Former US Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s first National Security Advisor, is the individual who suffered the most from the false allegations of the Russia-Trump collusion hoax.
Flynn, once a most respected military intelligence expert, is now a broken man. His reputation has been dragged through the media mud through illegal high-level leaks of classified information. His prestigious senior Trump White House position is lost. His private means of earning livelihood as a world-class intelligence consultant is destroyed. His finances have been bankrupted by the fees of his defense lawyers.
Flynn has been awaiting sentencing in federal court since December 2018, after accepting a plea deal forced upon him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors. On December 1, 2017, Flynn to plead guilty in federal court to a crime he did not commit: “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to two FBI investigators. But during the year and a half since Flynn pled guilty, newly revealed evidence has made it increasingly clear that Flynn was the victim of a runaway investigation directed by top FBI officials and ruthless federal prosecutors to discredit him and further damage the credibility of President Trump and his administration.
The latest batch of previously withheld evidence proving Flynn’s innocence was revealed last week thanks to a review ordered by Attorney General Bill Barr. It provides the facts behind an ambush interview held at Flynn’s White House office on January 24, 2017, in which FBI investigators asked Flynn about a December 29 phone call he had with the Russian ambassador to the US which had been wiretapped. Caught by surprise in a classic perjury trap, Flynn couldn’t recall some of the details that were in the transcript of the wiretapped conversation, leaving him open to criminal charges of lying to federal investigators.
Base on his responses during that interview, Mueller’s prosecutors gave Flynn an ultimatum. They promised that if he cooperated in their effort to dig up more evidence against Donald Trump, he would be sentenced to little or no jail time, but if he didn’t cooperate, they would recommend a lengthy jail term and prosecute his adult son on bogus criminal charges related to their intelligence consulting business.
FLYNN WAS THE VICTIM OF A TRAP
Flynn had no choice but to agree. However, the plea deal fell apart after Flynn’s attorneys suggested that the heads of the FBI had deliberately misled their client and plotted to ensnare him in a perjury trap.
That charge is now well proven. There is video of former FBI Director Jim Comey boasting to a book tour audience that he decided he could “get away” with sending “a couple guys over” to the White House to set up Flynn to incriminate himself without having giving the White House counsel the usual advance notice. As his audience laughed, Comey admitted that it was, “something we, I probably wouldn’t have done or gotten away with in a more organized investigation—a more organized administration.”
In light of the allegations of prosecutorial abuses, the presiding federal judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, postponed handing down Flynn’s sentence. Since then, more evidence has surfaced confirming that Comey and other senior FBI officials deliberately violated normal procedures and defendant safeguards in their investigation of Flynn, in order to keep the bogus Russian collusion investigation and the broader effort to discredit President Trump alive.
We have also since learned that the initial impression of the two veteran FBI investigators who conducted the ambush interview of Flynn was that he didn’t seem to be intentionally lying to them. But since that was not the kind of report their FBI superiors were looking for, it had been withheld from Flynn’s defense attorneys before he was forced to submit his guilty plea in court.
PIECES OF THE PUZZLE COMING TOGETHER
New information on how senior FBI officials and Mueller’s prosecutors broke their own rules in going after Flynn has continued to come out in drips and drabs. Like the missing pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle, some of the new evidence has helped illuminate previously hidden sections of the big picture, while others have filled-in the already visible outlines of the plot.
Judge Sullivan has seen this kind of prosecutorial abuse before. As he wrote in a 2017 Wall Street Journal op-ed, his “wake-up call” on this subject came in 2008 when he presided over the corruption trial of former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. Six months after Stevens was found guilty, “it was revealed that federal prosecutors had concealed numerous pieces of evidence that very likely could have resulted in Stevens’s acquittal,” Judge Sullivan wrote. Ever since, Sullivan has always begun each trial with a warning to prosecutors that they are required by a 1963 Supreme Court ruling in Brady vs. Maryland to turn over all potentially exonerating evidence to defense attorneys.
