Erdogan, Trump, the Russians and General Flynn: The Tangled Web

By Carl Max Kortepeter | (Informed Comment) | – –

When Sally Yates testified that she had told the Trump Organization, before his appointment as National Security Adviser, that General Flynn was in the pay of Turkey, for $600,000, President Trump should not have made the appointment. Appointments have consequences.

General Flynn was acting erratically because of his company’s security contracts, and in a conversation with Susan Rice Flynn had abruptly switched over to the Turkish position on this issue.

Related clip: Donald Trump Reportedly Wants Mike Flynn Back In The White House | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

General Flynn argued, as does the Erdogan government of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that the US should not arm the Syrian Kurds.* The Erdogan government had had its hands full fighting a national movement of the Kurds, the P.K.K., within Turkey. This testimony was indeed more complex because President Trump had had a personal relationship with General Flynn in previous years.

In addition to the strong Turkey tie, Flynn had accepted a substantial speaking fee from Vladimir Putin at a state occasion in Moscow. CNN reports that Russian officials during the election campaign boasted that they were sure they could use Flynn to influence Trump.

Carl Max Kortepeter’s new book is Twelve Muslim Revolutions (click)

General Flynn had also held a sensitive post under President Obama, notably the head of the Defense Department Intelligence Unit, from which President Obama had fired him. General Flynn had leverage over the Trump government because he asked for the post of National Security Adviser.

President Trump further involved himself with the Russian government by secretly meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in the Oval Office. The Israeli Government complained that at that meeting, President Trump conveyed top secret material to the Russians, supplied by Jordan and Israel, about the I.S.I.S. Organization, thus endangering their own intelligence assets.

Yet Trump allegedly still maintains it was a mistake to fire Flynn, and Trump may have forced FBI director James Comey out in part because the latter would not drop the Flynn investigation. Why does Trump consider the tainted Flynn so crucial to his presidency?

Carl Max Kortepeter is an educator and commentator who has been informing the Western public about the Middle East since the 1950s. His doctorate is from the University of London. He taught at the University of Toronto and New York University. He is author, most recently, of Twelve Muslim Revolutions, and the Struggle for Legitimacy Against the Imperial Powers, dealing with premodern revolutions, the colonial period, and the blunders of American presidents.

*An earlier version of this article instead treated the issue of the Iraqi Kurds.

4 Responses

  1. Sweet irony: “The Israeli Government complained that at that meeting, President Trump conveyed top secret material to the Russians, supplied by Jordan and Israel, about the I.S.I.S. Organization, thus endangering their own intelligence assets.”

    Hold that quote beside this one from Bloomberg, and imagine the next bubble to pop: President Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a photo opportunity and rebutted last week’s reports that he disclosed sensitive Israeli intelligence on ISIS to Russian officials in the Oval Office, Bloomberg reports.

    Said Trump: “I never mentioned the word or the name Israel, never mentioned during that conversation. They’re all saying I did. So you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.” Here’s the link: link to

    And now this from Axios: link to

    Oh, it’s some jolly good blather, some jolly good….

  2. I didn’t think Yates told the Trump WH before they put Flynn in at NSC… I thought she told the WH Counsel after Flynn had been in office for a couple of weeks. Obama told Trump not to hire Flynn before he was appointed, but Yates’ warning came after Flynn was hired.

  3. Kortepeter mislabels the entity that Flynn directed under Obama. It is the Defense Instelligence Agency, or DIA, not the Defense Intelligence “Unit.”

    Janssen, what are you referring to? Obama did not nominate HRC for president. He did appoint her to be SecState, and aside from being somewhat more hawkish and pro-Sunni rebels in Syria than he was, she was largely a reasonably competent one, oh, unless you want to take seriously that email matter in which she imitated what her two predecessors had done. It was also at the time a politically smart move, putting his main rival for the presidency within the Dem party into his cabinet, hardly a “huge mistake.”

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