The Flynn Hearing

I don't know if you followed the Flynn sentencing hearing yesterday, but it was weird. Some analysts think Flynn was being handled by a vindictive judge; I'm not all sure. Judge Sullivan pushed Flynn hard on whether or not he really wanted to stick by his guilty plea in the light of the misconduct by the FBI, Comey, and Mueller's team that had been uncovered. Flynn flatly insisted in spite of several chances, so Sullivan took him at his word that he was guilty.

Then, he said something very surprising.
"You were an unregistered agent of a foreign country will serving as the National Security Adviser to the president of the United States!"

"Arguably this undermines everything this flag over here stands for!"
The judge went on to ask if this wasn't, arguably, treason.

It was not, the Special Counsel's own lawyers rushed to say. First, Flynn wasn't suspected of working for any foreign entity while at the White House. He had worked for Turkey before the election, while he was not employed by the government in any capacity. The issue was not one of being an 'agent' in the spy business sense, but an agent in the way that a lawyer is one's agent: he was a lobbyist.

In other words, the judge got the Special Counsel's office to clarify that the real offense has nothing to do with betraying the republic. It's just a matter of some paperwork Flynn didn't file, as required by law if you're going to lobby the government for a foreign interest.

The judge then apologized profusely for the accusation, saying he 'felt terrible' about it, and urging everyone to discount the question.

Jake Tapper notes, "Special Counsel Prosecutor Van Grack says Mueller's team has "no concern" or no reason to think Flynn committed treason."

Even Vox got out there clarifying that it is "baseless" to suggest Flynn guilty of treason. "He's not."

Ultimately Sullivan has done Flynn a huge favor, and maybe the whole Trump team as well. The whole "Russia" narrative has frequently been punctuated by cries of "Treason!"

Now we know there was no treason. The central figure in this, the guy without whom there'd be no Russia investigation and no Special Counsel, has been cleared of any such concerns by the Special Counsel's own statements in court.


Christopher B said...

Interesting take but Flynn was never even charged with FARA violations by Mueller (evidently some of his business partners were by a different prosecutor) which made the whole exchange even weirder.

Grim said...

That is the interesting part. It's the only real crime Mueller uncovered where Flynn was concerned, and it was let go -- with no jail time -- if Flynn would plead to lying about Russia.

douglas said...

Yes, I was thinking the same- that he inadvertently did Flynn (and possibly Trump) a backhanded favor. We shall see though.

Christopher B said...

Grim - that's becoming a feature in these cases. Everybody could be charged with more serious offenses but isn't, and plead out to either lying about some contact with Russia, or another offense that implicates Trump.

Grim said...

That's right, and it clarifies, Christopher. In this case, though, it appears that Flynn is being made to lie in his plea -- he's pleading to something the FBI didn't actually suspect him of having done. That calls all the other pleas into question as well. They look less like attempts to find the truth, and more like shaped charges aimed at the President.

Grim said...

It also makes one wonder why Carter Page hasn't been charged with anything, having been the central figure allegedly justifying the wiretaps.

The FBI and DOJ are implicated in serious misbehavior. I wonder if there are any mechanisms that can succeed at calling them to account? The President of the United States clearly can't do it: he's been yowling like a scalded cat for months, and yet here we still are.

Ymarsakar said...

And people wondered why I had no trust nor faith in the US "justice" and police systems... heh

Talk all you want to the police and FBI. Instead of running like "Traitor Snowden" right. After all, Martha Stewart and Flynn played ball and look what happened to them... everything good and nice and sweet.

Ymarsakar said...

Waco 1. Waco 2. Ruby Ridge.

Americans better get something called a "memory" before Civil War 2 ends before they wake up. At least wake the hades up for the fight.