Rachel Maddow found a thing, everyone!

We thought Michael Flynn was going to be sentenced sometime soon, but last week, his lawyers stomped their feet and clapped their hands and insisted that he needs to cooperate with the feds a whole bunch more. (Look for the helpers, like Mister Rogers said! Michael Flynn is the helpers!). Flynn is cooperating as a witness for the government in the upcoming trial in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) of his former business partner Bijan Rafiekian (AKA Bijan Kian), the Iranian-American who co-founded the Flynn Intel Group with him, and who is in big trouble for the same Turkish foreign agent stuff Michael Flynn is currently not in trouble for, because he's such a good helper! Kian also served on the Trump transition as an intelligence aide, vetting Trump intel appointments and like such as, because of course he did. (While he was doing secret foreign agent stuff. Because, again, of course.)

That fact is key to the thing Maddow found. As they approach trial, Kian's lawyers filed a request to see basically everything the government has on Michael Flynn, we guess as a way to impugn the credibility of the government's star witness. The government is like NUH UH! Not because they don't want to share with opposing counsel the stuff they are supposed to share with opposing counsel, but because so much of it relates to ongoing investigations that are very, very sensitive. So that is a whole fight. (That also tells you that Flynn has been helping out with more investigations besides the one into his dumb business partner who's about to go to trial.)

But in a new "give us evidence" letter Kian's lawyers sent to the prosecutors handling the case, Maddow found a curious line where it asks specifically for records of Flynn's contacts with Russians, "including Kirill Dmitriev." Like, it says that specifically. It says "Russians," and then specifies that "Russians" definitely for sure includes Kirill Dmitriev.

Wait what? What are Bijan Kian's lawyers talking about? Do they know a thing, or are they just blowing a thing out their ass? And WHO THE FUCK IS KIRILL DMITRIEV?

You've met him before, many times. He is the guy baby-faced Aryan Blackwater sadist Erik Prince met with in Seychelles a week and a half before the Trump inauguration in January 2017. The Russian guy. The Russian guy who runs the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is extremely connected to Vladimir Putin. The one Prince met with reportedly as an unofficial emissary of the Trump campaign, because he was trying to set up a secret back channel between Trumpworld and the Kremlin.


Oh yeah, and that's the meeting Erik Prince has lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied about.


He lied to Congress and said it was just a totally RANDO thing, like he was hanging out at the Seychelles resort after dinner and his Emirati buddies said he should meet the Russian, because they were all mutual friends on Facebook or whatever. They had a beer! Just one beer! Because Erik Prince likes beers!

He thinks the Russian was by himself, but maybe his wife was there! After that he went to the gym, probably to do his nipple crunches! He remembers that part! (Funnily enough, in that same congressional testimony, Prince seemed to suggest that maybe intel intercepts might blow his cover story, just a little bit.)

But then -- DOH! -- news came out that actually the whole meeting was pre-planned, with the intent that Prince could act as an unofficial emissary of the Trump campaign to set up a back channel with the Kremlin. That was according to Robert Mueller's cooperating witness George Nader, the Lebanese-American lobbyist who has advised both the crown princes Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (MBS) and Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi (MBZ), and who had a hand in setting up the Seychelles meeting, at the behest of MBZ. (Erik Prince just kept lying about it, all the way up to just a couple weeks back, when he tried to lie about it to Al Jazeera America journalist Mehdi Hasan's face, while the entire audience laughed at him.)

What's extremely interesting here is what happened just before that Seychelles meeting. You see, in December, Nader, acting as the representative for the crown prince of Abu Dhabi (just like he was in Seychelles), met at Trump Tower with Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, FUCKING MBZ HIMSELF, WHO HAD SECRETLY FLOWN INTO NEW YORK WITHOUT TELLING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ... and Michael Flynn!

This was also during the same period that He Went To Jared Kushner was trying to set up secret "back channels" with Russia in meetings with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in order to communicate with Vladimir Putin, meetings he proceeded to forgetfully lie about constantly. Kush had also met with Sergey Gorkov, the head of the sanctioned Russian development bank VneshEconomBank. (Which owns the Russian Direct Investment Fund, run by Erik Prince's beer buddy. And maybe Michael Flynn's beer buddy too?)

So -- if Bijan Kian's lawyers know something we don't, and they might, because Kian was an intel guy on the Trump transition -- this suggests that not only is Erik Prince a full-of-shit liar when he says his meeting with Dmitriev was just an innocent lark, a shared pint with a fellow world traveler, but that he's not the only Trump person who was dicking around with this particular Putin-connected Russian money man.

And why would they be setting up back channels anyway? We don't know, but it always goes back to secret quid pro quos to lift sanctions in exchange for installing Trump as the illegitimate foreign agent president of America, so we're just going to assume that until we hear otherwise. Prince even seemed to accidentally give the game away on that one in his original testimony to Congress.

And what was Michael Flynn working on at that very time? Oh, just a grift to "recolonize" the Middle East, steal its energy resources, and divide the spoils amongst a handful of Russian and American oligarchs, a plan that required lifting the sanctions.

And what did Flynn lie about to the FBI, landing him in his current predicament? Discussing lifting sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

And what was Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian Treason Meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower about? You get the idea.

Michael Cohen's "peace plan" for Ukraine? YUP.

It's always the fucking sanctions. And everybody in Trumpworld lies about every single conversation they've ever had with Russians about lifting sanctions.

Can't wait for Mueller's next round of indictments to drop. We think he might be getting close to telling us a story about SANCTIONS.

[The Rachel Maddow Show]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!


Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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