How fucked is Mike Flynn? He went begging to GOP controlled Committees on Capitol Hill looking for an immunity deal and they turned him down. For some who are too young or have forgotten, it was immunity to testify before Congress that wound up getting Ollie North & John Poindexter off the hook for Iran-Contra during the Reagan administration. Convictions had to be vacated after appeals made the case that convictions were based at least in part on testimony given to Congress under immunity. I believe in legal circles it’s known as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” For a Congress that’s gone out of its way to carry water for the current administration, giving Flynn immunity and letting him testify in the name of “informing the public” would have done irreparable damage to the Russia investigation. He could have revealed some stuff that would sound bad, but give the GOP and the administration a fighting chance to alter the narrative enough that the heat would die down, and maybe even turn public support enough to get away with shutting down Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. For sure, providing an “out” for Flynn (and anyone else) by creating legal grounds to overturn any criminal conviction on appeal would take away a critical tool Mueller and his team no doubt have been using.
But Congressional Committees, led by the freaking GOP told Flynn to stuff it.
Flynn & his lawyers know the Feds have him dead to rights on felonies – felonies that can add up to a lot of years in prison. They’ve been begging for an immunity deal somewhere, anywhere they could get one and we already know Congress has said no way. It’s apparent that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Grand Jury have also said no way. For investigators, when you’ve got someone cold you squeeze them. A very real concern is that a person like Flynn might cop to some things, but be counting on his boss (in this case the President) covering for him down the road. Think of Scooter Libby having his sentence commuted by Bush 43 which anyone with half a brain knew would eventually happen.
Flynn’s problem however is that for this particular President loyalty is a one way street if there is the slightest chance that extending loyalty to a subordinate might have a cost. For this President, the past is a perfect predictor of the future and so we can be sure that if Flynn carried any liability including by association he’d be thrown under the bus. The attempts to shut down the investigation into Flynn weren’t for Flynn’s benefit, but for the flaming gasbag I like to refer to as Pooh-Bah. Perhaps you need to be familiar with Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado to get the reference but that’s not important. What’s important that there came a point when Trump/Pooh-Bah came to the realization that Flynn’s toxicity was hurting HIM. He publicly signaled in an interview that if anyone on his campaign did something not quite proper r.e. contact with Russiait was on them.
And Flynn’s asshole slammed shut tighter than a drum. The failed attempts to secure immunity in exchange for testifying to Congress is a pretty clear indicator that he’s not made of the type of stuff that would make him fall on his sword to protect his former boss.
The Feds were already putting the screws to him by that point, and Congress had already said no dice on immunity. I’ve gotten a kick out of how Rachel Maddow & others have noted how little has been heard about Flynn for so long. There has been the odd bit of reporting about subpoenas and retroactive filing as a foreign agent but reporting (IOW leaks) about Mike Flynn has mostly been a black hole for a while now. His attorneys are surely trying their damndest to get him a good deal. But my guess is that Mueller is in no hurry at all, because he’s going to make sure he’s got maximum leverage to ensure Flynn doesn’t hold back one single thing. I can’t help but wonder how many “proffers” Flynn’s attorneys have submitted and Mueller believing or even knowing that Flynn has been holding back has said “not good enough. Even though Pooh-Bah publicly, if not specifically cut him loose a while back Flynn has probably been hoping that his old pal, who really does owe him so much (Flynn was marvelous riling up the base after all) might still have his back when it came crunch time.
And as of tonight it’s been made clear to Flynn he’s on his own. A remarkable piece of reporting came outearlier from the Wall Street Journal (https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-operative-sought-clinton-emails-from-hackers-implied-a-connection-to-flynn-1498770851?mg=prod/accounts-wsj) that’s being talked about all over Washington tonight. I’m sure if it hasn’t turned up here on Kos someone else is writing about it. Since the link only provides the beginning of the story and one has to have a subscription to read the whole thing, here’s another link that gives you the gist of it: http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-hackers-michael-flynn-hillary-clinton-emails-2017-6
While watching Rachael Maddow who spoke with the author of the WSJ she put up a statement from the White House. I’d include a link but it seems that the White House website hasn’t posted it yet. What it said however is huge because it makes clear the fact they are furiously trying to put as much distance between the administration/campaign and Mike Flynn as they can. Their response to this new WSJ article says as far as the administration is concerned anything Mike Flynn said/did on this he (Flynn) did as an individual private citizen! Now that I think about it,they didn’t just back the bus back over Flynn – they decided to go back & forth multiple times.
If Flynn was still having hopeful dreams before tonight that the President would cover his (Flynn’s) butt he just woke up – to his testicles being squeezed in a vise. And not only is no one coming to help him, those he hoped would rescue him are running away as fast as they can. It doesn’t matter how good his lawyers are, he’s going to prison and not just for a few months. The sentence is going to be measured in years and all he can do to keep THAT number down is to spill his guts on anyone and everyone including the President.
It’s been speculated with some justification that Flynn has already been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. But he IS a dirtbag and as I’ve indicated likely been trying to get by with not telling all he knows. Given the quality of the team Mueller has assembled that’s a dangerous game for Flynn(and his lawyers) to be playing. But prior to tonight he also might have had some justification for hoping that in the end his old boss would give him the Scooter Libby treatment. Being called out by name by the White House in a statement saying more or less “if the guy did this it’s on him – we didn’t know jack and he deserves whatever punishment you dish out” is a neon sign that might as well be saying “We don’t know any Mike Flynn!” It’s the kind of thing some dude named Putin in Russia would say in similar circumstances, echoing the “finest” traditions of the old Soviet Union.
It might not turn out to be the smartest strategy but this President and his attorneys are so far out of their league they are a prosecutor’s wet dream. At this point Flynn himself is so locked down that ANY communication he has with anyone from Pooh-Bah’s team will land him in prison until he’s an old man. And unlike his former boss he’s got good attorneys with lucrative careers who aren’t about to risk all THEY have to provide an illicit channel of communication if somewhere down the road the “crack” White House gang realizes how they’ve screwed the pooch on this & that they’d better promise Flynn a commuted sentence to keep him quiet.
Mike Flynn is well and truly fucked. And if he or his lawyers had the slightest doubt of that before, as of tonight they know it too.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.