What The Media Isn't Telling You About the Indictment Of Mike Flynn

Authored by Robert Parry via ConsortiumNews.com,

The Russia-gate prosecutors have taken the scalp of ex- National Security Adviser (and retired Lt. Gen.) Flynn for lying to the FBI. But this case shows how dangerously far afield this 'scandal' has gone...

Russia-gate enthusiasts are thrilled over the guilty plea of President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador, but the case should alarm true civil libertarians.

What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn’s recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.

In other words, the Justice Department wasn’t seeking information about what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – the intelligence agencies already had that information. Instead, Flynn was being quizzed on his precise recollection of the conversations and nailed for lying when his recollections deviated from the transcripts.

For Americans who worry about how the pervasive surveillance powers of the U.S. government could be put to use criminalizing otherwise constitutionally protected speech and political associations, Flynn’s prosecution represents a troubling precedent.

Though Flynn clearly can be faulted for his judgment, he was, in a sense, a marked man the moment he accepted the job of national security adviser. In summer 2016, Democrats seethed over Flynn’s participation in chants at the Republican National Convention to “lock her [Hillary Clinton] up!”

Then, just four days into the Trump presidency, an Obama holdover, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, primed the Flynn perjury trap by coming up with a novel legal theory that Flynn – although the national security adviser-designate at the time of his late December phone calls with Kislyak – was violating the 1799 Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from interfering with U.S. foreign policy.

But that law – passed during President John Adams’s administration in the era of the Alien and Sedition Acts – was never intended to apply to incoming officials in the transition period between elected presidential administrations and – in the past 218 years – the law has resulted in no successful prosecution at all and thus its dubious constitutionality has never been adjudicated.

Stretching Logic

But Yates extrapolated from her unusual Logan Act theory to speculate that since Flynn’s publicly known explanation of the conversation with Kislyak deviated somewhat from the transcript of the intercepts, Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Yet, that bizarre speculation would require that the Russians first would have detected the discrepancies; secondly, they would have naively assumed that the U.S. intelligence agencies had not intercepted the conversations, which would have negated any blackmail potential; and thirdly, the Russians would have to do something so ridiculously heavy-handed – trying to blackmail Flynn – that it would poison relations with the new Trump administration.

Yates’s legal theorizing was so elastic and speculative that it could be used to justify subjecting almost anyone to FBI interrogation with the knowledge that their imperfect memories would guarantee the grounds for prosecution based on NSA intercepts of their communications.

Basically, the Obama holdovers concocted a preposterous legal theory to do whatever they could to sabotage the Trump administration, which they held in fulsome disdain.

At the time of Flynn’s interrogation, the Justice Department was under the control of Yates and the FBI was still under President Obama’s FBI Director James Comey, another official hostile to the Trump administration who later was fired by Trump.

The Yates-FBI perjury trap also was sprung on Flynn in the first days of the Trump presidency amid reverberations of the massive anti-Trump protests that had arisen across the country in support of demands for a “#Resistance” to Trump’s rule.

Flynn also had infuriated Democrats when he joined in chants at the Republican National Convention of “lock her up” over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and other alleged offenses. So, in targeting Flynn, there was a mix of personal payback and sabotage against the Trump administration.

The Legal Construct

The two-page complaint against Flynn, made public on Friday, references false statements to the FBI regarding two conversations with Kisylak, one on Dec. 22, 2016, and the other on Dec. 29, 2016.

The first item in the complaint alleges that Flynn did not disclose that he had asked the Russian ambassador to help delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council vote censuring Israel for building settlements on Palestinian territory.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Russia-gate investigators “learned through witnesses and documents that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel, according to two people briefed on the inquiry.

“Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, took the lead in those efforts. Mr. Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to kill the vote, the people briefed on the matter said,” according to the Times.

Breaking with past U.S. precedents, President Obama had decided not to veto the resolution criticizing Israel, choosing instead to abstain. However, the censure resolution carried with Russian support, meaning that whatever lobbying Flynn and Kushner undertook was unsuccessful.