Flynn’s guilty plea from December 2018 remains on the record. Last June, Flynn fired his defense team and hired a new lawyer, Sidney Powell. Powell then filed a motion with Judge Sullivan to throw out Flynn’s guilty plea based on the new evidence showing that Flynn was framed, and to have Flynn’s original indictment dismissed due to FBI and prosecutorial misconduct.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Bill Barr, who insists he is determined to get to the bottom of the Russian collusion hoax, appointed the US Attorney in St. Louis, Jeffrey Jensen, to review the Flynn case to see if the proper procedures were followed. He found that they weren’t, and ordered the FBI to turn over the documents that were released to defense attorneys for the first time last week. These include a variety of contemporaneous notes, emails and other exculpatory evidence that had been withheld from Flynn and his lawyers for the past three years.
FLYNN’S INVESTIGATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLOSED
The documents show how senior FBI officials conspired against Flynn, proving that he did not receive fair and equal justice. One of them reveals that the FBI was ready to close its investigation of Flynn on January 4, 2017, for lack of evidence. The FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team investigating the original allegations that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election had done an exhaustive check of its “databases” for “derogatory” information on Flynn. They ran down every accusation that he had illegal ties to Russians, but could find nothing to support the charges. The team then circulated a closing document admitting that Flynn “was no longer a viable candidate” for investigation.
But that same day, January 4, FBI investigator Peter Strzok (yes, the same senior agent who was later removed from Mueller’s team for his anti-Trump bias) sent a text message to his colleagues saying: “Hey, if you haven’t closed Crossfire Razor [the FBI code name for the Flynn case], don’t do so yet.” Strzok added the cryptic explanation that the “seventh floor [is] involved.” That was a thinly veiled reference to the executive suite at FBI headquarters containing the offices of FBI Director Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe. They and Strzok hoped to build a bogus case against Flynn as part of a larger, deliberate attempt to delegitimize president-elect Trump even before he entered the White House.
What had changed? A week earlier, on December 29, Flynn had spoken on an open phone line to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak shortly after President Obama announced he was imposing sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Federal law gives investigators the authority to wiretap the phone conversations of foreigners in this country, but it also requires strict privacy protections for US citizens with whom the foreigners may be speaking.
But senior Obama administration ignored those protections and “unmasked” Flynn in the days following his wiretapped conversation with Kislyak. Obama administration officials told the FBI and the Justice Department all about Flynn’s wiretapped call with the Russian ambassador, and then leaked that classified information to Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, whose January story about it embarrassed the Trump transition team and cast suspicion on Flynn’s loyalty.
But nothing that Flynn told the Russian ambassador was unlawful or even suspicious. He merely noted that a new president was about to take power and urged the ambassador to tell his bosses in Moscow to wait and see what Trump would do. No improper promises were made or even hinted at. In fact, many would argue that Flynn was just doing his job as the incoming national security advisor.
CURIOUS TIMING FOR SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
According to a conservative conspiracy theory promoted by former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, the Obama administration deliberately timed its order expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian-owned compounds in the US “in retaliation for Russian efforts to interfere with the US presidential election” to coincide with Flynn’s scheduled vacation in the Dominican Republic.
The timing of the announcement was always curious. The Obama administration was aware of Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election as early as September, yet it did not move to punish them for it until December 29, six weeks after Trump’s upset election victory.
Bongino argues that Obama’s team had expected the expulsion order to prompt Ambassador Kislyak to call Flynn to find out whether the incoming Trump administration intended to keep the new sanctions in place. Obama officials also knew that while on vacation in the Dominican Republic, Flynn would have to use an open phone line which could be easily wiretapped, and that he would not be equipped to make a record of the conversation to which he could refer later.
“[The Obama officials] needed a transcript of a recorded conversation of Mike Flynn discussing something, anything of diplomatic relevance with the Russian ambassador. . . knowing that Flynn wasn’t going to remember every detail,” Bongino said. Their plan was to interview Flynn, and compare his answers to the transcript of the recorded conversation in an effort to catch him “in the smallest of lies and charge him with false statements [in order] to shut him down.”
