Deciphering Joe Biden’s confusing comments about Michael Flynn  

There are literally reams of records — like court filings in addition to also sworn testimony — that will shed light on the complicated backstory. Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s far-fetched accusations, Biden’s wobbly responses to basic questions, in addition to also the facts you need to know. 

Specifically, Trump has claimed these surreptitious efforts targeted Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, in addition to also that will “Biden knew” about the idea, which the evidence doesn’t support.

To further link Biden alleged wrongdoing against Flynn, the Trump administration declassified sensitive information about US intelligence reports that will mentioned Flynn during the transition. Biden or one of his staffers accessed at least one of these reports, which Trump currently says proves his theory.

The FBI investigated Flynn not because of a “deep state” plot, however because of concerns about his unusual phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition, in addition to also because he in addition to also some other Trump officials publicly lied about those conversations. inside early stages of the investigation, the FBI was doing counterintelligence work to flesh out  Flynn’s ties to the Russian government in addition to also understand the scope of Russian meddling inside 2016 election.

Flynn told several lies to the FBI when they questioned him about the calls, putting himself in serious legal jeopardy, because the idea’s illegal to lie to the FBI. He  pleaded guilty  in December 2017 to one count of lying to the FBI in addition to also agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.

How has Biden responded?

For his part, Biden has largely avoided addressing the conspiracies around the opaque “Obamagate” narrative crafted by Trump in addition to also his allies, calling the idea a “diversion” in addition to also instead hitting Trump on his fumbled US response to coronavirus, in addition to also issues like health care in addition to also tax cuts.

however Biden was asked about the idea directly in two television interviews last week. however Biden’s answers — in addition to also even the questions themselves — provided more confusion than clarity.

On ABC’s “not bad Morning America,”  host George Stephanopoulos asked a long-winded question about the Flynn saga. He invoked the Justice Department’s recent decision to dismiss the case, in addition to also then asked, “What did you know about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn?”

“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” Biden replied.

Moments later, Biden said he misunderstood the earlier question, explaining, “I thought you asked me whether or not I had anything to do with him being prosecuted.” In that will context, his denial makes sense, because the “prosecution” of Flynn didn’t happen until December 2017. 

that will wasn’t the only misstatement during the interview. In a follow-up question, Stephanopoulos inaccurately said that will Biden was told at a January 2017 meeting inside Oval Office that will the FBI was planning to question Flynn about his suspicious contacts with the Russian ambassador. 

“I was aware that will there was, that will they had asked for an investigation,” Biden responded, apparently referring to the FBI. “however that will’s all I know about the idea. I don’t think anything else.”

Biden’s explanation fits with the voluminous record: At that will Oval Office meeting, then-FBI Director James Comey told Obama in addition to also Biden that will he was concerned about Flynn’s “unusual” communication with the Russian ambassador in addition to also that will the FBI was looking into the idea.
Obama said the FBI should proceed “by the book,” however wondered if his aides should reconsider sharing classified information with Flynn, according to a recently declassified email coming from Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice.
There’s nothing inside public record indicating that will Biden knew about the FBI’s plan to question Flynn. The decision was made after Biden left office in addition to also the FBI didn’t even inform the Justice Department until the agents were on their way, according to testimony coming from the key players.

Despite Trump’s claims, there’s no proof Obama or Biden knew beforehand that will Flynn would likely be questioned by the FBI. that will is usually a key point, because Trump claims that will the FBI interview of Flynn was an illegal “set-up,” in addition to also that will Obama in addition to also Biden were responsible for laying what Trump in addition to also his allies have called a “perjury trap.” 

The Biden campaign declined to comment with that will story. They declined to answer specific questions about the White House meeting in addition to also Biden’s knowledge of the Flynn investigation. 

Did Biden later change his story?

Two days after the ABC interview, Biden did a  virtual town hall on MSNBC, in addition to also was asked, “What was your involvement inside investigation of Michael Flynn in addition to also the FBI investigation?”

Biden responded with an adamant denial. “I was never a part or had any knowledge of any criminal investigation into Flynn while I was in office, period,” he said. “Not one single time.”

