Before confessing to a fib to the FBI, General Michael Flynn had a life-long record as a great American patriot. A man who gave high service to his nation in the military and in public life. He is the sort of guy they make statues of – or name schools after.
His fall from grace … or more exactly, his character assassination, was due to two irrefutable facts. He took a job as incoming President Trump’s National Security Advisor and he dubiously confessed to lying to the FBI. The slander was based on conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in preparation for his job.
That is where malicious spin took over. His conversations were characterized as being inappropriate – and even treasonous – by the budding #Never Trump Resistance Movement. They said he violated the never-before-used Logan Act –although he was never charged with violating the Act. It is equally arguable that his necessarily secret conversations with Kislyak were exactly what an incoming National Security Advisor should be doing during the transition period.
It would appear that Flynn was not forthcoming when he described the subjects covered in those conversations – especially with regard to the POSSIBLE relief from sanctions that President Obama belatedly put on Russia on the eve of his departure from the Oval Office – but Flynn did not necessarily lie about them, either.
Under severe pressure from the federal prosecutors, Flynn reluctantly confessed to lying to investigators. He has since been awaiting sentencing. That, however, has been delayed by Flynn’s belief that he had been railroaded into the confession – and that he did not lie to FBI agents. It was all a matter of interpretation – if even that.
It now appears that Flynn will recant his confession and seek to have the charges dropped. Unfortunately, he may not be able to get relief for the more than $6 million in legal fees. Even if he wins his argument, he will have been financially destroyed.
The power to intimidate
Essential to understanding the Flynn case is to appreciate the awesome power prosecutors have if they are out to get you. Prosecutorial abuse is not just a problem for the rich and famous. In fact, it is quite common among the least advantaged – albeit not sufficiently recognized or corrected.
I personally have an Asian friend who confessed to a drug crime he did not commit – and was proven to have not committed – when he was 17 years old. He confessed because even his court appointed attorney said he would be convicted. The choice was confessing to the lessor crime and get six months of soft-time at a supervised prison camp or be convicted and serve up to 17 years of hard time in a state prison. He felt he had no choice. That happens far too often – especially to minority kids.
Flynn was facing a similar choice. In addition to his innocence, he realized that fighting would take up all his financial resources and leave his family nothing. Even worse, federal prosecutors threatened to go after Flynn’s son if the General did not confess. It has been clear from the start that Flynn never confessed because he believed he lied to the FBI agents, but only because he felt intimidated.
Was Flynn set up?
The troublesome question is, why was Flynn set up by the FBI? And the evolution of evidence and documents suggest that he was used as a means to get at Trump. The top level of the FBI was clearly maneuvering for a Trump impeachment from day one.
According to an article by Gregg Jarrett of FOX News, “Michael Flynn is the victim of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in modern times — an innocent man who was unfairly targeted by the FBI, wrongfully prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller, and coerced into a guilty plea under threat.”
At the time, high-level FBI officials were already determined to prove a hoped-for criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives under the supervision of President Vladimir Putin. They already had the crime in mind but needed to find the evidence somewhere … somehow. In fact, they spent more than two years trying to prove that case through the admittedly orchestrated appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Federal prosecutors then pursued Flynn as a key element in their concocted case. As we all know, even Mueller ultimately had to admit that no such conspiracy ever took place.
Evidence illegally withheld
Key to Flynn’s case to have his guilty plea set aside is a volume of documents that are said to show the extent of the FBI misconduct in going after Flynn. The documents have not been released to the public yet, but the new filings by Flynn’s attorney argue that they claim exculpatory information that was illegally withheld by the prosecutors.
At one time, the prosecutors claim that the requested document had “gone missing.” However, Attorney General William Barr ordered an investigation – and the documents were suddenly no longer missing.
Furthermore, the initial reports by the agents who allegedly heard Flynn’s lie – including the discredited Peter Strzok – stated that they believed Flynn was truthful in all his answers – even if mistaken in some details. In other words, the only witnesses to the lie initially said it did not happen.
More to come
This situation is still evolving, but what is becoming increasingly clear is that Flynn was set up to get him to flip on Trump – even though the General had no damaging information to offer. It was a similar tactic the prosecutors used on Michael Cohen to get him to confess to a campaign finance violation that was not a crime, either. In that case, they used his convictions for tax fraud as the Sword of Damocles to gain the false confession. The same tactic they used on George Papadopoulos.
At this juncture, it is now more likely than not that Flynn will win his case to have his guilty plea set aside based on prosecutorial misconduct. If not, that leaves open the very real possibility of a presidential pardon – a well-deserved one.
In any case, we will have to see if he sues for retribution and whether those guilty of this miscarriage of justice are hauled into court. The names of those seemingly open to prosecution include former FBI Director Jim Comey, his Deputy Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok.
So, there ‘tis.
Editor’s Note: Should Flynn be able to sue the FBI to get his legal fees back? Should Strzok or McCabe go to jail for this? Readers, what do you think?