President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn has come back into the news after The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York reported that former FBI Director James Comey told Congress the department doesn’t think Flynn lied to them.
Remember the fiasco is over him allegedly speaking to to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period in December 2016:
On Jan. 24, 2017, two of Comey’s FBI agents went to the White House to question Flynn, and there was a lot of speculation later that Flynn lied in that interview, which would be a serious crime.
“The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy,” the Washington Post reported in February. “Lying to the FBI is a felony offense.”
According to York, sources close to Comey’s meetings with Congress last March said that what actually happened in those meetings did not match what the media reported:
According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional. As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.
Nine months later, with Comey gone and special counsel Robert Mueller in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI in that Jan. 24 questioning.
It’s also important to remember that as incoming national security advisor, it’s not illegal or out of the ordinary that Flynn spoke with Kislyak. Bush’s national security advisor Stephen Hadley even said that he didn’t find it a problem if Flynn spoke to Kislyak about Russian sanctions and a Washington Post report showed that nothing happened:
“I don’t see what would be wrong if [Flynn] simply said, look, don’t retaliate, doesn’t make sense, it hurts my country, it makes it harder for us as an incoming administration to reconsider Russia policy, which is something we said we’d do. So just hold your fire and let us have a shot at this.”
Indeed, it appears the FBI did not think Flynn had done anything wrong in the calls. On Jan. 23, the Washington Post reported that the FBI had reviewed the Flynn-Kislyak calls and “has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government.” (The calls had been intercepted by U.S. intelligence because the U.S. monitored the Russian ambassador’s communications — something which Flynn, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, surely knew.)
So why on earth did Flynn plead guilty!? I pitched this to Professor Jacobson, who brought up Flynn’s son, and it looks like he’s not the only one. Andrew McCarthy at National Review also noticed the oddities in this case as well.
Last September, the media reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned his eyes to Michael Flynn, Jr., due to “his role as chief of staff to his father at the Flynn Intel Group, a lobbying and consulting firm that worked for international and domestic clients.” From NBC News:
Several legal experts with knowledge of the investigation have told NBC News they believe Mueller, following a classic prosecutorial playbook, is seeking to compel key players, including Flynn and Manafort, to tell what they know about any possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Mueller has brought onto his team a federal prosecutor known for convincing subjects to turn on associates. Any potential criminal liability for Michael G. Flynn could put added pressure on his father, these legal experts said.
“Any time a family member is identified as a subject that does increase pressure,” said Peter White, a former federal prosecutor. “In the typical parent-child relationship the last thing any parent would want is for their child to get in trouble for something they initiated.”
In March, The Wall Street Journal published an article, in which former CIA Director James Woolsey claimed he attended a meeting with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Turkish Foreign Ministers to discuss removing Fehtullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania. Mueller put that meeting under investigation.
So even though Flynn didn’t do anything illegal or wrong with his phone call it’s not out of this realm that someone pressured him to plead guilty in order to release the pressure on his son over that meeting.
Just like everything else lately (like all those stupid memos) this has brought up more questions. Mueller has been investigating supposed collusion between Trump and Russia for a very long time. Did he feel like he had to show something?
This was not done by the Department of Justice. It was done by Mueller. Flynn was a popular target among those who hated Trump and I remember viewing statements by people who seemed like they were salivating at the thought of Flynn going down.DONATE
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