Trump denies that members of his staff had contact with Russia before the election during the campaign.
Sometime after Dec. 30, 2016 — The FBI reviews intercepted communications and finds the Flynn-Kislyak conversation. The matter gets folded into the FBI’s probe into Russian election-related hacking and related issues.
Dec. 30, 2016 — Putin says he won’t retaliate for the sanctions and invites children from the U.S. Embassy to a Christmas party. Trump praises Putin in a tweet.
Dec. 29, 2016 — The Obama administration unveils sanctions against Russia for election-related hacking, expelling diplomats and shutting down two compounds. The same day, Flynn speaks to Kislyak by phone.
Nov. 18, 2016 — President-elect Trump names Flynn his national security adviser.
June 2016 — Russian hackers are identified as the culprits behind the hacking of Democratic institutions and figures; U.S. officials will later say that Putin was involved and that the goal was to meddle with the electoral process.
December 2015 — Flynn takes a paid trip to Russia and appears at a gala for RT, the state-run TV station, where he dines with Putin.
Summer 2015 — Flynn first meets Trump, according to an interview he gave to The Washington Post.
Buttigieg, a military vet, says Trump pretended to be disabled to dodge the draft
By Josh Lederman
WASHINGTON — Pete Buttigieg accused President Trump on Thursday of exploiting his privileged upbringing to “fake a disability” during the Vietnam War so that “somebody could go to war in his place.”
Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer, sought to use his own military background to draw a sharp contrast with Trump during a “Washington Post Live” interview. Pressed on whether he believed that Trump, who cited bone spurs in his heel to be exempted from the draft, had a disability, Buttigieg suggested he did not — “at least not that one.”
“If you’re a conscientious objector, I’d admire that,” said Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor and Democratic 2020 contender. “But this is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multi-millionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place.”
Allegations that Trump dodged the draft have been a sore spot for the president dating back to his 2016 presidential campaign, when it was revealed that he had received five deferments from service in the Vietnam War — four for education and one for a diagnosis of bone spurs.
Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, told the House Oversight Committee in February that Trump had told him “there was no surgery” and “You think I’m stupid? I wasn’t going to Vietnam.”
Buttigieg also lambasted the president for reportedly considering pardons for several U.S. service members or contractors convicted or accused of war crimes, calling it “disgusting.”
“If you are convicted by a jury of your military peers of committed a war crime, the idea that the president is going to overrule that is an affront to the idea of good order and discipline and to the idea of the rule of law, the very thing we believe we’re putting our lives on the line to defend,” Buttigieg said.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
But Buttigieg in recent days has increasingly attracted Trump’s attention as he’s gained traction in the Democratic presidential primary. Trump earlier this month mocked Buttigieg as Alfred E. Neuman, the goofy cartoon mascot of Mad Magazine, and criticized Fox News for hosting Buttigieg on Sunday for a town hall event.
As Buttigieg works to increase his appeal to black voters, he blasted Trump on Thursday for what he described as “the racism that is emanating from this White House.” Asked whether Trump is a racist, Buttigieg said, “I think so.”
“If you do racist things and say racist things, the question of whether that makes you a racist is almost academic,” Buttigieg said. “The problem with the president is that he does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists.”
Bank CEO Stephen Calk charged with soliciting Manafort for Trump admin job
By Tom Winter, Joe Valiquette and Adiel Kaplan
Bank CEO Stephen Calk tried to exchange $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort for a top position within the Trump administration, according to an indictment against the banking executive unsealed Thursday.
Calk, the president of the Federal Savings Bank, approved millions in “high-risk loans in an effort to secure a personal benefit, namely to an appointment as Secretary of the Army, or another similar high-level position in the incoming presidential administration,” said Deputy U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss of the Southern District of New York.
Federal investigators were probing last year whether Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, promised Calk a job in the White House in return for $16 million in home loans, NBC News first reported in February 2018.
Calk, who surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning, allegedly approved multiple high-risk loans for Manafort, who urgently needed them to avoid foreclosure. While the loans were pending approval, Calk allegedly provided Manafort with a ranked list of positions he desired. At its head were the two top positions at the U.S. Treasury, followed by Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Defense. The list also included 19 high-level ambassadorships, among them ambassador to the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.
Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons. The three loans were questioned by other officials at the bank, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News last February.
The loans raised red flags at the bank in part because of Manafort’s history of defaulting on prior loans and that the size made Manafort’s debt the single largest lending relationship at the bank, according to prosecutors. Calk was required to authorize an unusual lending scheme to avoid passing the lending cap to a single borrower.
In exchange, Manafort provided Calk with personal benefits, prosecutors said. The bank CEO was appointed to Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016, just days after the bank approved a proposed $9.5 million loan to Manafort.
According to the indictment, Manafort and his son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, approached the bank in an effort to refinance loans tied to a construction project in Los Angeles.
During a meeting held on July 27, 2016 — while Manafort was Trump campaign chairman — Calk allegedly broached the idea of him joint the Trump campaign. By the next day, the first loan of $5.7 million was approved. Less than a week later, Manafort offered Calk a position on the economic advisory committee for Donald Trump, according to the indictment.
Calk issued another loan for over $9 million later in the fall of 2016. Then, Calk reached out to Manafort asking him if he was involved in the Trump presidential transition following the election, according to the indictment.
Manafort allegedly responded, “total background but involved directly.”
Shortly after the election, in November or December 2016, Manafort recommended Calk for an administrative position, leading to a formal interview of Calk for Under Secretary of the Army at the transition team headquarters in Trump Tower in 2017. When Manafort made the recommendation, he had more than $6 million in loans pending approval at Calk’s bank.
Calk ultimately was not hired for the position.
Months later, the loans to Manafort were downgraded by the banks regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Calk allegedly lied to regulators, telling them he never desired a position in the presidential administration.
A November 14, 2016 email Calk sent to Manafort that included his resume and list of desired positions in ranked order was as exhibit in the Manafort trial.
Buttigieg, a military vet, says Trump pretended to be disabled to dodge the draft
Chimps spotted cracking open tortoises’ shells and eating reptiles for first time | World News
European pilots urge EU regulator to thoroughly review Boeing 737 Max
Bank CEO Stephen Calk charged with soliciting Manafort for Trump admin job
Healthy dog put down because owner wanted to be buried together | US News
Sterling slumps as Theresa May’s time as UK leader edges to a close
UN tells Britain to end ‘colonial administration’ of Chagos Islands | World News
US tariffs on China have been paid almost entirely by US importers: IMF
European elections UK results time: What time is the result of EU election due?
Trump lashes out at Rex Tillerson for saying Putin out-prepared him
Politics7 days ago
Jimmy Carter released from hospital after breaking hip
Politics1 week ago
Who is the best leader in Britain? Vote for YOUR favourite party leader – Express poll
World1 week ago
Barclays analysts call for UBS strategy overhaul, suggest break up of Swiss bank
Latest News7 days ago
Billionaire who lost three children in Sri Lanka blasts takes out newspaper ad in Scotland | UK News
Politics1 week ago
U.S. military to build 6 tent cities near border for migrants
World7 days ago
Trump says hope not when asked if US will go to war with Iran
Politics6 days ago
Florida officials demand answers on DHS plan to send asylum-seekers to Democratic counties
Politics5 days ago
Remain cheerleader Soubry BLASTS dishonest politicians in bizarre rant – ‘FUELLING FEAR’