The Comey firing is rightly dominating the news. Amazingly, though, it wasn’t the only major development in the ongoing and intensifying Trump-Russia scandal.
The official reason for FBI Director Jim Comey’s dismissal is that he mishandled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, something many Democrats surely agree with. But the more convincing explanation is that Comey had infuriated the president by having the FBI launch a formal criminal probe into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.
But the Comey story buried other huge Russia-related developments that came to light yesterday and this morning that you should really be following. What follows is a quick guide to what you need to know to stay on top of what happened — and why it all matters.
Tuesday night: federal prosecutors subpoena associates of Michael Flynn
Last night, CNN dropped a bombshell: Federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to colleagues close to Michael Flynn, Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser, asking for business records.
This is a really big deal. The investigation into Flynn’s ties with Russia has been ongoing since July, but this is indicates the probe is picking up steam and that prosecutors may be growing more confident that there’s enough out there to build a criminal case against the disgraced retired general. The focus appears to be on Flynn’s business relationships with people in Russia and Turkey.
That makes sense. Flynn already has a shady record with his own disclosures, financial and otherwise, and they involve exactly those two countries. He didn’t reveal a $45,000 payment for giving a speech in Moscow from Russia Today, a government-run news channel seen by many in the United States as a propaganda arm of the Putin regime. Flynn sat comfortably next to Vladimir Putin at the gala where he delivered his remarks.
After he was fired by Trump, Flynn revealed he was paid $500,000 to work as a foreign agent representing Turkish interests. He had not disclosed that information to the Justice Department.
Flynn also famously lied to Vice President Mike Pence about discussing US sanctions against Russia with Moscow’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the administration began. News of that coming out was what led Trump to finally fire Flynn, who now holds the record for shortest tenure as national security adviser at 24 days.