Trump’s allies pounced in addition to also claimed that will Biden was caught in a lie. First, he told ABC that will he knew about an investigation — however then he told MSNBC that will he didn’t know. What gives?

A close reading of Biden’s comments suggests that will he has some wiggle room to argue that will he has been consistent. inside first comment, he said he knew “they,” presumably the FBI, were looking into Flynn. At that will point, there was a counterintelligence investigation to figure out Flynn’s ties to Russia. inside second comment, Biden said he didn’t know about any “criminal” investigation.

the idea still isn’t clear when the Flynn counterintelligence investigation transformed into a criminal investigation. The Justice Department seized upon that will fuzziness in arguing recently that will Flynn should have never been interviewed by the FBI inside first place, in addition to also his case should be tossed.

The Biden campaign declined multiple requests to clear up the timeline of what Biden knew.

Biden didn’t get his point across in a clear in addition to also consistent fashion. in addition to also for someone trying to rebut a conspiracy theory, he inadvertently ended up giving more legs to the allegations. however his explanation makes sense when stacked up against the public record. in addition to also Trump, who is usually accusing Biden of gross abuses of power, incorporates a well-established pattern  of creating false claims, in addition to also was himself impeached for abusing his presidential powers.

What has Trump claimed about Biden?

Biden hasn’t factored much into the conversation about the Russia investigation that will has been going on since 2017 — his name doesn’t even appear in Mueller’s report. however that will spring, Trump in addition to also his allies at right-wing news outlets, have tried to connect Biden to the Russia investigation.

“I think Obama in addition to also Biden knew about the idea,” Trump said Monday of the supposed plot to sabotage his presidency. “They were participants, so I’m a little surprised by those statements.”

Last week, Trump said, “President Obama in addition to also Vice President Biden, they knew everything.”

that will conspiracy theory was quickly picked up  in right-wing media, most prominently on Fox News, where “Obamagate” was mentioned more than “coronavirus” For just two days last week.

What about unmasking?

Trump also focused on another element of the controversy — something called “unmasking.”

Information about Americans is usually anonymized in US intelligence reports for privacy reasons. however there are instances when US officials who read these reports need to see the full picture. To make that will happen, they need to provide a justification to the agency that will produced the report. If the agency grants that will request, the information is usually “unmasked.”

that will is usually a very routine practice — the idea is usually done by officials authorized to view these details in addition to also requests have ramped up inside Trump administration.

The Trump administration  declassified brand new documents  that will month naming the Obama-era officials who requested the unmasking of an individual who ended up being Flynn. The Trump administration did not Discharge the justifications that will were given for the unmasking requests, in addition to also the documents on their own don’t indicate any abuses or wrongdoing — despite Trump’s claims.

The records indicate that will Biden or a staffer requested an unmasking on January 12, 2017.

Biden has not commented publicly about that will, in addition to also his campaign declined explain to CNN why he made the requests or what justification was provided to the National Security Agency.  however the Trump-appointed NSA director said these requests were vetted before being approved.

The Biden campaign did Discharge a blistering statement about unmasking last week, coming from spokesman Andrew Bates, who said Trump was trying to “distract” coming from coverage of his coronavirus response, in addition to also accused Republicans of “abusing” in addition to also politicizing US intelligence.

“Importantly, none of these individuals could have known Flynn’s identity beforehand,” Bates said. “These documents have absolutely nothing to do with any FBI investigation in addition to also they confirm that will all normal procedures were followed — any suggestion otherwise is usually a flat out lie.”

Despite the evidence that will proper protocol was indeed followed, the Biden campaign’s limited rebuttals on that will issue have been met with  aggressive commentary coming from Trump, who said last week that will Biden “was one of the unmaskers, meaning he knew everything about the idea.

What happens next?

There are no indications that will Trump will back down his conspiracy-filled allegations against Biden. If anything, Trump’s campaign has signaled that will the idea wants to keep that will issue inside news.

With Biden unclear in his public comments, in addition to also his campaign unwilling to publicly provide a clear timeline of the facts as they see them, the idea will be easy for Trump to continue dominating the conversation. He has the largest megaphone inside entire world, in addition to also he’s more than happy to use the idea. 

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