Bongino’s theory is based on the belief that the outgoing Obama administration’s grudge against Flynn was so great that it was willing to go to extreme lengths to catch him in a lie and discredit him. Yet his theory is not much more fantastic than the perjury trap that we now know the leaders of the FBI did spring on Flynn less than a month later.
After she learned from US intelligence officials about the conversation between Flynn and Kislyak, Sally Yates, an Obama holdover as the acting attorney general of the Justice Department and top FBI officials, tried to use the call to justify continuing the investigation into Flynn, which was about to be closed down for lack of evidence.
They reached all the way back to the Logan Act of 1799, which forbids private citizens from engaging in unauthorized diplomatic negotiations between the US and foreign governments. No one has ever been convicted of violating the Logan Act and, of course, as Trump’s designated national security advisor, Flynn was clearly authorized to speak to the Russian ambassador. The fact that senior Justice Department and FBI officials seriously contemplated something as legally absurd as trying to “get Flynn to admit to breaking the Logan Act” indicated just how desperate they were to keep the investigation against Flynn going.
Senior FBI officials then came up with another legal tactic they could use to try to incriminate Flynn. Since they had a transcript of Flynn’s phone conversation with Kislyak, they might be able to trick him into lying about it while being questioned by investigators, which is a crime in itself.
STRZOK, PAGE, COMEY AND MCCABE
Which two FBI men did Comey and McCabe send to the White House to trick Flynn into incriminating himself? Senior agent Joe Pientka and (surprise!) Peter Strzok, then deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. Yes, the same Peter Strzok who just three weeks earlier personally intervened to keep the case against Flynn open.
To succeed, the agents would need to keep Flynn off-guard and not consciously aware that he could be criminally prosecuted if there was any discrepancy between what he told the investigators and the transcript of the wiretapped phone conversation.
This explains the importance of another document that was turned over to Flynn’s lawyers last week. It was an email from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page (Peter Strzok’s notorious associate), suggesting ways the FBI could get around its standard procedure of formally admonishing anybody being interrogated about the criminal penalties for lying. She suggested that the two agents conducting the interview could just “casually slip that [fact] in” hoping that Flynn wouldn’t notice it.
Another newly released document originated by former Deputy FBI Director McCabe says that he had personally urged Flynn to talk to the FBI agents informally, without a lawyer present. When Flynn naively agreed to McCabe’s request, the two FBI agents dispensed altogether with the traditional warning about the criminal penalties for lying to them.
“WHAT IS OUR GOAL?”
Their intent was revealed in another new piece of evidence released last week, a handwritten note about the planned ambush interview by former FBI counterintelligence head Bill Priestap after he met with Comey and McCabe. In the note, Priestap asks, “What is our goal? Truth/Admission, or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” The answer to that question is now clear.
George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, who testified as an expert witness during the Senate’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump, called the legal and ethical implications of Priestap’s note “chilling,” especially given that the Logan Act has never been enforced and seemingly has little modern-day relevance even in the abstract.
“I have been a criminal defense attorney for decades,” Turley wrote. “I have seen abusive tactics. However this is one of the most thuggish records I have seen. Most concerning is that they were trying to create a crime, not investigating a crime. The use of Logan only highlights that bias.”
On Monday, Republican Congressmen Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Johnson of Louisiana wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding the opportunity to question FBI agent Joe Pientka, who participated in the January 2017 ambush interview of Flynn, and former assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap, who planned the ambush interview with Comey and McCabe. Both are no longer employed by the bureau.
Since 2018, the FBI has consistently refused to answer Republican requests for access to Pientka, claiming that providing such access would potentially endanger his life and would serve no legitimate journalistic purpose.
Johnson is the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Jordan heads up the House Oversight Committee. In their letter, they demanded the FBI “produce all documents and communications referring or relating to Crossfire Razor, the FBI code name for its investigation into Flynn.”
Johnson and Jordan also said the FBI needed to “explain why the Committee and the American public are learning of the FBI’s misconduct with respect to Flynn from court filings rather than from you … [and] explain whether you or any other member of the FBI’s senior leadership prevented or delayed the disclosure of additional exculpatory information to Flynn and his legal team.”
