The Dumb Ass Poker Faces in the White House Just Admitted Their Investigation Coincides with Mike Flynn’s

In a big scoop yesterday, NYT reported that Mike Flynn has withdrawn from a joint cooperation agreement with the White House, leading many people to believe that he is moving towards cooperating with Robert Mueller.

Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, notified the president’s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation, according to four people involved in the case — an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating a deal.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers had been sharing information with Mr. Trump’s lawyers about the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved in Russian efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

[snip]

[T]he notification led Mr. Trump’s lawyers to believe that Mr. Flynn — who, along with his son, is seen as having significant criminal exposure — has, at the least, begun discussions with Mr. Mueller about cooperating.

[snip]

Mr. Flynn is regarded as loyal to Mr. Trump, but he has in recent weeks expressed serious concerns to friends that prosecutors will bring charges against his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who served as his father’s chief of staff and was a part of several financial deals involving the elder Mr. Flynn that Mr. Mueller is scrutinizing.

The WaPo confirmed NYT’s scoop, adding the detail that Flynn’s lawyer told Trump’s lawyer on Wednesday evening.

The call from Flynn lawyer Robert Kelner to Trump attorney John Dowd came Wednesday evening and is a potentially ominous sign for Trump and his close associates.

Along with all the reports that Mueller was implicating Flynn, Jr in his dad’s corruption, this timing would also closely follow the hints that Reza Zarrab, whose release Flynn reportedly discussed brokering, is now cooperating with prosecutors. It’s unclear how much Zarrab would have learned in jail about efforts to free him, but it’s certainly possible that the knowledge that he is likely cooperating changed Flynn’s calculus as well. And there may be other reasons, still not public, why Flynn reversed his determination to fight prosecution rather than cooperate.

But there’s something really funny about the White House’s confirmation that Flynn pulled out of the joint defense agreement, along with their pathetic claims this doesn’t mean Trump is in trouble.

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, said, “This is not entirely unexpected.”

“No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president,” he said, adding, “It’s important to remember that General Flynn received his security clearance under the previous administration.”

Confirming to the press that Flynn pulled out of the joint defense agreement involves confirming that the White House had a joint defense agreement with his lawyers. And that entails confirming that the President is being targeted in matters closely tied to Flynn’s own actions.

Thus far, the crimes Flynn is most publicly being accused of — largely relating to his unreported influence peddling, for both Turkey and Russia — don’t necessarily impact Trump. Given the details that have thus far been made public, those actions could just reflect his own greed, not any overt work with Trump to implement the policies he promised to the Turks he would deliver. Indeed, there’d be little need for Flynn’s lawyers to work with Trump’s if that were the only criminal charges he was facing.

But now several Trump lawyers are on the record saying they viewed themselves as targeted by the same investigation as Flynn is. Which means (unsurprisingly) Trump was probably in the loop on Flynn’s influence peddling. And which also means Flynn’s discussions with Sergei Kislyak about sanctions relief — and his lies about them to the FBI — directly implicate Trump. That’s the stuff that would justify a joint defense agreement, and that’s the stuff the White House just confirmed by confirming the no longer operative joint defense agreement.

In spite of all the claims that Trump isn’t being investigated, Trump’s lawyers have just admitted that they have been treating Flynn’s criminal exposure as related to the President’s own.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

28 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Whether a former general officer held a security clearance is not relevant to whether she later violated a regulation or committed a crime. I’m pretty sure General Petraeus had a security clearance, too.

    If that’s all Trump’s legal team can come up with, their quiver is empty. To paraphrase Braveheart, the Almighty might tell Flynn that he can get him out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure Flynn’s former boss is fucked.

  2. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Pretend Lawyer Hackulow’s job isn’t to provide legal advice, it’s to clothe propaganda in a lawyer-suit, in this case the transformation of Flynn into a deep state Obama holdover. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Alternatively, he’s feeding the frog-cult’s belief that Mueller has already filed indictments under seal for Obama and Clinton and Flynn is the key witness.

    Either way, it suggests that both sides have got their buses revved up, ready to throw the other under them.

  3. DomyeWest says:

    OT: MW, you said that you thought there would be news very soon potentially implicating the president. Could this be it? It certainly seems to implicate the president.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s possible it’s a downstream result of that news, which hasn’t been announced yet. So in a way, yes.