But the inclusion of this Israeli element shows how far afield the criminal Russia-gate investigation, headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, has gone. Though the original point of the inquiry was whether the Trump team colluded with Russians to use “hacked” emails to defeat Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the criminal charge against Flynn has nothing to do with election “collusion” but rather President-elect Trump’s aides weighing in on foreign policy controversies during the transition. And, the first initiative was undertaken at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, not Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The second item, cited by Mueller’s prosecutors, referenced a Dec. 29 Flynn-Kislyak conversation, which received public attention at the time of Flynn’s Feb. 13 resignation after only 24 days on the job. That phone call touched on Russia’s response to President Obama’s decision to issue new sanctions against the Kremlin for the alleged election interference.

The complaint alleges that Flynn didn’t mention to the FBI that he had urged Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation” and that Kislyak had subsequently told him that “Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”

The Dec. 29 phone call occurred while Flynn was vacationing in the Dominican Republic and thus he would have been without the usual support staff for memorializing or transcribing official conversations. So, the FBI agents, with the NSA’s transcripts, would have had a clearer account of what was said than Flynn likely had from memory. The content of Flynn’s request to Kislyak also appears rather uncontroversial, asking the Russians not to overreact to a punitive policy from the outgoing Obama administration.

In other words, both of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations appear rather unsurprising, if not inconsequential. One was taken at the behest of Israel (which proved ineffective) and the other urged the Kremlin to show restraint in its response to a last-minute slap from President Obama (which simply delayed Russian retaliation by several months).

Double Standards

While Flynn’s humiliation has brought some palpable joy to the anti-Trump “Resistance” – one more Trump aide being taken down amid renewed hope that this investigation will somehow lead to Trump’s resignation or impeachment – many of the same people would be howling about trampled civil liberties if a Republican bureaucracy were playing this game on a Democratic president and his staff.

Indeed, in the turnabout-is-fair-play department, there is some equivalence in what is happening over Russia-gate to what the Republicans did in the 1990s exploiting their control of the special-prosecutor apparatus in the first years of Bill Clinton’s presidency when interminable investigations into such side issues as his Whitewater real-estate deal and the firing of the White House travel office staff plagued the Clinton administration.

Similarly, Republicans seized on the deaths of four U.S. diplomatic personnel on Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, to conduct a series of lengthy investigations to tarnish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure and raise questions about her judgment. Democrats understandably called these attacks partisan warfare in legal or investigative garb.

What I have heard from many Hillary Clinton supporters in recent months is that they don’t care about the unfairness of the Russia-gate process or the dangerous precedents that such politicized prosecutions might set. They simply view Trump as such a danger that he must be destroyed at whatever the cost.

Yet, besides the collateral damage inflicted on mid-level government officials such as retired Lt. Gen. Flynn facing personal destruction at the hands of federal prosecutors with unlimited budgets, there is this deepening pattern of using criminal law to settle political differences, a process more common in authoritarian states.

As much as the Russia-gate enthusiasts talk about how they are upholding “the rule of law,” there is the troubling appearance that the law is simply being used to collect the scalps of political enemies.

Comments

The Wizard Deathrips Sun, 12/03/2017 - 20:22 Permalink

Time to think out of the box and think of Sun Tzu's Art of War.I remember when Trump first dismissed Flynn it was reported Flynn had the a very extensive pedo list of judges, politicians, celebrities, media, etc. and one on the list was a close friend of Pence.Flynn has plead to meaningless charges in order to "tell his story". I wonder what is the story.“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”Sun Tzu

In reply to by Deathrips

besnook turkey george palmer Sun, 12/03/2017 - 16:54 Permalink

evidence, please? the only people i can detect who have been banned from this site are spammers, crusaders and name callers. while the most famous crusader is the late francis sawyer(despite fact based posts) who didn't post anything but anti zionazi stuff most prozionazis, and there have been many, have been banned because the only retort they can come up with are ad hominems since they have no sense ,facts, or logic to defend their positions. kind of ironic, isn't it?