FLYNN COMMITTED NO CRIME
Two days after the January 24 ambush interview, Yates asked for an interview with Trump’s White House Counsel, Don McGahn, and told him that Flynn had “compromised” himself by not being fully truthful about the content of his conversation with the Russian ambassador in discussing it with Vice President Mike Pence. She also warned McGahn that Flynn was a security risk because he was subject to Russian blackmail over the true content of his phone conversation with Ambassador Kislyak.
Yates would not last long as acting attorney general. Trump fired her on January 30 when she refused to order Justice Department lawyers to defend Trump’s executive order which temporarily banned the admission of refugees and travelers arriving at US ports of entry from certain terrorist-infested countries.
Professor Turley notes that Flynn was never charged with treason or with being a foreign agent, even though those were the clear implications of the leak-driven media campaign which Trump’s enemies had launched against him. Nevertheless, Flynn wouldn’t last long in his new job either. Pence was publicly embarrassed when he repeated in a television interview the inaccurate description of the phone call with Kislyak that Flynn had given him. Flynn’s credibility in the White House was fatally undermined, which led to his forced resignation as Trump’s National Security Advisor on February 13, 2017, after just three weeks on the job.
Former federal prosecutor and conservative columnist Andrew McCarthy questions whether Flynn could have been successfully tried for lying to the FBI investigators in the ambush interview even if he had admitted to doing so deliberately, because there was no other real crime involved. McCarthy writes in The Hill, “Under federal law, a false statement made to investigators is actionable only if it is material to the matter under investigation. If there was no basis to believe Flynn had committed a crime, his counsel could have argued that any false statements allegedly made by Flynn when he was questioned in January 2017 were immaterial.”
“THE FBI EXISTS TO INVESTIGATE CRIMES, NOT TO CREATE THEM”
In an interview with Fox News, McCarthy argued that what the new documents reveal about how the FBI tried to incriminate Flynn was far more immoral than his misremembering what he said in a phone call to the Russian ambassador a month earlier. “What we are seeing is a meticulously planned-out scheme to try to get a 33-year combat veteran of the United States to say something that was inaccurate so that they would have a basis to try to charge him with false statements or otherwise get him fired.”
More bluntly, Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel wrote, “the FBI exists to investigate crimes, not to create them.” She believes that what the FBI did to Michael Flynn was far more serious than lying to the FISA court about the credibility of the Christopher Steele dossier. It is an example of “law enforcement abusing its most tyrannical power—to strip citizens of their reputations, their livelihoods and their liberty. . . Now someone must be held to account.”
Former FBI special agent Thomas Baker, writing in the WSJ, notes that at least one other basic FBI law enforcement procedure was also discarded in the Flynn case. “For more than half a century, FBI agents conducting interviews have been required to memorialize any information that might become testimony, on a form called the FD-302. It was always considered the interviewing agent’s FD-302. Supervisors never modified it; its purpose was to reflect what the agent observed and heard from the witness or suspect. . .”
But that was not the procedure followed after Flynn’s interview. Strzok, in an email to Page, admits that he heavily edited Pientka’s FD-302 form, almost to the point of a “complete re-write” and also invited Page to contribute her own edits, even though she was not present for the interview.
Baker wrote that he was also shocked to learn that the FD-302 form submitted by Strzok to the court trying Flynn’s case was not the one he wrote on the day of his ambush interview, but rather the “FD-302 of an interview of Strzok, conducted months later, based upon his recollections of the original interview” with Flynn, a procedure which Baker calls “truly bizarre.”
Baker enhances the point that Andrew McCarthy makes about Title 18, Section 1001 of the federal code that makes it a crime to lie to a federal agent. He said that during his FBI career, “lying was seldom prosecuted as a stand-alone crime,” because the general assumption was that “everyone lies” at some point.
