Sunday, December 16, 2018

With Flynn, Mueller Has Exchanged Prosecution For Persecution

Flynn has been persecuted,
not prosecuted
There is a steady drip-drip-drip of scandal emanating from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into all things Trump and Russia. Unfortunately, the scandal is about Robert Mueller, not Donald Trump. Nowhere is this more evident then in Mueller's pursuit of Michael Flynn, retired US Army Lieutenant General and briefly Donald Trump's National Security Advisor.

From its outset, investigations by the FBI and the Department of Justice into Flynn's activities during the transition period between Donald Trump's 2016 election victory and his January 2017 inauguration have been a study in controversy. 

After a scant 24 days as President Trump's National Security Advisor, Flynn resigned amid allegations that he lied to Vice President Pence about the nature of telephone conversations he had had with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. That scandal arose because un-named government officials leaked the contents of surveillance recordings of Kislyak's phone calls to the media, which dutifully began questioning why an incoming National Security Advisor would have conversations with the Russian Ambassador. At the time of Flynn's resignation, The Washington Post threw more fuel on the fire by speculating that Flynn's conversations were part of a larger scheme within the incoming Trump Administration to advantage Russia.

Lost in the hysteria was the inconvenient fact that the leaks driving the scandal were themselves a serious crime, under 18 USC §798, a crime that has never been either investigated or prosecuted.

When Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he quickly revisited Flynn's phone conversations and presumed false statements surrounding them. On December 1 of 2017, Mueller persuaded (or coerced, depending on one's perspective) Flynn to plead guilty to one count of lying to the FBI when interviewed about those conversations in January of that year.

Lost in the furor surrounding that guilty plea was another inconvenient fact: The FBI agents who actually interviewed Flynn--one of whom was the now infamous Peter Strzok--did not think Flynn lied to them. Even former FBI Director James Comey, before his firing by Donald Trump, testified before Congress that the agents did not think Flynn lied

Mueller had Flynn pleading guilty to a crime that, according to the FBI, never happened.

Despite having pled guilty in December of 2017, Flynn has only recently come before a federal judge for sentencing, Mueller having postponed it multiple times, prompting Judge Emmett Sullivan to inquire as to why so many delays.

When Mueller finally presented filed his sentencing memorandum with the court, one supporting document was noticeable by its absence: Peter Strzok's original Form 302 interview summary of the January 2017 interview with Michael Flynn. The 302 summary that was filed was an exit interview summary of Peter Strzok, shortly before he was fired from Mueller's investigation team for having exchanged a considerable number of politically biased text messages with his then mistress Lisa Page. That interview summary was dated August 22, 2017, seven months after Strzok's interview of Flynn, and only makes reference to Strzok's original interview summary. That original 302 has yet to be produced.

To summarize: Robert Mueller pressured and finally persuaded Michael Flynn to plead guilty to a crime the FBI has said under oath before Congress did not happen, and, a year after obtaining that guilty plea, has failed to present the FBI's actual evidence on the matter.

Not only does Mueller not have evidence of the crime, but the main witness for Flynn's defense would be the FBI itself, the very agency to whom Flynn is accused of having lied.

In Judge Sullivan's courtroom, the cloud of suspicion hangs over not Michael Flynn but Robert Mueller. Mueller coerced the guilty plea from Flynn not with evidence but a threat that Flynn's son would be indicted for various non-crimes. Arguably, the criminal is not Flynn but Mueller, who would stand in violation of 18 USC §§241 and 242, both of which make it a crime for any government official to deprive someone of their constitutional rights, and especially the right of due process.

Can any investigation, by any government official in or out of law enforcement, prevail when its own credibility has been so thoroughly shredded in this fashion? Can any conclusion Mueller might reach--about President Trump, about Russia, about any electoral improprieties that may or may not have occurred in 2016--be taken seriously as the fruits of a serious investigation and not as the result of a political witch hunt, an extended (and taxpayer-funded) exercise in lies, corruption, and serial violations of basic civil liberties?

To call Mueller's pursuit of Flynn a prosecution is to make a mockery of the rule of law. It is turning a blind eye to Mueller's total contempt for the principle of due process, for the presumption of innocence, and for the rights of the accused. This has been no prosecution, but a persecution. Mueller targeted Michael Flynn, intentionally bankrupted him with the expense of defending himself against allegations of a crime that never happened, threatened his family, all for the sole purpose of gaining Flynn's cooperation in the Russia probe--a probe that, after two years, has utterly failed to establish even the existence of conspiracy or "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in 2016.

Instead of sentencing Michael Flynn, Judge Emmett Sullivan should reject his guilty plea, toss the entirety of Mueller's "investigation" of Flynn out the window, and appoint new investigators to probe the length and breadth of Mueller's outrageous assault on the Constitutional order.  This is not Stalinist Russia; our tradition is the presumption of innocence, not the cavalier "show me the man and I'll find you the crime" arrogance of Lavrontiv Beria.  Mueller seems to be unaware of this, despite his legal and law enforcement bona fides.

There is indeed conspiracy and collusion afoot in Washington D.C., but it is against the Trump Administration, not by the Trump Administration. That is the one thing Mueller has proven beyond any and all doubt.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts -- let me know if you agree or disagree!