- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 15, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Former Trump National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to providing false information to FBI agent in December and the more we learn about the events leading up to that plea, the more it stinks to high-heaven. 

Byron York’s recent article at the Washington Examiner reveals that then-FBI DIrector James Comey testified that the agents who conducted the interview of Flynn did not think he had lied to them: 

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, Flynn became the highest-profile scalp in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election and accusations of collusion with the Trump campaign. 

York appeared on my radio talk show on WMAL in Washington this week and I explored this issue further with him. What happened between Comey’s testimony in March and the guilty plea in December? 

York: If you remember back in the crazy days of January and February of last year, unlike the crazy days of January and February this year, the talk was all about Michael Flynn and his talk with the Russians and did they talk about sanctions and was that illegal and all this sort of stuff. And basically it results in the FBI coming over to the White House on January 24th, which is the administrations fourth day in office, come over question Michael Flynn and then there’s a media speculation that Michael Flynn has lied to the FBI. So, the lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to know what’s going on. I mean, you have this stuff and then they’ve got the leak of this Flynn conversation with the Russian ambassador, that was a very serious thing. And they bring the FBI director to them and the FBI director tells them that the FBI agents who interviewed Michael Flynn did not think he lied in that January 24th interview. So, then fast forward to December, Michael Flynn pleads guilty to doing exactly that, lying in the interview.

O’Connor: So what happened in the intervening months?

York: I don’t know. Part of the article is to really raise this question. It’s not clear what happened. Obviously we know some things happened, the President fired the FBI director, James Comey and as a result there was an appointment of a Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He hired a team of prosecutors, you know, all sorts of things changed in the case but what resulted in that guilty plea, I don’t know.

Furthermore, what was the underlying crime Flynn was suspected of committing that initiated the original interview with the FBI that resulted in the alleged misleading statements? 

York: Michael Flynn is the incoming National Security Adviser. He’s getting calls from all around the world from representatives of government all around the world…And by the way if Hillary Clinton had been elected her incoming national security adviser would have been getting calls from all around the world and there is nothing wrong with talking to representatives of government surrounds the world and it appears there was actually nothing wrong with Flynn talking to the Russian ambassador even if, as they apparently did, they discussed sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia. So then the question is, what’s this to the FBI? What’s this to the Justice Department? What’s the alleged crime? What we know is that Obama’s Justice Department officials came up with two theories. One theory was that Flynn had violated The Logan Act, which we’ve all heard of, that 200 year old law that’s never ever been successfully prosecuted [cross talk] somehow Flynn would be vulnerable to blackmail and on the basis of those things they send the FBI into the White House to question Flynn.

And who sent the FBI to investigate this dubious charge of Flynn violating the arcane and never-enforced Logan Act? None other than Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Yates famously joined the resistance to President Trump weeks after the inauguration by refusing to enforce the president’s Executive Order on extreme vetting for foreign nationals coming from certain countries known to engage in terror activities. 

Yates was also a participant in a January 5 meeting between President Obama, Vice President Biden, Comey and National Security Adviser Susan Rice that was just revealed in an email Rice sent to herself claiming Obama wanted the ongoing surveillance and investigation into the Trump campaign to be conducted “by the book.”

Meanwhile, former Asst. US Attorney Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review about the curious events surrounding the guilty plea and the possibility that Mueller’s team did not reveal all exculpatory discovery to Flynn when they accepted reached their plea deal: 

Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. We now know that one of Judge Sullivan’s first actions on the case was to file an order directing Mueller to provide Flynn with any evidence in the special counsel’s possession that is favorable to Flynn, whether on the issue of guilt or of sentencing. Significantly, the order stresses that if Mueller has such evidence but believes it is not “material” and therefore that Flynn is not entitled to disclosure of it, Mueller must show the evidence to the court so that Judge Sullivan may decide whether to mandate its disclosure. Could this provide General Flynn with factual grounds of which he was previously unaware to seek to have his plea vacated

Now, it could be that this is just Judge Sullivan’s standard order on exculpatory information, filed in every case over which he presides. But it is noteworthy that Flynn had already pled guilty, and in the course of doing so had agreed to Mueller’s demand that he waive “the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided” — in addition to forfeiting many other trial and appellate rights. (See plea agreement, pages 6–7.) It certainly appears that Sullivan’s order supersedes the plea agreement and imposes on the special counsel the obligation to reveal any and all evidence suggesting that Flynn is innocent of the charge to which he has admitted guilt.

While Sullivan’s order to Mueller is in place, Flynn’s sentencing has been put on hold. Presumably, the delay in sentencing is to accommodate the Mueller team so they can find anything that might meet the exculpatory information order. Or, the sentencing has been delayed because new information has been discovered and Flynn is reconsidering the guilty plea. 

That new information could include the latest revelations regarding the surveillance of Carter Page, use of the Clinton political propaganda known as the “Russian dossier” to justify a FISA warrant. Or, perhaps, the revelation that the FBI agents interviewing Flynn gave him a clean bill of health. 

Did Flynn know at the time of his guilty plea that the agents who interviewed him did not think he had lied to them? Neither Comey nor the agent in charge of the Flynn interview, love-texter Peter Stzok, were with the agency in December when the plea came down. 

McCarthy surmises that Flynn pled guilty for one of three reasons. “perhaps because he was guilty … or perhaps because he lacked the resources to sustain the legal fight … or perhaps because he feared Mueller’s team would otherwise prosecute his son.”

This thing really stinks.  Stinks like, a swamp. 

Listen to my interview with McCarthy here: 

 


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