In charging Gen. Michael Flynn, Mueller turned a policy dispute into criminal activity

· December 5, 2018  
    Font Size A A A
Lt. General Michael Flynn
Flickr | Gage Skidmore

Robert Mueller has spent the last 566 days hunting for collusion. He has failed to accumulate a single piece of evidence tying the president or people connected to him to collusion with the Russian government. On Tuesday, he released a heavily redacted sentencing memo recommending minimal or no jail time for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, citing his “substantial assistance to the government” and “other considerations.”

Many on the Left have convinced themselves that this must mean Flynn is “singing like a canary,” and delivering the collusion goods against the president in order to protect his own future. The far-left writer Jonathan Chait published an article at the New Yorker titled: “Mueller reports Michael Flynn is singling like a canary,” without any evidence of such a claim. The Trump-Russia conspiracy theorists, disappointed in the Flynn result and now pushing all of their chips into the middle, still hoping that Mueller will take down the president, simply cannot accept the strong possibility that there’s nothing to be found.

Although Mueller recommended no jail time for Gen. Flynn, that doesn’t mean Flynn hasn’t paid a price. The Mueller probe has left him in dire financial straits. This is a man who served his country honorably for over three decades, having received countless commendations for advancing America’s interests at home and abroad. His dignified reputation was all ripped away from him overnight.

So why was Flynn targeted for destruction?

The decorated general made plenty of political adversaries during his military service as Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief in the Obama administration and as a member of the Trump campaign and administration. This has resulted in a ruthless campaign targeting his reputation and his livelihood for destruction. The story is not so much about Flynn’s alleged abuses of power, but instead about the abuses of power committed by the individuals and groups going after Flynn.

He was first targeted for destruction at the end of the Obama administration, when as DIA director, he appeared to publicly disagree with Obama’s policies about radical Islamic actors, resulting in his reported forced retirement from the military.

It appeared that the worst was over, but then Gen. Flynn entered the political arena, choosing to throw his support behind the man hated most by the legacy media: Donald J. Trump.

Shortly thereafter, the knives were out for Flynn, especially after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the presidency. When President-elect Trump announced that Gen. Flynn would become his national security adviser, the campaign to ruin his life kicked into high gear.

Just one month into the Trump presidency, Flynn resigned as national security adviser, after a pressure campaign that mounted as a result of criminal leaks about his intercepted conversations with former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

The media narratives spun in the New York Times and Washington Post, among other outlets, depicted Gen. Flynn as a violator of the high and mighty Logan Act, which criminalizes attempts by U.S. citizens to intrude in the current administration’s foreign policy. What remained unsaid in these countless reports, editorials, and accusations is the reality that the Logan Act is virtually unenforceable, or as Andy McCarthy describes it, “unconstitutional and absurd.”

In his sentencing memo released Tuesday evening, Mueller once again targeted Flynn with purported Logan Act violations.

The information about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak became available to the public after elements of the intelligence community committed a serious crime and leaked the intercepted conversation to the media. Even then, with the transcript seemingly in hand, the media and the Left could not find evidence of real illegal behavior.

On December 1, 2017, Gen. Flynn pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak, even as reports surfaced that FBI agents who interviewed him did not believe he lied to them.

In the charge sheet, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of Democrat prosecutors tried to sully Flynn’s reputation by exposing two supposed misdeeds.

In the first charge, Flynn was accused of misleading the FBI about a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 22, 2016 (as the incoming national security adviser), about an upcoming anti-Israel United Nations Security Council resolution. Flynn was accused of asking Russia to help delay or defeat the measure, which the Obama administration let pass as it abstained from the vote.

At Conservative Review, I argued that Flynn not only did nothing wrong here, but that by standing with our greatest Middle East ally, he actually acted in America’s interests. 

Next, investigators accused Flynn of wrongdoing when he discussed sanctions policy the next week (on December 29) with the Russian ambassador. The mere fact that a very senior incoming administration official was open to discussing Russia sanctions policy (which he had every right to do) was enough for Obama officials and pundits to label Flynn as a man who committed treason against his country.

The media and the Left were downright giddy about the prospect that Mueller would finally deliver the goods on Flynn. Now, to rationalize Mueller’s failure to find collusion, many claim that the evidence of misconduct is in the redactions. However, the past few years have shown that redactions have not been used to hide evidence of the defendant’s misconduct. Instead, actors in the Department of Justice have misused the redactions process to hide evidence of federal agencies’ abuses of power and misconduct.

Mueller has failed to find actual evidence of criminality in Gen. Flynn’s long, very public history of government service, so the special counsel slapped him with lying to the FBI, a charge that the special counsel has attributed to several other actors in its endless — and failed — hunt for Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Now that Mueller has conceded that he does not have a reason to push for criminal penalties for Flynn, the Left is all in on the idea that Mueller is “closing in” on the president. Will Mueller deliver this time?


Find out what’s really going on in the national security world.

Sign up to get The Dossier in your inbox twice a week.




 

Author: Jordan Schachtel

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review and editor of The Dossier for CRTV. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.