Michael Flynn attempts to illegally align Russian and U.S. militaries

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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Sometime in late January, Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pushes for the Pentagon to work closely with Russia’s military, a move that would cut right through federal law.

The Pentagon and Russia have a narrow communications channel used to keep American and Russian pilots safe from each other. Flynn wants to expand the channel to coordinate the overseas military operations of both countries, under the guise of fighting to combat the Islamic state.

Inside the Pentagon, “there was a lot of fear that we’d move to outright cooperation [with Russia] through this channel,” according to a former senior defense official.

Whatever prospects it may have had died after Defense Secretary James Mattis made clear that he would not sign any required authorization to green-light cooperation, according to two knowledgeable former senior defense officials.

Although the plan was “ill-defined,” a senior defense official said, Pentagon officials were aghast at what they understood as a move by Flynn to sidle up to Russia—part of a closeness that ultimately got Flynn fired, and one that fit a pattern of extending an olive branch to a Kremlin that U.S. intelligence had concluded interfered in the presidential election on Trump’s behalf.

“Everyone knew where it was coming from,” the senior defense official said, referring to Flynn.

The Daily Beast

Flynn claims the initiative will help the two countries take down ISIS in Syria, but Russia’s counterterrorism efforts against ISIS are mostly a facade. The Pentagon knows this.

While Russia maintains that its intervention in the Syrian civil war is a counterterrorism mission, in practice, Russia only seems to find terrorists where the Assad regime meets resistance, leaving ISIS-held territory to the U.S. and its allies to assault.

The Daily Beast

Flynn and Jared Kushner tried setting up a private communications backchannel between the two countries less than a month after the 2016 election.



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