The Russian embassy to the United States tweeted a picture of hamburgers as reports swirl that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn illegally contacted the Russian ambassador post-election. The burgers, which have black buns, were appended to a denial that Russia has talked to the United States about lifting sanctions imposed by Barack Obama in the wake of reports that Russia directed hacking of Hillary Clinton's campaign in order to influence the election. Here's the burgers.
If you're not up to speed, the Washington Post broke a story February 9 that indicated that Michael Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during at least one conversation in a series conducted before and after the election. "All [nine] of those officials said Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit," the Post writes. "Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president." Flynn and Vice President Mike Pence both said that no such discussions had taken place. President Trump is reportedly looking into Flynn's conversations, which violate the Logan Act. Kellyanne Conway reassures us, however, that Flynn still "enjoys [Trump's] full confidence." Now, the burger. Why the burger? A popular phrase during the campaign was "nothingburger," typically applied to stories surrounding Hillary Clinton's email server. Or perhaps the social media person failed to recognize that they were attaching a burger? Or perhaps we should be asking what the president knew, when he knew it, and (as security expert John Schindler reports) if it's true that "the Kremlin has ears inside the [Situation Room]." You'll note that the Russian denial is that the nations haven't officially discussed the sanctions. Had discussions taken place while Flynn was still (nominally) a private citizen, that would indeed be true.