Michael Flynn to testify that Trump 'ordered him' to talk to Russians
At the Republican National Convention, Michael Flynn made a speech, and launched a blistering attack on Hillary Clinton. The Retired Lt. General (and Trump advisor) led the crowd in a wild chant: "Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!" Then he exclaimed, "Damn right! Exactly right!" Oh, how the tables have turned. Today Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The maximum sentence is five years in prison. As they say, karma's a bitch.
It's a stunning turn of events, because Flynn - who was Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor for one month - is the first person in the Trump administration to be charged from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election, possible collusion between members of Trump's team and the Russian government, possible obstruction of justice for firing FBI director James Comey, and various financial crimes. And if you've seen his picture, you know he means business. You wouldn't want this guy coming after you - you'd want someone less scary, like Pennywise The Clown.
The guilty plea was especially shocking because Mueller has pledged "full cooperation" with Mueller's investigation. ABC's Brian Ross reports that, according to a confidant, Mueller is prepared to testify "'against Trump, against members of his family, and others in the White House" that Trump ordered and directed him to contact the Russians. That's a clear sign the probe is getting closer and closer to Trump's inner circle - and the President himself. In other words, Merry Christmas, Trump critics! Hope you like your present. It could be the first of many.
Flynn made a false statement to the FBI about conversations with Ambassador Kislyak regarding U.S. sanctions against Russia. After the election, the Obama administration issued new sanctions against Russia, and expelled 35 diplomats. Flynn initially denied telling Kislyak to temper their response, but transcripts of phone calls reviewed by the Justice Department lawyers say otherwise. Flynn also lied about his conversations with foreign officials regarding UN Security Council votes on Israeli settlements. He also probably lies when FBI agents ask him "How are you?" and he says "I'm fine." Nobody's just "fine"! Tell us the truth! How are you?!
In a statement, the retired three-star general said, "My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions." Judge Rudolph Contreras accepted the plea and said that there will be no trial. Sentencing is delayed for the moment, so Flynn's free to go, and has agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Flynn agreed to the plea deal under immense pressure, due to financial issues. ABC News reports that, according to a confidant, "Flynn felt abandoned by Trump in recent weeks, and told friends about the decision to make the plea deal within the last 24 hours as he grew increasingly concerned about crippling legal costs he would face if he continued to contest the charges." See, what happens, President Trump, when you spend all day retweeting hate videos? If you would have just paid Flynn some attention, and invited him over to binge-watch Stranger Things, and made it rain with some Benjamin Franklins, all this could have been avoided.
This is a huge - make that yuuuuge - problem for President Trump, and we're still waiting to hear his response. (But we can probably guess it will include the words "witch hunt," "fake news" and "SAD.")
In the meantime, White House lawyer Ty Cobb said, "The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn." He also called Flynn an "Obama administration official," which is kind of hilarious, since Obama fired Flynn, only for Trump re-hire him. CNN reports that the White House officials are actually about Flynn pleading guilty. They "see this is a win" because "this doesn't lead back to Trump in any way, shape or form." (We'll see)
Time will tell if Mueller charges more people in the Trump administration, or The Donald himself. But it's fair to say that somewhere, Hillary Clinton is watching the news about Michael Flynn pleading guilty, and having a bottle of Chardonnay, while leading a crowd of imaginary people in a chant: "Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!"