In the Flynn case, Baker notes, the FBI reversed the basic purpose of the statute. “Rather than using the 1001 warning to get to the truth, agents set a trap for a lie to manufacture a violation.”
CAN THE FBI BE RESTORED?
Baker writes that the prosecution of those FBI officials who mistreated Flynn may “be warranted,” but would not be sufficient to satisfy him. “More fundamental is the need for cultural reform in the FBI. The guardrails that were respected in the past—including the integrity of an agent’s FD-302 and the appropriate use of 1001—need to be restored. . . Mr. Barr, who served as attorney general in the early 1990s, knows what the FBI had been and can be again.”
As part of his efforts to restore the FBI’s integrity, Fox News reports that Barr and US Attorney for Connecticut John Durham are “building a very serious case” against FBI agents and other government officials who abused the authority of their office to incriminate Flynn and others in the Trump camp, and who are now presenting “false or misleading information” in an attempt to obstruct Durham’s investigation.
A source told Fox News that “Barr talks to Durham every day. The president has been briefed that the case is being pursued, and it’s serious. They’ve asked the president to say nothing about it and not screw it up. He is laying back for a change.”
Barr appointed Durham last year to look into the basis for the FBI’s Russian collusion investigation during the 2016 election and the post-election transition period. More recently, Barr expanded Durham’s mandate to include the events leading up to the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel in May 2017. Reportedly, Durham has recently won the cooperation of James Baker, who served as general counsel to the FBI at the time it obtained surveillance warrants to spy on the Trump campaign from the FISA court, based largely upon the unverified Russian-sourced allegations from the Steele dossier.
DURHAM INDICTMENTS EXPECTED BY THE END OF THE SUMMER
Barr also gave Durham the authority to empower a grand jury and issue criminal indictments. Fox News reported that Durham is confident he has solid evidence of wrongdoing and expects to announce the results of his investigation by the end of the summer.
Former US attorney and pro-Trump activist Joseph DiGenova has told conservative radio host Howie Carr that Durham is developing a complex case in which “not every one of these acts is going to be a specific separate crime, but they are going to be, what’s called overt acts in a conspiracy. One to defraud the United States government. One to deny the civil rights of Trump and Flynn and [Carter] Page and a bunch of other people.”
In a previous interview, DiGenova told Carr that former CIA Director John Brennan is one of Durham’s main targets. He added that Durham has taken testimony from several former intelligence officers about how Brennan guided “the production of the January 2017 [Obama administration] intelligence assessment on Russian intervention in the 2016 election,” which DiGenova described as “phony.”
Trump is also anxious to see his friend Michael Flynn “exonerated” by the justice system, rather than by a presidential pardon, which would imply that Flynn had done something wrong.
The day after the withheld notes from the Flynn case were released, Trump said of his former national security advisor, “He’s in the process of being exonerated. If you look at those notes from yesterday, that was total exoneration. These were dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI.” Trump also refused to rule out the possibility that if Flynn is exonerated, he might be offered another post in his administration.
FLYNN DESERVES JUSTICE
Flynn’s new lawyers should have an easy time proving that his case should be thrown out of court. It should be a no-brainer for anybody in law enforcement. Ever since the US Supreme Court’s 1966 Miranda vs. Arizona ruling, even if cops catch a criminal red-handed and interrogate him, they have no case unless they read him his Miranda rights. Otherwise, they have violated the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. There are basic principles at stake here. If the FBI is allowed to deny them to Michael Flynn, then all of our liberties are threatened.
Given the facts laid out in the documents given to Flynn’s lawyers last week, Judge Sullivan needs to decide a more fundamental question—whether the withholding of evidence from Flynn and his lawyers and their sneaky efforts to entrap him justify enabling Flynn to withdraw his original guilty plea, or even throwing out the entire criminal case against him.
Professor Turley notes that “it is still possible for the district court to right this wrong since Flynn has not been sentenced. . . It is the duty of the court to stop the prosecution in the interest of the government itself to protect it from the illegal conduct of its officers and to preserve the purity of its courts.
