Republicans OUTRAGED That National Security Threat Was Treated Like National Security Threat
I’m in the middle of a very deep dive into the Roger Stone files — which show parts of the investigation remain ongoing — so I’m just going to note two developments that will ensure that two of Trump’s criminals avoid prison.
First, Stone has filed for an appeal of Amy Berman Jackson’s order denying him a new trial. Normally, his appeal would be so weak that he’d be required to report while the appeal is heard. But even in normal circumstances, the Bureau of Prison takes a while to assign new prisoners. And in the case of a non-violent 67-year old like Stone, I imagine BOP will wait to make an assignment until their COVID problem abates. They have enough problems with all the vulnerable prisoners in their COVID death traps now, they aren’t in a big rush to put more in there. [Update: Per Ali Dukakis, BOP has indeed told Stone he won’t have to report right away.]
Meanwhile, Sidney Powell has succeeded wildly with her ploy to undermine the prosecution of Mike Flynn in the press, getting both the NYT and WaPo to present her case with little context. Last week and yesterday she got a released a bunch of documents that the government turned over as part of Jeffrey Jensen’s second-guessing of the prosecution. Those files show:
- There was a discussion about halting an ongoing investigation into Mike Flynn Jr after his dad pled guilty, but there were no promises made (if there had been, it would add two more lies to the sworn lies Mike Flynn told). The emails make it clear that Covington believed the threat of investigation was real.
- In advance of the interview of Mike Flynn, the FBI discussed how to handle an investigation into why the National Security Advisor had called up Russia and told them not to worry about the punishment for their interference in our election. They brainstormed how to respond to a bunch of questions he didn’t end up asking. They had been planning to give him a warning about false statements; they did not give that warning. They had discussed showing him the transcript that showed he lied; they did not do that.
Neither of those things are very interesting. The first shows the opposite of what Sidney Powell has claimed (that is, no promises about Jr were made). The second shows that they discussed how to handle a sensitive interview before it happened; we knew that. In addition, because those discussions ultimately didn’t govern the investigation, they would not have been pertinent to the interview.
The thing the frothy right is excited about is that Bill Pristap took notes reflecting a discussion what would happen given all the evidence that the National Security Advisor had called up Russia and told them not to worry about the punishment for their interference. The question was whether they wanted to get him to admit his wrongdoing, in which case (they assumed) he’d be fired, or whether he would lie in which case they might have to prosecute him.
The frothy right believes this is proof that Flynn was ambushed in a perjury [false statements] trap, which I guess means they now agree Flynn lied his ass off.
Somewhere, the circumstances have gotten missed. Not only did the FBI discover that Mike Flynn had called up a hostile foreign government and told them not to worry about being punished for tampering in our election. But it was also already public that Mike Flynn may have been secretly working for Turkey while he was claiming to represent Trump’s national security interests. Flynn would go on to testify, under oath and before a grand jury, that indeed, he had been knowingly pursuing a secret deal with Turkey at the time he sat in on Trump’s first national security briefing. The entire time, he testified, he knew that he was really working for Turkey even though he and his firm went to some efforts to hide that fact.
The FBI might be excused for believing that Flynn would be treated according to one of two ways: firing or prosecution. Because they had Flynn on tape calling up a country that had just attacked our own and told them not to worry about being punished. And they had good reason to believe he was still hiding details about having worked for a frenemy government during a period he retained security clearance. In a sane world, when there’s clear evidence the National Security Advisor has done those things, firing or prosecution are the most obvious options.
In Trump’s world — in the world of the entire Republican party, it seems — those aren’t the only two options. In Trump’s world, it is totally natural to keep someone in charge of the entire country’s national security even after he had called up a country that had just attacked us and said no big deal while actively hiding his relationship with another foreign country.
And that is why Mike Flynn likely won’t ever go to prison: because in Trump’s world, the guy who helps out the country that just attacked us is a hero, not a national security threat.
