While working with General Michael Flynn on The Field of Fight, I interviewed many of his former colleagues in order to better understand my co-author. Virtually all of them described a man who cared deeply about the truth and presented it in circumstances that were certainly not favorable to him. These people portrayed General Flynn as a compulsive truth-teller.
So why has he now confessed to making false statements to the FBI? Not only would such behavior be totally out of character, but it contradicts the bureau’s own publicly announced findings last February, and would have us believe that Gen. Flynn lied about actions that were themselves perfectly legal. In essence, he has pled guilty to doing foreign policy — his job, after all — at the behest of the president-elect, and then misleading the FBI and the vice president-elect.
It doesn’t make sense. I don’t believe Flynn intentionally misled the FBI, or anyone else, about his unquestionably licit conversations with the Russian ambassador.
I think the “guilty” plea tells us more about the Mueller investigation, and about the politicization of “justice” more generally, than it does about presumed malefactions by the retired general.
I think that Gen. Flynn admitted guilt in order to stop the pain for himself and his family.
I doubt Flynn — or Mueller, for that matter — believes he misled government officials.
Flynn may have been confused (his conversation with Pence apparently took place in the middle of the night with very bad communications), but he certainly had no need to lie about the Kislyak conversations. I think Flynn copped a plea to end the torture, and to save his family from prosecution.
It is notable that Mueller and company have apparently dropped their investigation of Gen. Flynn’s son, and the plea agreement will dramatically reduce the family’s legal expenses.
There is a basic lesson here for anyone who enters government service: do not ever talk to the FBI unless your lawyer is present. Just ask Scooter Libby, who was punished for making allegedly false statements to FBI investigators. In the Flynn affair, there was no need for the FBI to ask any questions about the telephone chats, since the transcripts were available from the get-go.
It is said that a skilled prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and a special counsel has even greater powers. Furthermore, prosecutors’ motives are not limited to the pursuit of the truth. The “accomplishments” of aggressive prosecutors often have very little to do with the facts, but rather with the number of scalps they can hang on their war belts. Rare is the person who can insist on his innocence — of anything — if a special prosecutor is out to get him. The prosecutor can catch you giving an incorrect or confused answer to questions … about anything.
Several of the special prosecutor’s targets in Iran-Contra faced ruin when Judge Walsh demanded vast numbers of documents, and we haven’t heard from them since. The Mueller team has unlimited time and unlimited budget; with such weapons, even St. Francis of Assisi could be effectively threatened with ruinous prosecution. At a certain point, targets realize that they are going to be prosecuted no matter what, and they decide to cut their losses.
So the Flynn story, which is also the Mueller story, is about national politics, as it has been since the beginning. We have just learned that Mueller removed two investigators from his staff after they had played key roles in investigating Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and the so-called “collusion” matter. Mueller has been actively blocking congressional access to documents about the case. This prompted Atty. Gen. Sessions to issue a remarkable statement this past Sunday:
The allegations that the inspector general has confirmed are part of his ongoing investigation, if proven to be true, would raise serious questions of public trust. I look forward to receiving the inspector general’s report. We will ensure that anyone who works on any investigation in the Department of Justice does so objectively and free from bias or favoritism.
The inspector general has been working diligently to complete his investigation for months, and I have requested he complete it as soon as possible. The American people deserve answers.
Let’s hope we receive them.