This story by the New York Times is just the sort of breathless nothingburger that we’re coming to expect from the nation’s major media. It is headlined A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates.
A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.
Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul D. Manafort.
At a time when Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, and the people connected to him, are under heightened scrutiny — with investigations by American intelligence agencies, the F.B.I. and Congress — some of his associates remain willing and eager to wade into Russia-related efforts behind the scenes.
While it is unclear if the White House will take the proposal seriously, the diplomatic freelancing has infuriated Ukrainian officials. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, said Mr. Artemenko “is not entitled to present any alternative peace plans on behalf of Ukraine to any foreign government, including the U.S. administration.”
Two points that the Times seems to have missed. First, Flynn is not National Security Adviser. Second, Barack Obama is not president. The first point is important because a proposal delivered to Flynn is pretty much meaningless unless it finds other patrons. The second point is important because a large number of people, left and right, and nearly 100% of the media are making a fetish of Obama’s last minute sanctions on Russia. Those sanctions were simply a cheap political stunt by an outgoing administration in an attempt to create problems for the winners of the election. Not only can they be removed by Trump but they should be removed by him… if for no other reason than just to watch heads pop like over-ripe zits.
As the story notes, there is nothing illegal or improper about this. Further, plans like this make it to the White House by the truckload. Most are never read. If they are read and acted on it is only after review by the US government has determined that the plan is useful.
This is precisely the kind of thing that Trump was railing against in Melbourne, Florida. What the Times has done is take an unsolicited proposal, tie it to Russia, speculate on how the plan came about, engage in the character assassination of the authors, and then speculate whether the Trump administration will listen to it because they are all Russian agents, you know.