“Flynn was a useful tool for everyone and everything but justice. Mueller had ignored the view of the investigators and coerced Flynn to plead to a crime he did not commit to gain damaging testimony against Trump and his associates that Flynn did not have. The media covered Flynn to report the flawed theory of Russia collusion and to foster the view that some sort of criminal conspiracy was being uncovered by Mueller. Even the federal judge used Flynn to rail against what he saw as a treasonous plot. What is left in the wake of the prosecution is an utter travesty of justice.”
Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz argues that “more is at stake than [Flynn’s] personal future, although that is important. The integrity of the FBI is also on the line.”
As a Wall Street Journal editorial points out, “Prosecutors wield extraordinary power, and Brady [withholding exculpatory evidence] abuses are all too common. If judges aren’t willing to police misbehavior, Americans can have no faith in our system of justice.”
Flynn had been the Pentagon’s senior counter-terrorism intelligence expert. He was in charge of developing the US counterterrorism strategy for dismantling the terrorist networks in Afghanistan and Iraq, but his distinguished 33-year military career was cut short in 2014 when he was forced to resign after two years as Director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) over his criticism of Obama’s weak response to the growing terrorist and Iranian threats in the Middle East.
FLYNN CLASHED WITH OBAMA OVER TERRORISM
Flynn disagreed with Obama’s tolerance for the Islamic terrorist groups which took over the armed opposition to Syria’s Assad regime after the US failed to provide any initial support for the pro-Western pro-democracy opposition groups who started the Syrian civil war. He was also critical of Obama’s desire to finalize a nuclear deal with Iran at almost any price, and Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign boast that after it had assassinated Osama bin Laden, his administration had al Qaeda “on the run.”
The globalist policy-makers in the Obama White House saw Flynn’s criticisms as a threat to Obama’s foreign policy legacy. They circulated stories to the media claiming that he was fired as head of the DIA because he was “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, had bad management policies,” and told the New York Times that Flynn had a loose relationship with the truth.
Flynn refused to leave quietly. In his final media interview as DIA director, he said that was the only person in the Obama administration who understood that the United States was less safe from the threat of Islamic terrorism in 2014 than it was just prior to the 9/11 attacks, and that the leaders of the Obama administration “did not want to hear the truth” about the terrorist threat.
Flynn told investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that his agency had issued “a constant stream of classified warnings … about the dire consequences of toppling Assad.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Flynn said the initial refusal of the Obama administration to provide military support for the pro-democracy Syrian moderates who started the civil war against the Assad regime enabled terrorist groups such as al-Nusra to gain control of the opposition forces, and created the conditions which enabled ISIS to develop into a new menace to the entire region.
FLYNN WAS ONE OF TRUMP’S BEST CAMPAIGN SURROGATES
When the 2016 GOP presidential primary cycle began, Flynn served as a freelance national security consultant to several of the candidates. In a November 2015 appearance on Fox News, Flynn called for an investigation into allegations that the US intelligence community had been pressured to downgrade the threat posed by ISIS, and recommended that it “start right at the top” of the Obama administration. Soon after formally joining the Trump campaign in February 2016, Flynn became one of its most effective surrogates. He became known for his blistering attacks during Trump rallies on Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, leading the crowd in its chants of “Lock her up.”
Flynn gained national attention when he delivered a fiery keynote speech on the first night of the 2016 GOP national convention. “We are tired of Obama’s empty speeches and his misguided rhetoric. This has caused the world to have no respect for America’s word, nor does it fear our might,” Flynn declared.
Meanwhile, Flynn’s enemies in the Obama administration were raising questions about the propriety of Flynn’s close ties to various Russian government-controlled entities. Several Russian-connected companies were clients of Flynn’s consulting company. Flynn could also be accused of exercising bad judgement for agreeing to sit next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gala dinner in Moscow on December 10, 2015, in honor of the RT Russian-government-owned English-language television network, and for having payments for having served as one of the RT channel’s expert news commentators so soon after he retired from the US military.
Flynn also made a mistake by agreeing to work as a paid agent of the Turkish government without filing the necessary paperwork with the federal government, which Mueller and his prosecutors would also later use as legal leverage to force him to cooperate in their investigation of President Trump.