Update: Here’s the next installment of stuff that Powell claims is damning but which proves her conspiracy theories wrong. It shows that on January 4, 2017, FBI was literally in the process of closing the investigation into Flynn (proving they didn’t set him up and assessed him accurately) when they discovered that he had called up Russia and undermined sanctions.
I noted this on the last post on this topic, but the Army can also dismiss Flynn (it works like a dishonorable discharge) based on his conduct unbecoming an officer in addition to various other UCMJ violations (no, I will not enumerate them here). However, I expect a pardon and then the Army will act. If DJT is voted out, the process will begin January 2021 and these delays help their timing if I am right.
I had also noted that Ms Powell is doing Barr’s dirty work for him here (graymail?) and that Judge Sullivan is not going to be impressed in the least by this red herring stuff. Barr gets his list of “unreliables” either way and that is what Barr and DJT want right now.
Rugger, I cannot emphasize this enough. A full pardon renders the Army completely powerless to do diddly squat. A full pardon is for “offenses against the United States”, and that includes the Army and any UCMJ jurisdiction. What you are saying, and have been consistently saying, is absolutely NOT the case if there is a full pardon. And it is not even a close question. Seriously, this is fantasy land that does not exist in law. If you do not believe me, take a look at the dynamics of the Gallagher matter. Seriously, this is not even a real question.
I think you underestimate what the Army can do if motivated. While I might agree that the Russia and Turkey peccadillos can be swept under the rug, let’s also understand that all of these machinations in his name are Article 134 bait and depending upon the timing may go outside the box.
Odd. After sitting in a cubicle next to a series of Army JAG officers — and during which this kind of case came up in the course of normal office conversation — consensus and experience was that this is a matter in which DoD treads lightly. One of the reasons has to do with the number of people who actually punished.
No, I do not; I understand what is legally possible. If Trump gives a full pardon it is done and over. This is not even a serious question.
Bmaz : I cannot find anything on the Gallagher matter you mention except the Kaboom blog one Capt. wrote the army did not like.
Little help for the slower of us here. Danka.
Here you go: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-shouldnt-forget-what-whistleblower-seals-told-us-about-eddie-gallagher/2019/12/29/7ce7e0f0-28c9-11ea-b2ca-2e72667c1741_story.html
The Army will get right on it, after the Navy successfully restores Capt. Crozier to his command and clears his record.
As bmaz points out, the circumstances suggest Flynn would benefit more from a full pardon than a commutation. The former would be easier for Trump to grasp, always an important consideration. Bill Barr, however, who has considerable experience hiding dirty laundry via presidential pardons, might persuade Trump to only commute Flynn’s sentence. That would better protect Trump, which would normally be an easy sell.
Which is another feature of pardons, since if there is no liability there is no reason for Flynn to continue to hide who sent him on his missions with Kislyak and Turkey. To continue to hide that detail would be a liability, and if that occurs after DJT is drummed out of office it’s outside any pardon box. The Army has all the time it would need here, and Article 134 is not necessarily a criminal issue but a good order and discipline one.
The reality of the situation. Michael Flynn is a flag officer (someone that wore stars on their shoulder boards). How many flag officers that you know off, in modern times, have been dismissed from services or held accountable either by reduction in rank, prison, or reduction in pension or benefits. None, from the general at Ft. Bragg, for sexual assault, to a former head of the CIA, adultery and not safe guarding classified documents, both of which are punishable under the UCMJ. Not a one of them has received any significant punishment.
Now do the same for the enlisted ranks and officers ranks below general. Do you see a disparity? The Army will do nothing, the UCMJ is federal law. Ergo, if Flynn receives a full pardon, he walks.
This is exactly why I phrased the earlier response in terms of “offenses against the United States”. The UCMJ, and all of it’s law and provisions, are squarely within that Constitutional language. This is not even a question.
Not so. GEN Kip Ward (and others) come to mind.
One of several, but I also think a Biden administration will deal with this and another DJT term will not. We are close enough to the election that the Army can still old their cards close to the vest.