In reply to by turkey george palmer

Ink Pusher Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:40 Permalink

The "Law" stops being 'the law' when it no longer serves to protect the interests of 'the people'."At the foundation of our civil liberty lies the principle which denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. ~ Dissent, Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U.S. 465, 477 (1921)."Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means -- to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal -- would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face."

  • ~ Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928).
NiggaPleeze decon Sun, 12/03/2017 - 18:03 Permalink

 But then Flynn pled guilty.  Presumably because these conversations are not the type you simply "forget" after two months.Flynn must have known his calls were recorded.  Apparently he is conceding that no warrant is needed for that, which certainly lowers him in my esteem.  Who knows what game he's playing, and not sure we'll ever find out.

In reply to by decon

True Blue decon Sun, 12/03/2017 - 19:35 Permalink

Funny. isn't it? You can be jailed for 'knowingly and willfully' lying to the scrotum licking FBI, but when they lie to judges and juries and get the innocent sentenced as a result...crickets.But hey, we also can't all afford to let some hooker swipe our Rolex, gun and badge while pretending to be a civil 'servant' can we?Burn it to the ground and piss on the ashes.

In reply to by decon

Just Another V… JoeTurner Sun, 12/03/2017 - 19:49 Permalink

.............."But this case shows how dangerously far afield this 'scandal' has gone"...................... And the key of this one year long, (so far)  insane unlimited "Russian conspiracy"  witch hunt,  is that it clearly highlights the extent of the morally bankrupt, blind, biased, demonic,  and partisan special prosecutors office,  and the waste of taxpayer time and money spent chasing ghosts created from fictional reports, and using a small army  to do it..   But then it does show the depth of the swamp, and it is evidently very deep.   Parts of the swamp even casually dismiss senior Congressional investigations.    Flynn is Kind of like ....Lets get all the Jay Walkers and lock em up on forced felony charges. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Beat the hell out of em and when they lift a finger charge em with felony assault.

In reply to by JoeTurner

To Hell In A H… JoeTurner Sun, 12/03/2017 - 23:40 Permalink

You're a fucking day dreamer and that includes the 27 Muppets to date, who up-voted you. Partisan Trumptard madness has infected this forum, where projection has replaced logic, evidence and reason.To even suggest Trump and Flynn have laid a trap, would imply Flynn pleading guilty is part of some elaborate scheme? lol That is pure comedy gold.Trump is compromised. Logic dictates it. Given Trump's legendary lack of impulse control, there is no fucking way he wouldn't lash/fight back, unless he couldn't. All Trump can do is Tweet and implore the legal system investigate. Ie: do their job. Does this look like a man laying a trap?Killary is going to get Trump and part of the reason is obvious from my perspective. Trump going after Killary, would involve too much colateral. As I've been arguing for almost a year and a half, the key is the 1100 donor names on the Clinton Foundation pay to play list.   

In reply to by JoeTurner

pigpen Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:41 Permalink

Whatever the circus media is saying about Flynn - who cares.Every citizen needs to destroy msm and goobook digital advertising monopolies by using brave browser.Brave browser blocks advertising, tracking and malware by DEFAULT on any device and operating systemPeter Thiel has funded it and it simple enough to install that grandma and kids can install and works instantly.Time to punish the digital advertising model and protection of free speech and prevention of spyware.Why am I not compensated for my attention to watch ads and for my data?Brave browser.Cheers,Pigpen

RumpleShitzkin Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:45 Permalink

get the transcripts ruled as illegal....as they are....and he skates.none of it should have been availble as evidence against him and no one can recall events as accurately as an illegal transcript.its pure shit

joeyman9 RumpleShitzkin Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:59 Permalink

I don't understand why Flynn, facing financial destitution, just didn't fire his lawyers and act as his own counsel (or get a cheap lawyer).  All he had to do was assert that the transcripts were obtained without a warrant AND......were a violation of his Fourth Amendment Rights, and they would be inadmissiable.  Also he could sue the Govt (specifically FBI and NSA) for violating his civil rights.  Too bad he didn't realize this or his expensive lawyers (is anybody really worth 600 bucks and hour as an employee?  Not if he doesn't generate at least that much plus a profit) didn't give him the same advice I just put forth....and I'm not even a lawyer.