  4. GKJames says:

    Which brings us back to: At what point will the temperature reach a level where Orange Glow’s lack of impulse control has him pull the trigger on Mueller?

    • Rugger9 says:

      It’s a good question, and my 2 cents says that Jared will be the trigger point.  The Kaiser has made it clear that his business dealings and family are off-limits for Mueller, but it is also clear they are in it to their eyeballs in both areas.  Jared will get indicted before Ivanka, but she’ll pull the daddy’s little girl card to try to get Jared off the hook.

  5. Bay State Librul says:

    A layman’s Questions:

    Do we know when this agreement started?
    Do they sign the agreement?
    It seems to me that it could be one giant circle jerk of collusion?
    Help me.

    “A joint defense agreement is a pact among attorneys for multiple targets or subjects in a criminal case in which they agree to share information. The agreement may be written or unwritten. Any joint defense agreement will be defined by its explicit terms, but generally, under such an agreement, attorneys have a duty to keep the confidences of all of the clients covered by the agreement. The attorneys also have a duty to avoid conflicts of interest as to any of the clients. The attorneys can compare notes, allocate work efficiently by dividing tasks and avoiding duplication, and develop a unified strategy.

  6. Brian says:

    I’m thinking of people who have a lot to lose, have been “interviewed” but not said much (unlike,say, Don Jr) – Sean Spicer, Hope Hicks. Even Carter Page has seen a lot.

  7. tryggth says:

    EW, might be fun to have an open questions/FAQ thread. The investigation is so broad I’m losing track of what is known-ish and not known.

    For example, was there any follow up by FBI on the story that documents were removed from the transition SCIF.

  8. Rugger9 says:

    For Peterr: I’ll agree with you on what Mueller will demand and probably get, however my point here is that Flynn will try to hold back some details until Mueller extracts the information.

    In general, we are looking at the silver lining of the Kaiser’s WH, in that there are so many moving parts with their own agendas (think Bannon versus Pence versus Jared, for example) that some of these loose ends were bound to be snagged on Mueller’s muck-rakes. Since many of these are in it for themselves (Manafort, Pence, Priebus, Page, Papadopoulos, Mooch, Uday and Qusay, Lewandowski, etc.) there isn’t the tight-knit loyalty that would keep mouths shut. Indeed, the loyalty pledge requirement for working in the WH is a clear indication to me that more than a few flippers will be found. One doesn’t have to enforce / legally bind team loyalty with true believers.

    The Pence question will become part of the discussion again, since the “official” reason for jettisoning Flynn was that he lied to Pence. However, maybe that is not true and maybe Flynn has the documentation.

  9. GetReal says:

    So much can be deciphered from an unspoken joint defense agreement? Not even the totally marginalized Wapozon would atempt to make that stretch. Yawn.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, actually the inferences and speculation in  this post can quite easily be made from the existence of the JDA (and it is “spoken” at this point, that is how we know about it) if you are well versed on the state of facts and case to date. How’s that for real getting?

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Not hard or unrealistic to infer this much and more from a JDA that involves a sitting president.  Not hard at all, let alone a JDA involving the cast of characters that buzz around Donald Trump.

    • bmaz says:

      And you say this with such confidence how?

      I guess I shall have to notify Mueller’s shop that one of their heretofore silent and workmanlike team is leaking here.

  11. Rugger9 says:

    Curiouser and curiouser… It seems that in a complete coinkydink anonymous Mueller aides are painting him as mistake prone and closed minded for antics going back years.  Aside from a classic projection play here by the Kaiser’s toadies, it seems there is more than a little backstory missing such as how bad were the deals being proposed?  It’s better to walk away than to make a bad deal, but if the purpose is to cast doubt on Mueller’s report with the base, this is how Roger Stone or Breitbart would do it.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/robert-mueller-cant-own-up-to-his-mistakes-aides-say/

    Was there some witness tampering as well?  Woolsey is an experienced enough insider (even as an authoritarian SOB) to know such a meeting would get on Mueller’s hit list for another interview.  If I were a betting man, my guess would be that the Kaiser wanted some inside information on what Mueller knows or could find out given that Flynn’s apparently talking.  Woolsey would know that kind of information as CIA Director.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/former-cia-director-james-woolsey-a-key-witness-against-flynn-had-dinner-with-trump-at-mar-a-lago/

Comments are closed.