NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Mueller Friday: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about Russia contacts

Lock him up!

For­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Michael Fly­nn plead­ed guilty Fri­day to lying to the FBI about his con­tacts with Russ­ian Ambas­sador Sergey Kislyak, and court records and peo­ple famil­iar with the con­tacts indi­cat­ed he was act­ing in con­sul­ta­tion with senior Trump tran­si­tion offi­cials, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kush­n­er, in his deal­ings with the diplomat.

Flynn’s admis­sion to the charge Fri­day in fed­er­al dis­trict court in the Dis­trict could be an omi­nous sign for the White House, as Fly­nn is coop­er­at­ing in the ongo­ing probe of pos­si­ble coor­di­na­tion between the Trump cam­paign and the Krem­lin to influ­ence the 2016 election.

His plea revealed that he was in touch with senior Trump tran­si­tion offi­cials before and after his com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Kislyak — rebut­ting the idea that he was a rogue operator.

This is a huge devel­op­ment in Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert S. Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­si­a’s inter­fer­ence in the 2016 Unit­ed States pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the fall­out from that inter­fer­ence. In Octo­ber, Mueller brought charges against Trump’s for­mer cam­paign man­ag­er Paul Man­afort, his deputy Rick Gates, and cam­paign advis­er George Papadopou­los. Court doc­u­ments filed then showed Papadopou­los had agreed to coop­er­ate with the inves­ti­ga­tion in exchange for leniency.

Fly­nn has now agreed to coop­er­ate as well, to spare him­self from an even longer list of charges. In a state­ment regard­ing his plea, Fly­nn said:

It has been extra­or­di­nar­i­ly painful to endure these many months of false accu­sa­tions of ‘trea­son’ and oth­er out­ra­geous acts. Such false accu­sa­tions are con­trary to every­thing I have ever done and stood for. But I rec­og­nize that the actions I acknowl­edged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am work­ing to set things right.

My guilty plea and agree­ment to coop­er­ate with the Spe­cial Counsel’s Office reflect a deci­sion I made in the best inter­ests of my fam­i­ly and of our coun­try. I accept full respon­si­bil­i­ty for my actions.

Read the charge against Fly­nn here, signed by Mueller.

Fly­nn was fin­ger­print­ed and pho­tographed at an FBI field office pri­or to appear­ing in U.S. Dis­trict Court with his attor­ney. Asked by Judge Rudolph Con­tr­eras if he was plead­ing guilty, Fly­nn replied, “Yes, Your Honor.”

Sen­tenc­ing has been put off for the time being. Fly­nn won’t be jailed for now either, but he will be required to check in with the FBI on a week­ly basis.

“This is not a meet-in-the-mid­dle deal. Both sides did not assess their risks and decide to hedge them with a com­pro­mise,” writes Har­ry Lit­man.

“Rather, as we’ve known for weeks, the spe­cial coun­sel, Robert Mueller, believed he had suf­fi­cient evi­dence to indict Mr. Fly­nn on a long list of crim­i­nal charges, includ­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing, tax offense and false state­ments. Mr. Mueller’s team, as is stan­dard pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al prac­tice, pre­sent­ed Mr. Fly­nn with that list and helped him under­stand that his life as he knew it had ended.”

Lest we for­get: at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion last year, Fly­nn accused Hillary Clin­ton of putting Amer­i­ca’s secu­ri­ty at extreme risk and then led fren­zied Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee del­e­gates in chants of “Lock her up”:

Turns out it was Michael Fly­nn who put Amer­i­ca’s secu­ri­ty at risk.

Fly­nn deserves to spend some time behind bars for his crime, even if he pro­vides evi­dence that helps Spe­cial Coun­sel Mueller hold account­able oth­er mem­bers of Trump’s regime who may also have bro­ken the law.

The charge of lying to the FBI could earn him up to five years in prison, although he may receive a lighter sen­tence if his coop­er­a­tion allows Mueller to land big­ger fish.

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