Gen. Michael Flynn pleads guilty to making false statements [video]

Gen. Michael Flynn pleads guilty to making false statements [video]

Gen. Michael Flynn pleads guilty to making false statements [video]

Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to the Trump administration, pled guilty yesterday to making a false statement. If you got your news from CNN, you would think the Russian collusion dam was about to break:

Michael Flynn’s downfall Friday exacerbated grave legal and political risks that represent the most serious threat to any administration for at least 40 years, and could eventually imperil the Trump presidency itself.

The NY Times is pretty excited too:

Mr. Flynn’s cooperation portends extreme peril for a variety of people in the president’s orbit.

More:

The charge Mr. Flynn is pleading guilty to is a stunning one.

He is admitting that last December, before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, he asked the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey Kislyak, to refrain from reacting aggressively to sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russia. Russia reportedly agreed and Mr. Kislyak told Mr. Flynn later that it had chosen to moderate its response to the sanctions to make nice with the Trump team.

The Times goes on to say that this negotiation—asking the Russians to cool off—is detrimental to foreign policy. That seems the opposite of stunning, and instead quite prudent.

Michael Flynn, arriving at the federal courthouse in D.C., Dec. 1, 2017.

On the other hand, if you listen to Andrew McCarthy at National Review, former US Attorney, you would think, “What a nothing-burger:”

[Flynn] is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime. A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime — he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

Flynn lied about four occasions when he spoke to the Russian ambassador, during the transition period between when Trump won the election but before he took office. Making contacts with foreign leaders during this time is expected. There should be no issue with this, so why did Mike Flynn lie about it? Did he think he was doing something wrong, but was mistaken? Was he really using it as a subterfuge for paying back the Russians for turning the election to Trump, as the Democrats want us to believe? Is he a serial liar and couldn’t help himself?

Aside from being completely baffling as to why this formerly well-respected, high-ranking military officer would lie about something so useless, this plea deal really is weak. It is a process crime, and everybody knows when they can’t get you for anything else, they will get you on a technicality. Of course lying is completely unacceptable, but as a show of concrete progress in the investigation seeking high and low for Russian collusion, this is snoozeville.

We need to know why Flynn lied. Will he be exchanging that information in return for this really minimal violation? If so, no one has leaked whatever that juicy gossip might be, so perhaps that means there is not very much behind this plea in the first place. As alluded to in other reports, Flynn may be under pressure to make this deal due to his other dealings, like lobbying for Turkey. We need to know these things and even more interesting, how and why was Flynn caught up in this surveillance in the first place? Obama fired him as Defense Intelligence Agency director, so did Obama seek to find any pretense to keep tabs on him, through a FISA warrant perhaps? There is a lot more to know here.

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