It’s one thing to get overruled (as the CNO was on Gallagher) and another thing entirely to turn a blind eye to a plot to kidnap a resident to send him off to Turkey for abuse, for money. Don’t think the CNO will not point that out privately at the JCS meetings down the road. Sometimes, shame works at that level.
GEN William T Ward was busted for misuse of taxpayer funds, something far less dangerous than this stuff.
Panetta striped Ward of his fourth star, not the army, not UCMJ. The Department of the Army argued against removal. As for the $82K he had to pay back, if he spent 35 years on active duty he is still getting $169K and change per year. Add that to his salary as President and COO on Sentel (supporting the US government) and he isn’t suffering. The only hit was to his pride not his pocket book or freedom.
Hi there MOG. No, they don’t “come to mind” because they were not action after a full Presidential pardon.
Don;t expect the army to do jack. Flag officers are the perfect example of self selecting groups. The actions of one reflects the judgement of the group. So yeah, they protect their own. I spent eight years watching the happy horseshit rolling downhill on the lower ranks in service of this.Since they can’t make it all go away, they will starve it of oxygen until events move on.
Samuel Koster, the My Lai Massacre, was denied LTG demoted to BG where he retired, and it didn’t keep him from being buried at West Point.
The GOP-T position does require ignoring his own guilty plea and his sworn testimony that he did lie to the FBI *and to the court*. That’s the kind of thing they want heavy sentences for, when they’re done by people they don’t like.
The fact that LTG Flynn’s military pension must be adjusted when he is incarcerated looms large. However, I am reasonably sure that his spouse will have some financial protections.
That’s not something I’m fussed about. (Were you replying to what I wrote?)
No. Just a general observation.
According to the NYT fact check of Flynn’s call to Kislyak
“In a phone call with Kislyak, Flynn asks that Russia refrain from retaliating to the U.S. sanctions. Kislyak agrees that Russia would “moderate its response to those sanctions” as a result of his request, according to charges later filed against Flynn by the U.S. special counsel’s office”
In light of this is it reasonable for you to describe the phone call as
” Flynn had called up a hostile foreign government and told them not to worry about being punished for tampering in our election.”
I think this is a departure from your generally accurate and intelligent commentary which I admire.
Yes, it is completely reasonable, and your question is full of shit. Thanks for parachuting by Gerald!
EW’s characterization seems accurate and restrained. Your question, however, seems to miss why and at whose request Flynn would call a government the US has considered its principal enemy since 1917, tell them, “No worries, mate,” our guy has your back, and then lie about it in circumstances that his high-level career informed him would constitute a serious felony.
Consistently for someone close to Trump, Flynn made a complete balls up of the process. He deserves to spend time contemplating the errors of his way at a location and for a period of time that is commonly described elsewhere as, “At Her Majesty’s pleasure.”
Ahem, let’s not forget Flynn’s Turkey antics whereby he conspired to illegally kidnap and extrajudicially render a legal resident of the US.
This is the part I think will motivate the Army to find a way to make an example of Flynn, especially doing it for money.
For a considerable fee, which would have excited Flynn’s SpecOps mind. But I was trying not to pile on.
Russia didn’t attack “us.” It attacked the United States election system to help ensure that “us” got elected. Both are good, especially when the vig keeps piling up and you have only a marketing “plan,” but no cash, with which to pay it. Or so it might look in the eternal sunshine of Trump’s spotless, um, mind.
I would think Powell has sees her job as keeping Stone’s balls in the air until she can get his case to a friendly DC Circuit panel – assuming that Garland, for one, is not on it – and, if necessary, to a friendlier S.Ct. All while waiting out Trump’s pardon. Whether he wins or loses in November, Trump would seem to have considerable motivation to grant Stone a pardon or commute his sentence.
