Not all subversive communications have to be in secret. Sometimes the best way to avoid detection is to communicate publicly, although it helps to be a bit more subtle than this.
On December 30, the day after President Barack Obama retaliated for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. election and Trump’s National Security adviser Mike Flynn had multiple phone calls with Putin during which Obama’s sanctions on Russia were discussed, Trump praised Putin for his delay in reacting to the sanctions.
Trump wrote, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
Back on January 23, the Trump White House denied there had been several phone calls between the Russian U.S. Ambassador and Mike Flynn on the 29th (they also changed the date of their ownership of a call).
A Reuters report indicated there were in fact five phone calls that day (emphasis mine):
The White House said on Monday that national security adviser Michael Flynn held just two phone calls with Russia’s ambassador to Washington, amid reports that Flynn’s communications are being scrutinized by U.S. counterintelligence agents.
Reuters reported earlier this month, citing three sources familiar with the matter, that Flynn had held five phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak on Dec. 29, the day then-President Barack Obama retaliated for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.
This looks like a ham-handed way of letting Putin know that he was right to listen to Flynn’s reassurances that once Trump was in office, he would take care of the sanctions imposed by President Obama, in retaliation for Moscow’s hostile efforts to give the election to Trump.
Once Obama issued these harsher sanctions on Russia, Putin had even more incentive to ensure that Trump won the election. He had reason to believe Trump would repay him by rolling the sanctions back.
Just a few days ago, Putin offered Edward Snowden to Trump as a “gift.” (Trojan Horse, more likely, a win/win for Putin- again.)
In July of 2016, Trump said of Snowden, whom Trump has said should be executed, “And if I were president, Putin would give him over.”
Well. Now we have a report that Putin is offering to do just that, which if true exemplifies how these two men communicate with each other publicly without ever having a direct conversation. (It is possible they have communicated privately about these matters, but there isn’t public evidence of that.)
On July 27, Donald Trump invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, and read in context with what we know today, Trump’s comment reads as if he knew they were listening to him and waiting for direction, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
He continued with what appears to be a slip because it was not public knowledge that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC, “By the way, they hacked — they probably have her 33,000 e-mails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 e-mails that she lost and deleted because you’d see some beauties there. So let’s see.”
The big question right now is did Trump order Flynn to take these calls with Russia, and specifically of the calls before the election, did Trump and or the people working for him conspire with Russia to hand the election to Trump.
This public tweet is evidence of communication between Trump and Putin. It is evidence that Trump signaled to Putin that he was “very smart” for his delay. Now what else could that mean other than Putin was smart for trusting that the Trump administration would take care of him and would be rewarded for his delay.
On December 30, Donald Trump was not the president.
This tweet suggests very strongly that Trump knew about the Flynn calls.
This is yet another reason why Republicans need to join Democrats passing legislation to give Congress the authority to review any rollback of sanctions on Russia.