Hits and Misses

Hits and Misses

Friday, April 7, 2017

Michael T. Flynn's Request for Immunity: the Saga Continues

On April 3rd, Charles Blow commented in  The New York Times that Michael Flynn had offered to give testimony to the Congressional committees investigating the Trump's campaign's relationships to Russia:  "Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has offered to be interviewed by House and Senate investigators who are examining the Trump campaign's ties to Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution, according to his lawyer and a congressional official."

Asking for immunity is permissible, of course, but it almost always raises the question of why that person is doing so.  "Immunity, for what?" becomes the question on everyone's mind.  What makes this question the more compelling is Flynn's own comment about granting immunity last fall.  As The Washington Post reported, Michael Flynn appeared on "Meet the Press" as a key campaign aide to Donald Trump.  Speaking about the reports circulating that aides to Hilary Clinton had been granted immunity so that they could be forthcoming to the FBI about Hilary's private email server, Flynn declared, "When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime."

We could call this remark of Flynn's a boomerang statement, on the grounds that after the statement hits the airwaves it returns to smack the speaker in the mouth.

One last remark about appearances:  When Trump recently called a press conference to announce two executive orders dealing with trade, reporters questioned him not about trade but about Michael Flynn and the Russian question.  According to Paul Krugman and CNN, Trump not only didn't sign the executive orders but walked out of the room, leaving Vice President Pence to gather up the documents and follow him.  It's difficult not to wonder, Why wasn't Trump willing to answer the reporters' questions?

Follow-up, May 24:  The NY Times reported two days ago that the Senate Intelligence Committee ordered Flynn to turn over emails and other records of any dealings with Russians in 2016.

Flynn formally rejected their subpoena on the grounds of the Fifth Amendment.  His lawyers reiterated, however, that Flynn was still willing to testify in exchange for immunity. But as Flynn himself said earlier, "When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime."  Given that former FBI head Mueller can bring criminal charges in his role as Special Counsel, it should be interesting to see how the saga of Michael Flynn plays out.  And, of course, the degree to which Donald Trump is involved.