Hits and Misses

Hits and Misses

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Michael Flynn's Sentencing Memorandum

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn is back in the news. Last April, Flynn had admitted lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador Kislyak about sanctions. This was a criminal offense, but, as I commented at the time, sentencing was being deferred, presumably to ensure Flynn's continued cooperation. Special Prosecutor Mueller had no reason to go easy on Flynn unless Flynn could provide valuable information.

One piece of this information, I continued, would be naming the "very senior member" of Trump's transition team who directed Flynn to talk to Kislyak about a United Nations Security Council  resolution. That person could well have been Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, who perhaps was acting on his own--or perhaps was not. After firing Flynn as national security adviser, Trump tried again and again to get Flynn off the hook, even to the extent of directing the then Attorney General Sessions to fire the then Director of the FBI, James Comey. Why, precisely? As I asked a year ago: Just how deep does this rot go?

Yesterday, the Government's Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing Michael T. Flynn was submitted. Nearly all of the document has been redacted, but we can read that despite his previous "multiple false statements," Flynn's "substantial assistance" justifies "a sentence at the low end of the guideline range" (zero to six months). That substantial assistance apparently took place over the course of nineteen (19!) interviews. That in itself is remarkable, but even more remarkable is that no one has leaked what he said, just as no one has leaked what former White House counsel Don McGahn has said in his 30 hours of testimony and what Michael Cohen has said in his 70 hours of testimony.

Given that Washington leaks like a sieve, this silence is amazing. It is clear that Mueller's team is careful and thorough. Far from being "out of control," as Trump keeps insisting, Mueller is exerting remarkable control. His report, I predict, will be incontrovertible.  The problem in this era of conspiracy theorists will be those fanatics who will choose to ignore documentary evidence in favor of their own fantasies.  Their name is legion.