OBAMA TRIED TO DISCREDIT FLYNN
The Obama camp deeply resented Flynn because he was Trump’s most credible national security advisor and because of his outspoken criticism of Mrs. Clinton and Obama’s policies. Flynn became a target of opportunity for disgruntled Obama and Clinton supporters within the FBI and the Justice Department, who were furious that their plot to discredit Trump’s candidacy and assure Clinton’s electoral victory had failed, and who believed that undermining Flynn’s reputation would help them to discredit the president-elect.
Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway said in a Fox News interview last week, “I will remind everybody that President Obama told president-elect Donald Trump he had two things to worry about, North Korea and Michael Flynn! Folks, that’s just weird on its face!” Conway said in an interview with the Fox News Channel.
“You gotta worry about a nuclear capable dictator in North Korea and you gotta worry about a general of 37 years who served in the Obama administration. People should look at this for what it is,” Conway said.
Conway also said that “the fix was in” against Flynn, with Stzrok and others “at the upper echelon” of the FBI going after Flynn. She also noted that Strzok “continued doing that bidding after President Trump was elected and into our first days here at the White House.”
FLYNN’S LONG ORDEAL
Flynn’s ordeal began shortly after Trump designated Flynn as the new White House National Security Advisor, despite Obama’s warning. His reputation was first dragged through the mud by leaks to the media of the phone call with the Russian ambassador, raising questions about his honesty and loyalty to his country. Trump’s political enemies quickly jumped on the opportunity to portray Flynn as a stooge for Russia and thus unsuitable to serve as Trump’s national security advisor.
Flynn’s faulty recall of the phone call with the Russian ambassador in reporting that conversation to Mike Pence resulted in the newly elected vice president being embarrassed when he repeated it in an interview. That undermined Flynn’s credibility and led to Flynn’s firing as National Security Advisor after just three weeks on the job.
Flynn’s friendship with President Trump continued, but that soon turned into a liability. When Trump fired Comey as FBI director two months later, Comey leaked a memo recording a private conversation he had with Trump on the same day he fired Flynn. Comey claimed the president asked him for leniency on Flynn’s behalf, saying, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” adding “he’s a good guy.”
The controversy created by the New York Times report based on Comey’s leaked memo led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump on allegations of collusion with Russia, as well as obstruction of justice for trying to interfere with the FBI’s investigation of Flynn.
The claim that Trump’s one-time request for leniency for Flynn amounted to obstruction of justice is very weak, simply because, as president, Trump had the authority to simply order Comey to end the investigation, but he did not. While Trump has continued to speak fondly about Flynn, he has done nothing further to interfere with the progress of the case against him.
Even though the FBI’s evidence against Flynn from the ambush interview was badly tainted, Special Counsel Robert Mueller continued to pursue the case, and threatened Flynn with criminal prosecution for lying to investigators unless he agreed to help Mueller develop new evidence against Trump on the Russian collusion charge. Mueller’s prosecutors warned Flynn that if he did not accept the plea deal they were offering him, they would file criminal charges against his adult son, Michael G. Flynn, who was his partner in an international consulting business.
Broke, discredited and desperate to protect his son, Flynn pled guilty in federal court to one count of lying to investigators in return for a reduced sentence. But even though he did give Mueller’s team inside information about the activities of the Trump campaign, Flynn never offered any incriminating evidence suggesting that Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians.
EXONERATION COMING TOO LATE
Flynn’s exoneration after more than three years of legal persecution is coming far too late. His old enemies in the Obama and Clinton camps have already gotten their revenge. Flynn will never recover the fine military reputation he built over more than 30 years, or his lost hopes to guide the future national security policies of the Trump administration.
Of all the victims of the fake Russian collusion conspiracy theory, Michael Flynn is the one who has been punished most cruelly for “crimes” he never committed. Let us hope that his tormenters who corrupted the institutions of the American criminal justice system to unfairly persecute him will ultimately be held accountable.