Friday, September 18, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

The Travails of Michael Flynn (Cont.)

June 19, 2020 --

Last LPR, this website was hoping that the travails of former National Security Affairs Adviser Michael Flynn would have ended by now with his exoneration by a three-judge panel on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.  Instead, news reports indicate that the Circuit Court panel seems inclined to return the matter to District Court Emmet Sullivan to decide.  Returning the matter to Judge Sullivan would take the case to mid-July, and likely, longer for final disposition.  At that point, if Jude Sullivan insists on sentencing Flynn on his guilty plea that the government, together with Flynn, now wants to withdraw, it appears to LPR that Flynn's option would be to try to return the case to the appellate court that was unwilling to end the matter now.  If the appellate court was unwilling to rule in Flynn's favor now, why would it rule in his favor later?

Accordingly, it the appellate court returns the matter to Judge Sullivan now for disposition, is Flynn 's only realistic option an attempt at expedited review by the Supreme Court?   And if 
the Supreme Court would not take on the matter this summer, should Flynn get unfavorable rulings in the appellate court, and then back before Judge Sullivan, would Flynn have a chance, again, at a favorable ruling at the Circuit Court, or Supreme Court.   Wouldn't drawn-out proceedings keep the case alive during the election campaign?  Would the courts tolerate drawn-out proceediings?

There is, of course, another possibility:  that if the case goes back to the district court, the president ends Flynn's travail with a pardon.  

A presidential pardon would bring the media down on the president's head, but what wouldn't?  LPR is convinced that Flynn did not act counter to U.S. policy under President Obama when he spoke with Russian Ambassador Segey Kislyak, at the end of December 2016.  All that Flynn was trying to do was persuade Russia to change its policy toward the U.S.  It was the Obama administration that wanted to increase tensions with Russia -- as parting "gift" to the incoming Trump administration.  To the extent that the Flynn matter was politics, the politics of the matter was fashioned by the Obama administration.  The courts ought not punish Lt. Ge. Michael Flynn because the Obama administration sought to play politics at the expense of the Trump administration, as it was about to take office.  And if the courts insist on playing politics with the Flynn affair and, to boot, violate the separation of powers principle -- by forcing a judicial prosecution on the Justice Department, the president is well justified in putting an end to the matter by pardoning his former national security affairs adviser.