Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

The Matter of Former Lt. General Michael Flynn

May 19, 2020 --

And so the battle of November 8, 2016 continues. What, otherwise, could be the significance of the continuing legal turmoil affecting former Lt. General Flynn?

LPR believes he was prosecuted by the Office of Special Counsel in the hopes of that office of making some kind of legal case against President Trump. In turn, the people behind establishment of that office, including top officials at The New York Times, wanted the special counsel office to come up with some dirt that could be used to discredit, and remove from office, President  Trump.  Only a few days before Robert Mueller was named special counsel, The New York Times, in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey, had called for appointment of a special counsel, appointed without the knowledge of the president!

Before going further, LPR would call its clicksters attention to the self-defeating passivity of congressional Republlcans, who, although in control of both houses of Congress, could not prevent House and Senate inquiries of Russian alleged involvement in the 2016 elections.  These hearings dragged on throughout the congressional terms and did the Republicans no good, but served the purpose of the Democrats in calling into questions, without basis in fact, the legitimacy of the 2016 election.  The only problem with that election was the fact that Mr. Trump, generally, was considered a surprise winner.  Republican passivity enabled the Democrats and their media cohort to maintain the lie of Russian Trump collusion, a lie which is believed a major factor in the Democrat House victory, November 2018, a win that has cost the country   so much, literally and figuratively, in 2019 and 2020. 

(But the surprise of 2016 was likely premised on the inaccuracy of the political polls which, in turn, could have been based on the unwillingness of numbers of Trump supporters to tell pollsters that they back "the Donald.")

Information concerning the Flynn matter can be found in the pages of The Mueller Report, recent news reports on Flynn developments.  The Mueller Report does not mention, so far as LPR could determine, the January 5, 2017 White House meeting during which President Obama discussed the Flynn-Kislyak contacts of the previous recent days. 

Apparently, Flynn first contacted Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the third week in December, 2016, at the behest of Trump son-on-law Jared Kushner, on the matter of a UN Security Council vote against Israeli settlements on what the UN regarded as Palestinian Arab territory.

(LPR has no doubt that Mr. Kushner is a very able, and, certainly, loyal member of the Trump administration, but would simply note that there is a point where the service of an able, loyal relative can turn into nepotism, the enemy of clear-thinking in any organization.)  Other Trump transition members were also working on this issue; none of the efforts came to fruition.

The other issue Flynn discussed with Kislyak, the end of the year was the Russian response to anti-Russia sanctions imposed by President Obama, December 29.

Flynn (along with other members of the Trump Transition did not want Russia to escalate the issue.  The Mueller report makes clear that Flynn consulted with his deputy, K.T. McFarland, before discussing the issue with Kislyak, and that other members of the transition team weere aware of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations.

It is not clear how many team members were aware that the conversations mentioned the sanctions issue. On December 31, 2016, Kislyal informed Flynn that Russia would not retaliate.

On January 24, 2017, Flynn agreed to an FBI interview.  As Attorney General Barr indicated, the FBI art that time had no material reason to interview Flynn and, accordingly, it would seem to follow that Flynn could have discussed with them his belief that the moon was made of green cheese. That is to say, as LPR believes, the agents, sent by Comey, had no official reasonn to discuss anything with Flynn, much less whether he discussed sanctions with Kislyak. And bear in mind that based on surveillance of Kislyank, the president (and presumbably the FBI) already knew what Flynn had discussed with Kislyak.

Two days later, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, with a senior Justice Department national security adviser, Mary McCord,  met White House Counsel Donald McGahn, with a White House counsel James Burnham, to tell him that the vice president made untrue statements in denying that Flynn and Kislyak talked about sanctions.

The Mueller report then has Yates telling McGahn that Flynn was interviewed by the FBI and gave them denials on the sanctions discussion with Kislyank that he gave to Pence. The Mueller Report also notes that The Washington Post reported on February 9 that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyank. 

Presently, we don't know who leaked (unmasked) Flynn to The Washington Post, on that sanctions talk. Such unmasking, LPR understands, is a violation of law.

Eventually, Mueller's office took up the matter, leading to the guilty plea that Flynn entered before Judge Rudolph Cabreras, December 1, 2017, along with a statement worthy of an old Bolshevik appearing before Prosecutor Andrei Vishinsky at a 1930's Moscow show trial.   After taking the guilty plea, Jude Cabreras recused and the matter was turned over to Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has yet to act on the Justice Department's withdrawal of the guilty plea.  On May 13, Judge Sullivan asked retired Judge John Gleeson to see whether Flynn should be held in criminal contempt for  perjury for withdrawing his guilty plea given voluntarily and  under oath, December 1, 2017. 

Flynn's new lawyer is Sidney Powell.  LPR will be very interested that if, in challenging the obstacles Judge Sullivan seems intent on continuing to place before her client, she will "unmask" any indicia of coercion that made it possible for Flynn to plead, abjectly, to facts that provide no basis in the first place to arrive at a determination of guilt.