Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Collusion (Simon & Schuster) and Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Professor. Lawyer. Nov. 03, 2019 5 min read

All the evidence—there's now a mountain of it—suggests Flynn told Trump in August 2015 at Trump Tower that his friends the Ledeens, working with Bill Lofgren (ex-CIA official focused on Russia), had determined the Russians had Clinton's emails. That's why Trump fawned over Putin.

1/ When it became clear Russia was helping his campaign, Trump *maintained* his belief that the Kremlin had Clinton's emails but began formulating a counter-theory—that he would present publicly—that would please the Kremlin: that Ukraine had them. This was *during the campaign*.

2/ The same people who believed the Kremlin had Trump's emails *beginning in June 2015*—including Flynn, Prince, Bannon, and later Manafort—participated in the scam theory that in fact maybe a different foreign nation (namely, Ukraine) had them and was colluding with Clinton.

3/ The theory these right-wing conspirators posited was that Ukraine was blackmailing Clinton with her own emails, but therefore *also* wanted to collude with her to help her win—as Ukraine could only use its leverage over Clinton (so the theory went) *if* Clinton were president.

4/ Positing this knowingly false counter-theory had the additional benefit of *hiding* the fact that Trump's entire team believed the Kremlin had Clinton's emails beginning in mid- to late 2015—and that they then kowtowed to Putin under the theory he'd eventually destroy Clinton.

5/ The media brouhaha in the United States over the idea Mifsud told Papadopoulos in April 2016 the Kremlin had Clinton's emails was therefore misplaced—as Trump and his team had already become convinced of this (by the Ledeens, Flynn, and Prince) *way back in mid- to late 2015*.

6/ The conspiracy theory Trump pursued in Ukraine was the same one he's *always pursued*: I can destroy Clinton, destroy the Democrats, and hide my collusion with Russia by finding someone abroad in Russia or Ukraine (pro-Kremlin, if the latter) to say they have Clinton's emails.

7/ The chief proponent of the "counter-theory" accusing Ukraine of collaborating with the Clinton campaign was Paul Manafort—it's why he stayed in contact with Trump's team after he was "fired" in August 2016... indeed, until as late as *2018*. He inspired the Ukraine shakedowns.

8/ Trump realized that he had Ukraine *over a barrel* because of Russia—so he didn't need Ukraine to *actually* have Clinton's emails, merely to say that it was *possible* that rogue elements in Ukraine had acquired her server and that Zelensky was going to look into it and ASAP.

9/ But Trump knew the "counter-theory" wasn't as important in 2018-9 as it'd been in 2016—as he'd won the election. The most the counter-theory could now do was destroy Clinton, "legitimize" his presidency, and exculpate Putin from 2016 interference—allowing an end to sanctions.

10/ But Trump/Giuliani thought, why waste a good idea? So they decided to use the *same counter-theory* to win the *2020* election: soliciting a bribe from the new Ukrainian government by saying it could get military aid if it announced investigations of *both* Clinton and Biden.

11/ This isn't about "one phone call." It's not about a "smear." Trump knew—by the time he transitioned his counter-theory plan to add Biden—that Biden was the biggest threat to him. His plot to shake down Ukraine was a plot to undo all we know about 2016 *and* win again in 2020.

12/ Again, the conspiracy theory Trump's allies planned to use to win the 2016 election way back in June 2015 is the *same conspiracy theory* Trump and his allies were trying to get Ukraine to falsely confirm in 2018 and 2019—and for the *same reason*: to steal a U.S. election.

13/ Flynn was co-authoring a book with Mike Ledeen when Ledeen's wife proposed to Bannon that he work with someone Mike knew from the CIA to prove Putin had Clinton's emails. Trump wanted Flynn to run point on Russia for him from August 2015 on; HRC emails were part of his remit.

14/ The Mueller Report establishes that, by summer 2016, Trump had *directly ordered* Flynn—who the FBI file says had far and away the best Russia contacts of anyone in the Trump campaign—to get Clinton's emails. At the same time, Manafort was plotting the Ukraine counter-theory.

15/ American media is making a huge mistake by saying this scandal is exclusively about the "next election"—because you can't understand the scandal unless you understand what Trump, Flynn, Prince, Bannon, the Ledeens, "ICI," McFarlane, and others were up to in *mid-August 2015*.

16/ Every time the Ukraine scandal is falsely disassociated from the Russia scandal because U.S. media thinks its viewers are bored of Russia—or think, "that's so *last* election!"—is a *major* victory for Trump. And that's why he keeps lying, saying this is "all about one call."

17/ Michael Flynn restarted the Flynn Intel Group on June 12, 2015—*one week* after Barbara Ledeen, his friend, proposed to Steve Bannon a *massive* intel operation. Weeks later Trump was summoning Flynn to Trump Tower. Flynn—a traitor—knows *exactly* why Trump summoned him then.

18/ Flynn's/Manafort's tasks were the *same*: to work with the Russians so Trump could get Clinton's emails, Putin would continue attacking America on Trump's behalf, Trump could do business in Russia if he lost, and Flynn could craft a sanctions-ending nuclear deal if Trump won.

19/ U.S. intelligence now has all the information confirming all of this: but they won't—and this is the greatest mystery in the last 50 years of intelligence—release, apparently even to @RepAdamSchiff, the 90% of the Mueller case file that they received and have shown to no one.

20/ What's amazing is that Donald Trump has now constructed a *totally baseless* international war on U.S. intelligence at a time when U.S. intelligence is the *only* outfit that could bring him down by revealing the tru—

—oh, no, wait... that totally makes sense, then. Got it.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



Bookmark

____
Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.