Michael Flynn Seeks Immunity in Exchange For Russia Testimony
Another day another bombshell for Donald Trump's White House. Trump has only been in office for two and a half months. It is increasingly more exhausting to follow this presidency due to Trump's penchant for facilitating controversy. The Trump White House has been plagued by endless corruption and evidence of nefarious communication with foreign adversaries. Thursday continued that pattern when Robert Kelner, the attorney representing Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, released a statement declaring Flynn's desire to receive 'fair prosecution.' Kelner's statement was characterized in a Wall Street Journal post as Flynn expressing a willingness to cooperate and provide testimony to both Congress and the FBI in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution.
Several factors will weigh on the FBI and Congress when determining whether to immunize Flynn from future prosecution. Those factors include the following: the credibility of Flynn's information, the presumed ability for investigators to uncover the information Flynn is offering, in a timely manner, and the value of the information Flynn could reveal.
If immunity is granted, it must ultimately be approved by the Justice Department. Thanks to revelations of criminal omission of fact during confirmation hearings by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. As a result, the Justice Department may avoid intentionally shielding the White House from incrimination.
Flynn's potential testimony could reveal a cover-up on a massive scale.
It is critical to note, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates shared vital information with the White House regarding Flynn. Before being abruptly fired by the Trump administration, Yates informed the White House of Flynn's vulnerabilities, specifically, Flynn could be susceptible to blackmail from the Russians. Yates' warning was mostly ignored as Flynn was permitted to remain as national security advisor for several weeks despite Yates introducing this information to the White House.
The following is the statement from Kelner:
Counsel to Lt. General Mike Flynn (Retired)
General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.
Out of respect for the Committees, we will not comment right now on the details of discussions between counsel for General Flynn and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, other than to confirm that those discussions have taken place. But it is important to acknowledge the circumstances in which those discussions are occurring.
General Flynn is a highly decorated 33-year veteran of the U.S. Army. He devoted most of his life to serving his country, spending many years away from his family fighting this nation's battles around the world. He was awarded four Bronze Stars for actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the war on terror. He received the Legion of Merit twice, and the Defense Superior Service Medal four times. He is a recipient of the Defense Department's Distinguished Service Award and the Intelligence Community Gold Seal Medallion for Distinguished Service, as well as numerous other decorations.
Notwithstanding his life of national service, the media are awash with unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo directed against him. He is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated. No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution"
If an immunity deal is struck a dangerous precedent will be established. Government officials will have a new incentive to pursue wealth by violating either domestic or international law, knowing they can simply incriminate others and avoid punishment.
Just six months ago, while disparaging Secretary Clinton and her campaign, Flynn stated on Meet The Press, "I mean, five people around her have had, have been given immunity to include her chief of staff... When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime." To justify an inexplicable break from these earlier sentiments, Kelner claimed, "the media are awash with unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo directed against him. He is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated. No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution."
As mentioned above, Flynn once acknowledged that folks seek immunity when they have committed a crime. However, unlike Secretary Clinton, Flynn has committed a crime. This should not be discussed in hypotheticals because the facts bear this out. Flynn was responsible for negotiating the terms of eliminating sanctions with a Russian official. This was illegal, as his actions directly undermined the federal government while he was a private citizen. Flynn also illegally neglected to disclose his income from a foreign country as he worked on behalf of the Turkish government.
Thus, unless Flynn intends to drop a mountain of incriminating evidence, he has little to no leverage to earn the immunity he seeks.
The current White House occupant is testing the extent of the phrase coincidence. Manafort's connection to the Russians may be a coincidence. Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured testimony about his conversations with Russia may be another coincidence. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's criminal communications with the Russians may also represent a coincidence. Jared Kushner's connection to a sanctioned Russian bank may yet be just another coincidence. But consumed together, a reasonable person can no longer assume all of these ties to the Kremlin are merely "coincidences." The more information that is exposed, the more it appears the Trump campaign is guilty of colluding with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin to hijack the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
With the increasing amount of smoke, the likelihood of fire grows. If Congress and the FBI continue to fail the American people and neglect to allow independent investigators to hold Trump officials accountable, this fire is going to rage out of control.