In reply to by RumpleShitzkin

The Wizard joeyman9 Sun, 12/03/2017 - 16:38 Permalink

The first 8 amendments have been completely destroyed as a result of the 14th amendment and under the corporate U.S. created in 1871.p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; direction: ltr; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); line-height: 120%; text-align: left; }p.western { font-family: "Liberation Serif", serif; font-size: 12pt; }p.cjk { font-family: "WenQuanYi Micro Hei"; font-size: 12pt; }p.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Devanagari"; font-size: 12pt; }a:link { }When one - for example claims to have a second amendment right they claims that right, first of all, by citing one of the first eight amendments. Now the interesting thing about that is that, as you know, the first eight amendment are not considered enforceable against state action - unless one claim the lesser status of 14th amendment person and proceeds under the "incorporation doctrine" for persons. Then all of the arguments that one is not the statutorily defined person fails. When proceeding at the state level one should also state clearly, on the record, state that they are proceeding as one protected by article IV of the constitution for the United States  and clearly specify (1791)  ! On the other hand if one is charged under a federal statute, or federal law, they should be sure to cite the constitution for the United States (1791) and cite - and make a clear distinction between the constitution for the United States, and the reconstructionest 1871 constitution of the United States persons, or whoever ! Got it ? It's simple right ? "...the first eight amendments have uniformly been held not to be protected from state action by the privilege and immunities clause [of the 14th Amendment]." Hague v. CIO, 307 US 496, 520

In reply to by joeyman9

The Wizard joeyman9 Sun, 12/03/2017 - 16:38 Permalink

The first 8 amendments have been completely destroyed as a result of the 14th amendment and under the corporate U.S. created in 1871.When one - for example claims to have a second amendment right they claims that right, first of all, by citing one of the first eight amendments. Now the interesting thing about that is that, as you know, the first eight amendment are not considered enforceable against state action - unless one claim the lesser status of 14th amendment person and proceeds under the "incorporation doctrine" for persons. Then all of the arguments that one is not the statutorily defined person fails. When proceeding at the state level one should also state clearly, on the record, state that they are proceeding as one protected by article IV of the constitution for the United States  and clearly specify (1791)  ! On the other hand if one is charged under a federal statute, or federal law, they should be sure to cite the constitution for the United States (1791) and cite - and make a clear distinction between the constitution for the United States, and the reconstructionest 1871 constitution of the United States persons, or whoever ! Got it ? It's simple right ? "...the first eight amendments have uniformly been held not to be protected from state action by the privilege and immunities clause [of the 14th Amendment]." Hague v. CIO, 307 US 496, 520

In reply to by joeyman9

Rubicon727 RumpleShitzkin Sun, 12/03/2017 - 16:03 Permalink

"get the transcripts ruled as illegal....as they are....and he skates. none of it should have been availble as evidence against him and no one can recall events as accurately as an illegal transcript. its pure shit" Exactly and precisely so!!! If Flynn hires a really good attorney, that attorney will tear this issue into tatters as it should be treated.

In reply to by RumpleShitzkin

JohninMK Rubicon727 Sun, 12/03/2017 - 16:21 Permalink

I can't believe that his lawyers haven't spotted this. Maybe, just maybe this is all part of a diversionary smokescreen hiding what is actually going on behind the screens. Just part of a plan to keep them occupied on these 'victories' over Trump.A link from the other thread, well worth a moment of your time. Just pray that what it describes comes to pass, if it doesn't then the shit we are in is deeper than we think.https://i.imgur.com/1q4mrxG.png

In reply to by Rubicon727