WaPo’s headline touts the Flynn developments as “bombshell.” This plays right into the hands of Sidney Powell and her ilk, who want most of all to perpetrate another faux “perjury trap” flap. Every time such right-wing rhetoric goes unchecked, they win a narrative battle. Flynn lied to Spicer and Pence before the FBI interview; he admitted it under oath; and the perjury trap doctrine does not apply here at all–for the same reason it would not have if Trump had lied to Mueller: it’s not entrapment if you trap yourself.
And yet, none other than Flynn’s son apparently said he did *not* lie to pence:
Flynn’s son has said some things that should have gotten him in deep legal trouble.
Flynn’s sister goes in for Qanon, as well.
Flynn Jr *has* been in deep trouble, as I understand it, and part of Flynn Sr’s maneuvering all this time has involved keeping Jr protected from paying any legal price.
Incredibly irresponsible of wapo and nyt to run with the headlines they did. nyt didn’t surprise me, wapo did. They should know that they are being used as game pieces to amplify furor and not play into that trap.
I understand Flynn has deleted his tweet with the image of his signed statement about his plea from 2017.
Did he think that was going to make it disappear from records and from the Internet?
Maybe it’s because Mother’s Day is approaching that I have been thinking about the proverbial Mother Goose who has patiently sheltered-in-place anonymous nursery rhymes through the ages. Rumor has it that the VP is trying to convince Mother to read this one to all their favorite mothers up at the big house:
“There was a crooked man
who walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked six-Pence
upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat
which caught a crooked mouse,
and they all lived together
in a little crooked house.”
Jim Acosta on Twitter: 12:19 PM · Apr 30, 2020
Asked Trump whether he will pardon Flynn. Wouldn’t answer but praised Flynn repeatedly. When I pointed out he said he fired Flynn for lying to Pence and FBI, Trump: “He’s going to come back bigger and better.”
Oops no edit possible. Here is the link: https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1255894474217197574
Read the article. Makes sense. Neither of the options will be exercised. If things were normal. Flynn might have already been sitting in jail or at least an outcast for betraying his country.
Now we see just how far Trump and his gang have gone to destroying the U.S.A. ITS just fine Flynn worked for Turkey and phoned Russia, its fine the caged children, its fine etc. with its fine workers are sent into slaughter houses, get sick and die. there is a real trend there. Too bad things didn’t get dealt with at the beginning
and in other WTF legal news, Arpaio is trying to get out from under his conviction (again)
links to paperwork here:
(The last tweet has a footnote that is … not advisable.)
we interrupt this program for a questionable question.
Is there any way to backcheck to see if bmaz has torn me a new one for my peanut gallery wisdom
No. And why would it be pertinent?
Did I miss something? Flynn lied. Flynn pleaded guilty. Flynn told the judge he lied.
Judge Emmet Sullivan on Page 8
COURT: Do you wish to challenge the circumstances on which you were interviewed by the FBI?
DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.
COURT: Do you understand that by maintaining your guilty plea and continuing with sentencing, you will give up your right forever to challenge the circumstances under which you were interviewed?
DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
COURT: Do you have any concerns that you entered your guilty plea before you or your attorneys were able to review information that could have been helpful to your defense?
DEFENDANT: No, Your Honor.
COURT: At the time of your January 24th, 2017 interview with the FBI, were you not aware that lying to FBI investigators was a federal crime?
DEFENDANT: I was not — I was aware.
COURT: You were aware?
Even Trump admitted Flynn lied:
12:14 PM · Dec 2, 2017
Denying reality is his method. He was told directly to not hire Flynn.
Through Sidney Powell, Flynn now says that he was lying when he talked to Sullivan.
Somehow, Powell believes that this will encourage Sullivan to throw out the plea. Me, I’m thinking it will have exactly the opposite effect — on Sullivan and on every judge up the appellate ladder.
As someone who sucks at multi-tasking i struggle to keep all this info on all these characters filed in my head neatly, so I have to ask a very basic question.
WHEN did this info get released to Flynn’s team?
The MAGA machine is using terms like “hidden” and “not disclosed” when referring to the documents and the opposing side seems to be sticking with “previously sealed”